Ford Rules Out Le Mans Prototype Racing In Favor Of Formula 1 Commitments

Motorsport / 5 Comments

But other racing series with the Mustang are fair game.

Following Ford's entrance into Formula 1 racing, its continued commitment to the World Rally Championship, and its concentration on racing the Mustang in various classes, the brand has expressed its lack of interest in going Prototype racing. This is despite the increased interest and commitment from brands like Toyotas, Acura, Cadillac, BMW, and Porsche.

"No, I don't think we're much into (racing) Prototypes at Ford," Ford CEO Jim Farley told MotorTrend. The question is pertinent as there's a fresh crop of LMDh (Le Mans Daytona Hybrid, also known as GTP) and LMH (Le Mans Hypercar) race cars being fielded in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the US and the FIA World Endurance Championship globally.


Traditionally, technology trickles down from Formula 1, but as Prototype racing has embraced hybrid technology, interest is renewing for brands, teams, and racing fans. BMW, for example, views LMDh technology as more important for its roadgoing cars than F1's commitment to synthetic fuels and hybrid combustion. Endurance racing may lack the drama of the shorter, sprint-style Grands Prix of F1 racing, but it is a great proving ground for technology.

But it's not attracting Ford's attention for its motorsport program.

"I'm increasingly thinking that what's cool in the world is GTD (GT Daytona-class racers) and GT cars," Farley explains. "That's where the action really is," Farley continued. "How do you make a car that … really, really surprises customers? And you can use it on a track day, and you can use it to commute, and you can actually feel comfortable with it." Of course, Farlay may be a bit biased in that assessment. After all, he made his IMSA race debut last month when he drove a Mustang GT4 in the IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge at Daytona International Speedway.


Overall, though, it's hard to argue with Farley's assessment. Ford has now secured a future in Formula 1, the world's biggest and most celebrated racing series. With the rise to mainstream prominence through TV series like Drive to Survive and an exploding US fanbase, it's the perfect platform for the company to show off its top-level engineering and use it as a development program. At the same time, it can put the Mustang front and center of racing classes its customers can relate to more directly, like the new Mustang GT Supercar that will race in the Australian Supercar series.

"The Mustang pillar includes sports car racing globally, at all levels from grassroots to professional," Ford Performance Motorsports global director Mark Rushbrook says, "and we can do it with a production-based car allowing us to fully benefit from two-way tech transfer and make a meaningful connection to our passionate fans."

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