Ford boasts handling of new GT Le Mans racer is "phenomenal"

The new Ford GT sportscar conducted further testing at Road America this week, with project chief Dave Pericak delighted with its early pace.

Ford boasts handling of new GT Le Mans racer is "phenomenal"
The new Ford GT
The new Ford GT
The new Ford GT
The new Ford GT 2016-spec GTE that will be raced by Chip Ganassi Racing at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans
The new Ford GT
George Howard-Chappell, Ford GT program manager
The new Ford GT 2016-spec GTE that will be raced by Chip Ganassi Racing at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans: Ford logo and signage
The new Ford GT 2016-spec GTE that will be raced by Chip Ganassi Racing at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans
The new Ford GT 2016-spec GTE that will be raced by Chip Ganassi Racing at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans

Motorsport.com broke the news of Ford’s initial laps undertaken by Scott Maxwell at Calabogie Motorsports Park back in May. Further tests have since taken place at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and the Michelin test facility at Ladoux, France.

Maxwell was joined by former NASCAR Nationwide racer Billy Johnson at the test, which was conducted by Ford development partner Multimatic.

The Ford GTE spec car was reported to have made good progress as it gets set for its race debut at Daytona next January.

Multimatic designed and built the majority of the car, which features aerodynamics by renowned engineer Mark Handford. The FIA WEC arm of the Ford operation will be managed by former Aston Martin Racing boss George Howard Chappell and also features technical direction from ex-Lola LMP designer Julian Sole.

Ford happy with initial testing

Speaking to Motorsport.com, Ford’s Director of Performance Dave Pericak expressed satisfaction with the initial testing.

However, the car is yet to be officially balance of performance-tested and will then have to adhere to a set of specific criteria as dictated by the FIA/ACO technical teams. The BoP test will take place on September 6.

“Out of the box, we are very happy with the car,” said Pericak. “When you come out of the box, one of two things happens – either you are going to have a not so good effort, and that means you are going to struggle and then get to a good race car, or you are going to come out of the box with a really good car and you are going to get to a great race car.

"We came out really good, so we are happy. The lap times are more than just in the ballpark and the handling of the car is phenomenal. It is running as predicated by our CFD analysis, so we are very excited and we’re off to a good start.”

Race drivers being evaluated

The drivers to be selected to form both the Tudor United SportsCar and World Endurance Championship teams are currently being evaluated. Ford is spearheading the decisions on who to employ and is expected to make formal announcements in October.

“We are in the process of evaluating drivers and we meet on a regular basis with Multimatic and Chip Ganassi Racing as a cross-functional team looking at driver dynamics and what talent we need,” confirmed Pericak.

“We are going to be on the track [racing] in January, so we are not dragging our feet and we are moving as quickly as we can, but we are also making sure we get the right people behind the wheel.”

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