Ford Chip Ganassi has presented the design for their four cars, that will run in the 24 Hours race at Le Mans in 2019.
Furthermore, they have confirmed that the FIA WEC factory programme will end after the race in France, while they finish off the season in IMSA.
Car #66 with Stefan Mücke, Olivier Pla and Billy Johnson will remain in the colours from 1966, where Ford won the race with Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon.
Car #67 with Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell and Jonathan Bomarito gets the winning colours from A. J. Foyt and Dan Gurney in 1967 – primarily red with some white accents.
Car #68 with Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and Sebastien Bourdais will go back to the colours, that the team won with in 2016. They changed the livery on the cars up until the 2018/19 season, but now they will return to the traditional red, white, and blue tones.
Car #69 with Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon will get the colours from 1966, on the car that finished second in the race, with a sky blue and red combination.
There is also a fifth Ford GT car in the race, which is the private Keating Motorsports #85 in GTE Am to be exact, that will have the same Wynns colours as their Mercedes car in GTD in the IMSA series.
When the Le Mans programme originally was announced in 2015, it was a two-year programme, which was quickly extended to a four-year one. But after the extension came in 2016, things were quiet about a further extension. That fuels the rumours about the programme’s ending, and it would be a surprise if there was another extension.
Ford hasn’t had the success that they probably have hoped for either. Maybe they won the 24 Hours race at Le Mans in 2016 in the first try, but they have neither won any world title nor IMSA drivers’ and teams’ championship. They won the 24 Hours race at Daytona in both 2017 and 2018 in the GTLM class, and also Sebring 12 Hours in 2017. But the fact that they haven’t won any of the titles so far despite the big budget is hard to accept. They still, however, have the chance to finish with an IMSA championship this year, where they’re currently fifth and sixth in the drivers’ championship.
It will be interesting to see if Ford will release the cars to private programmes, so that they can continue in FIA WEC in either GTE Pro or GTE Am – or IMSA in GTLM, or if they’re just going to be parked in the garage at the end of the 2019 season.
And do they have a chance to close the programme with yet another Le Mans victory? We will see when the 24 Hours race at Le Mans starts on 15 – 16 June 2019.