Ford vs Porsche at Le Mans
ALWYN VILJOEN predicts epic racing at endurance tracks as America takes on Germany, again
THE organisers of the Le Mans 24 Hours, the ACO ( Automobile Club de l’Ouest), have confirmed that all four Ford GTs have received a place on the prestigious entry list for the 2016 Le Mans.
Fifty years on from Ford’s famous 1- 2- 3 outright victory at Le Mans, all four Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs will compete for GTE Pro class glory at the world’s greatest motor race, which takes place on June 18 and 19.
“It was great to see all four Ford GTs up there on the Le Mans entry list today [ Saturday],” said Dave Pericak, Ford Performance global director, who attended Saturday afternoon’s press conference in Paris.
“Newcomers are by no means guaranteed an entry, whatever their history or ambitions, so we thank the ACO for giving Ford the opportunity for a four- car assault in June.”
The Ford GT racing car is based on the all- new Ford GT supercar, which is the pinnacle product of the Ford Performance division. With state- of- the- art aerodynamics, lightweight carbon fibre construction and a powerful and efficient Ford EcoBoost engine, the Ford GT has been built to go headto- head with the GT establishment — Ferrari, Corvette, Porsche and Aston Martin — as they fight for victory in the ultimate endurance battle.
For Porsche’s third season since the return to the highly sophisticated top category of Le Mans prototypes, the cutting- edge 919 Hybrids have been significantly developed with the basic chassis structure and the powertrain concept remaining the same.
Fritz Enzinger, vice president LMP1 said: “Independently from our sporting targets, our most important task is to gather knowhow for Porsche for future technologies. The WEC’s unique efficiency regulations, with the huge technical freedom, is the right platform for the company to develop and test innovations for road going sports cars.”
Back in November, Porsche announced the driver line- up that goes back to 2014 would remain unchanged: World champions Timo Bernhard ( Germany, 35), Brendon Hartley ( New Zealand, 26) and Mark Webber ( Australia, 39) will share the number 1 car. The number 2 sister car will be in the hands of Romain Dumas ( France, 38), Neel Jani ( Switzerland, 32) and Marc Lieb ( Germany, 35).
The hybrid system of the 919 combines cutting- edge downsizing turbo technology with efficient fuel direct injection for the two- litre, four- cylinder combustion engine, and uses a lithium- ion battery to store electricity from the brakes on the front axle and exhaust.
The 919 Hybrid produces a system with power of almost 900 hp and provided Porsche with many important inspirations for the development of future road- going sports cars. The latest example is the 800- volt technology for the purely electrical powered Mission E concept car.
Porsche 919 Hybrid ( 19) team ( top) Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber and Nico Huelkenberg will be looking in their rearview mirrors for the new Ford GTs ( left) at Le Mans this year.