June 17, 2016 by Ford ◾#68 Ford GT of Dirk Müller posts fastest time in LM GTE Pro category
◾The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs qualify in 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th positions
◾Ford GT road car to make dynamic debut at Le Mans on Saturday
LE MANS, France, June 16, 2016 – The #68 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT will start the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours from Pole Position in the LM GTE Pro class after German racer Dirk Müller posted the fastest time of 3m 51.185s during Wednesday night's qualifying session. The #69 Ford GT will line up alongside the #68 and the #67 and #66 Ford GTs will start Saturday's race in fourth and fifth positions respectively.
The #68 Ford GT took provisional pole position during the first qualifying session on Wednesday night, and then wet weather prevented any challengers from eclipsing the early lap times during the two qualifying sessions on Thursday evening.
'Every member of this team has worked tirelessly to get the Ford GT to this stage in its development,' said Raj Nair, executive vice president, Global Product Development and chief technical officer. 'We know the greatest task is still ahead of us and speed isn't the only thing you need at Le Mans. As one team with one goal, we will race with commitment and passion and we will race for every member of the extended Ford family across the globe.'
Müller was delighted to post the fastest time of all of the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing drivers.
'We weren't getting any luck in that first qualifying session,' he said. 'When Joey (Hand) was in the car he had traffic and then a red flag and all the time the clock was ticking. Then Sébastien (Bourdais) got in and there was traffic again. Finally with just 15 minutes of the session left I did my first lap and the car felt really good. I was also hitting a lot of traffic but then Mike O'Gara (team manager for #68 and #69) came on the radio and said 'hey, you have one more lap, you can do it.' It was a cool lap and it was one for the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing boys. I'm really proud of everybody. Just being here is a big honour for all of us. To compete in the Ford GT for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing on this important anniversary is a privilege.'
The Ford GT features the ultimate in aerodynamics, lightweight carbon fibre construction and the ultra-efficient twin-turbo V6 EcoBoost engine, Ford's most powerful production engine that produces over 600 horsepower.
The Ford GT is the pinnacle product of the Ford Performance range so it is fitting that the road car version will make its dynamic debut at Le Mans. At 12:20 on Saturday, Ford's most advanced and most exclusive car will take part in a parade at the Circuit de la Sarthe, providing the first opportunity for anyone in the world to see the much-anticipated Ford GT production car in action before the Ford GT race cars take on the world's greatest race later that afternoon.
The 84th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours gets underway on Saturday at 15:00hrs CET.
Into the Heart: Ford Returns to Le Mans
To mark Ford's return to Le Mans a special video was produced for its employees around the world. The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team attended a special premiere of the film at Le Mans earlier today. It depicts the role each employee plays in helping to bring the Ford innovation story to life and the special meaning of being part of the extended Ford family.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is a global automotive and mobility company based in Dearborn, Mich. With about 201,000 employees and 67 plants worldwide, the company's core business includes designing, manufacturing, marketing financing and servicing a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs and electrified vehicles, as well as Lincoln luxury vehicles. At the same time, Ford is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility, the company's plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and data and analytics. For more information regarding Ford, its products worldwide or Ford Motor Credit Company, visit www.corporate.ford.com.
Ford of Europe is responsible for producing, selling and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 50 individual markets and employs approximately 53,000 employees at its wholly owned facilities and approximately 68,000 people when joint ventures and unconsolidated businesses are included. In addition to Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford Europe operations include Ford Customer Service Division and 24 manufacturing facilities (16 wholly owned or consolidated joint venture facilities and 8 unconsolidated joint venture facilities). The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903 – the same year Ford Motor Company was founded. European production started in 1911.
About Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
Chip Ganassi has been a fixture in the auto racing industry for over 25 years and is considered one of the most successful as well as innovative owners the sport has anywhere in the world. Today his teams include four cars in the Verizon IndyCar Series, two cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, one car in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, two factory Ford GT's in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, two factory Ford GT's in the FIA World Endurance Championship and two Supercars in Red Bull Global Rallycross. Overall his teams have 18 championships and 170 victories, including four Indianapolis 500s, a Daytona 500, a Brickyard 400 and six Rolex 24 At Daytonas and the 12 Hours of Sebring. Ganassi boasts state-of-the-art race shop facilities in Indianapolis and Concord, N.C., with a corporate office in Pittsburgh, Penn. For more information log onto: www.chipganassiracing.com