Dixon joins Ford's historic Le Mans challenge
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Kiwi IndyCar champ confirmed as part of Ford's special Le Mans fight
New Zealander and reigning IndyCar champion Scott Dixon will take on one of the world's most challenging races this coming June, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The long-rumoured move was confirmed overnight, Dixon joining the #69 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT GTE Pro entry shared by former Carrera Cup ace Richard Westbrook (England) and fellow colonial IndyCar driver and V8 Supercar regular Ryan Briscoe (Australia).
The 35-year-old's inclusion in the team comes on the 50th anniversary of the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, won by New Zealanders Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon. It was the first win for a New Zealander at Le Mans, and also the first win for Ford.
“For once I’m the rookie, as this will be my first Le Mans,” said Dixon.
“I’m excited to make my Le Mans debut in the Ford GT. I’ve been in the car a few times in testing, so I know we have a great race car here. Like any driver, it is a dream come true for me to race at Le Mans, and I can’t wait to get started. The history of Ford at Le Mans is very well documented, and I’m proud to be part of this very special program.”
Sebastien Bourdais, Harry Tincknell, Billy Johnson were the other three drivers confirmed overnight to join the strong Ford outfit, which will be hoping to recover from a mixed debut earlier this year at the Daytona 24 Hours.
Scott Dixon, pictured at the 2016 Daytona 24 Hours. Photo / Chip Ganassi Racing
“We are pleased to have a very strong driver lineup for our return to the Le Mans 24 Hours,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president and chief technical officer, Global Product Development.
“We’ve assembled a talented and experienced team on all fronts, and we are all focused on creating a new chapter in Ford’s history at Le Mans.”
After establishing themselves as a formidable team in IndyCar, Nascar, and Daytona Prototypes, Chip Ganassi Racing's step up to competition in GTs comes with plenty of hype and expectation.
“Personally and as an organization, we are thrilled to be racing at Le Mans this year,” said Ganassi.
“As a driver, I raced there once back in 1987, and I have been looking to get back there ever since. To be going with Ford and the new GT makes it all the more special, and the talent assembled in this driver line-up just adds to the anticipation.”
While the 24 Hours of Le Mans won't take place until June 18-19, Dixon and his co-drivers will take part in this weekend's IMSA Sebring 24 Hours — Dixon's first competitive drive of the new Ford GT race car.