Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Ford’s SEMA 2015 booth honored its sports car racing history
Written and photographed by Kevin Triplett

Ford Motor Company’s massive display at the 2015 SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas paid tribute to the company’s remarkable history in sports car endurance racing and introduced visitors to Ford’s latest racing car. The 2016 Ford GT sports car will mark Ford’s return to the LeMans 24-hour race on the fiftieth anniversary of Ford’s landmark 1-2-3 finish in the world’s toughest sports car race.

This yellow Ford GT harkened back to the livery of the 1967 Ford GT40 Mark IV powered by a 530 horsepower 427 cubic inch Ford V8 engine that was driven fourth place at LeMans in 1967 by racing legends Mark Donohue and Bruce McLaren. The Ford GT powered by twin turbocharged 213-cubic inch Ford Ecoboost V6 engine designed to produce 600 horsepower in race trim.  

The Galpin Auto Sports concept Ford F-150 pickup truck brought back memories of the 1968 and 1969 LeMans 24-hour races the JWA Gulf GT40 Mark I chassis number 1075. The truck features the correct powder blue paint with marigold trim and a dark blue separation stripe just as with the original. 

The 20-inch ADV wheels shod with 37-inch Cooper tires look similar to the GT40’s cast alloy wheels.  Sharp-eyed readers will notice that the tailgate of the Galpin truck even features the Gulf “lucky horseshoes,” featured in the nineteen sixties marketing program for Gulf ‘No-Nox’ Gasoline, which claimed that “Gulf No-Nox puts extra kick in horsepower.”  

The star of the Ford booth was the 2016 Ford GT #66 race car, parked on a rotating turntable in front of a huge video screen. The Ford GT will compete in two sports car racing series in 2016 in programs fielded by Ford Chip Ganassi Racing.  

Nationally there will be two entries in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship GT LeMans class with drivers Ryan Briscoe, Joey Hand, Richard Westbrook and Dirk Muller.  Ford will compete against teams racing Chevrolet Corvettes, BMW M6s, and Ferrari 488s beginning with the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona January 30 2106.

Internationally, the Ford GT will compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship with two entries in the LM GTE ( LeMans Grand Touring Endurance) class with 11 stops which includes LeMans on June 18/19, and a visit to the Americas with a pair of scheduled six-hour races, at Mexico City on September 3 and at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas for September 17 2016.


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