Le Mans-winning Ford GT to debut at Bathurst
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Ford Performance has announced its packing one extra special car for the trip to this year's Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 in October.
The 2016 Le Mans-winning GTE Ford GT will turn its first wheel in anger at the world-famous 6.213 kilometre circuit as a prelude to this year’s race, piloted by Australian Ford Chip Ganassi Racing driver Ryan Briscoe.
The Ford Performance IMSA GT Number 67 will be freighted to Australia for the first time, and will see Briscoe behind the wheel as part of the Ford Performance presence at this year’s Great Race. Briscoe is well aware of this momentous occasion, and intends to take full advantage of a once-in-a-generation opportunity.
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“The Ford GT is an ultra-high-performance car, so I’m really excited and honoured to turn the Ford GT’s first laps at Bathurst” said Briscoe, who raced in Australia’s Bathurst 1000 in 2013.
Despite his familiarity with the Ford GT and the circuit, putting the two together for the first time will provide a fresh challenge for the Australian.
“Nothing quite compares to Bathurst. Bathurst as a circuit demands the highest respect at all times. It has the intensity of a circuit like Indy, where its very high speed and you just always need to be 100-percent focused,” said Briscoe.
“Of all the circuits we race on, Bathurst is probably closest to Watkins Glen, though, as they both have a very smooth, high-grip surface with a lot of high-speed corners. For me, Bathurst is one of the best, if not the best racing circuit in the world.”
In 2016, the GT made history with its winning debut at the Le Mans 24 hour, claiming victory 50 years on from the Ford’s 1-2-3 formation finish for the Ford GT40 in the 1966 race.
“We’re excited to have the opportunity to put this amazing race car on such an iconic circuit,” said Ford Australian and New Zealand President and CEO, Kay Hart.
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“Innovation through design and engineering drives Ford Performance, and where better than Bathurst to introduce the Ford Performance GT to Australians.”
The Ford Performance GT race car is the culmination of years of Ford innovation in aerodynamics, lightweight carbonfibre construction and efficient EcoBoost engines, and serves as a test bed for new technologies and advanced lightweight materials that will benefit future Ford cars, trucks, SUVs and electric vehicles.
With its carbonfibre teardrop-shaped body climbing the Mountain, Ford say it will be the most capable vehicle wearing a Ford badge to ever lap Mount Panorama.
“To have such an iconic vehicle in the Ford GT here – a car with strong success in some of the world’s greatest races – is something Australian fans will love, and it shows how highly regarded Bathurst is globally, and by Ford and Ford Performance,” said Supercars CEO, Sean Seamer.
The Ford Performance GT will be in action during the Supercars Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, held over October 3-6, 2018.
In 2019, Ford Performance will support the Ford Mustang’s entry into the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, which kicks off in March at the Adelaide 500.