Ford Performance has confirmed that 2004 IndyCar Champion, 2013 Indy 500 winner and 2015 Rolex 24 Hours winner Tony Kanaan will compete alongside Joey Hand and Dirk Müller in the #68 Ford GT at the Le Mans 24 Hours, as a substitute for the injured Sébastien Bourdais.
This move has been made following Bourdais’ shunt in Indy 500 Qualifying, which has left him injured and unable to take part in the race at La Sarthe while he recovers.
“We’re very pleased we are able to get a driver of Tony’s experience and talent in the #68 Ford GT for the Le Mans 24,” said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance.
“It’s certainly not the ideal situation and we’re heartbroken that Sébastien won’t be back to defend his race victory, since we know how much that race means to him personally. He is an important part of our family, and we look forward to him making a complete recovery.”
It’s the first time Hand and Müller will share a car with Kanaan, who won the overall title at the Rolex 24 At Daytona with Scott Dixon, Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson in a Ford EcoBoost prototype in 2015.
Kanaan, 42, who signed with Chip Ganassi Racing in 2014, has spent significant time in the Ford GT this year. He led laps in the #69 Ford GT at the Rolex 24, where he joined full-time drivers Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell to finish fifth in GTLM.
“It’s an honor to be named a part of the Ford GT lineup for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing at the Le Mans 24,” Kanaan said.
“It’s obviously an unfortunate situation that brought us to this point with Sébastien’s injuries, but I’m going to do my best to take his place and try to help win this amazing race for the team again this year.
“This race has definitely been on my bucket list for a long time, so I’m thankful that Chip and our partners at Ford have given me this opportunity.”
The Le Mans 24 Hours is set to take place over the weekend of June 17-18.