In 1966, Ford Motor Company won the Le Mans 24 Hours, one of the most prestigious and challenging races in the world. The Ford GT Mark II placed first, second, and third place that year, making Ford the first American manufacturer to have cars win Le Mans.
Now, fifty years later to the day, Ford has once again seized victory at Le Mans, with Chip Ganassi at the helm of Ford’s racing program. The new Ford GT, driven by Sébastien Bourdais of France, Joey Hand of the US and Dirk Müller of Germany, took first place in the GTE class. Although second-place went to long-time rival Ferrari, the third- and fourth-place positions were also Ford GT race teams.
This is Chip Ganassi’s 175th victory as a team owner, and he is the only owner in history to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Rolex 24 At Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and Le Mans 24 Hours. To nearly duplicate the 1-2-3 victory with a 1-3-4 win is a remarkable achievement, and a testament to the hard work of the GT designers and engineers as well as the Chip Ganassi Racing team.
The victory at Le Mans follows last year’s announcement of the new 2017 Ford GT street model that will go into limited production later this year. The new GT uses a twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6. The car is made of carbon fiber, and its advanced aerodynamic form lets air pass through the body as well as around it. An example of the new GT is on display in the Petersen Automotive Museum facing the 1967 GT Mark III in the Chuck Wegner Gallery as part of the “Race Cars to the Road” exhibit.