The Ford GT programme has seen its fair share of success, taking the GTE Pro win at Le Mans on its debut, securing two wins at Daytona 24, and taking three further victories in the WEC and IMSA. Now, more than two years into the programme, questions are starting to be raised about its future.
Mark Rushbrook, the Global Director of Ford Performance Motorsport, confirmed that a global programme like the WEC is important to the company and that they are actively participating in the future of the sportscar rules package.
“We plan to continue the racing programme that we have committed to, and our aim is to secure as many wins as we can,” Rushbrook said.
“We are watching developments closely, and working with the organisers on what the future will be in terms of rules development for prototypes in sportscar racing, with LMP1, and whether or not that takes a global form, with WEC and IMSA able to align to the same specification. That is important to us.
“We are watching the way those rules are evolving. Potentially, hybrid in GT is on board in the future. We need to see what that future looks like from a rules structure, and then we can make decisions on how this programme can bridge into something else in the future.”
Equally, while the company knows that there are improvements they can make to the current car, there are no plans to release an evolution or a significant upgrade to the car.
“Our focus is completely and totally on the ‘Super Season’,” Holt said.
“We got it all shaken up on us last year when we went from a normal season to a WEC calendar that starts with Spa and ends with next year’s Le Mans. It is a strange situation to race for a year and a half and have the same number of races.”
“Now with Le Mans we are completely focused on that.”
He continued to suggest that optimising the current package is a better use of time and resources than developing upgrades to the car.
“We have to look at it and balance whether it gives us the aero advantages. Currently the Balance of Performance dominates the performance of the car, and if we gain an edge through an aerodynamic or other advantage with the car, sadly, the performance will be taken away from us with the BoP.”
“The car is performing well below its ultimate capability, because of weight and engine limitations, so it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to make improvements on your car only to have them balanced out.”
As such, the direction from Ford Performance is clear to this point. A global sportscar programme seems important to the marque but as with any corporate programme, the future rule structure is of vital importance before any commitment can be made.