The Alley

Ford wins again after 50 years

lm24_2016_podium_46Ford turned back the clock 50 years at the Le Mans 24 Hour by taking victory on debut with the Ford GT of GTE-Pro pole winner Dirk Mueller, Joey Hand and Sebastien Bourdais.

The No.68 Ford held off the Risi Competizione Ferrari to claim the win with the No.69 Ford of Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon and Richard Westbrook taking third

All four of the new Ford GTs made it to the finish with the No.66 and No.67 cars finishing fourth and ninth respectively.

lm24_gal_sun_4First unveiled to the media at Le Mans last year, the Ford GT’s Le Mans victory comes 395 days after the car turned a wheel for the first time on May 20, 2015, at Calabogie Motorsports Park in Canada.

Ford won the race overall for the first time in 1966 with the original Ford GT – breaking a run of six consecutive victories by Ferrari.

The No.68 Ford GT took the lead for the final time in the 20th hour of the race today. Hand was behind the wheel on the three occasions that the Ford passed the Ferrari, rekindling a 50-year-old rivalry between the two car manufacturers.

“It’s a big deal to come back here 50 years after the Ford win in 1966,” said Hand.

“We said we wanted to win but to actually do it is huge. This team has come so far in a short space of time. They all worked hard, right through Christmas and New Year and gave us a race car that we can race hard.

“We drove like it was a sprint race for 24 hours. I’ve won a lot of races and this is a big one. I’m honoured to be part of this programme. I’m a red, white and blue guy so to be part of the Ford family, where they treat you like their own, is a great place to be.”

This victory is particularly sweet for Bourdais who was born within sight of Tertre Rouge. The Frenchman had competed at Le Mans 10 times previously but this is his first win.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling to be able to make this happen,” said Bourdais.

“There was so much effort, so much emotion, and to be the one that wins the trophy to give to the Ford family and everyone involved is very special.  Everything aligned for us today – the history, the Ferrari/Ford battle, 50 years on and the Ford family being here. To come out on top of all that is an amazing feeling.”

 

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