Corvette Racing will go to this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans as the reigning GTE-Pro class champions. The team reminded us all of their dominance last week by successfully defending their Rolex 24 at Daytona title, but they may have a harder time defending the Le Mans trophy after Ford today announced it will field four of its GT racecars in the race.
The Ford GT didn’t strike fear into the hearts of competitors at Daytona last week, finishing 7th and 9th after both cars entered suffered reliability issues, but that’s not to say the team wasn’t strong. They posted fast, competitive times in practice and even passed a Corvette for the lead early on, so they could easily become a force to be reckoned with by the time Le Mans rolls around.
Ford, in partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing, is fielding the GT in both IMSA and the FIA World Endurance Championship this year, giving them access to four cars total. Its current IMSA roster of Ryan Briscoe, Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and Richard Westbrook will be at Le Mans, along with the FIA WEC roster of Marino Franchitti, Stefan Mücke, Olivier Pla and Andy Priaulx. The third drivers for each car have yet to be announced.
Corvette Racing may have the advantage of experience at Le Mans, but Ford will have the advantage of quantity. With four cars on the grid, Ford can not only experiment with different strategies for each but have the cars work together to gain an advantage over the two-car GTE-Pro teams. Both teams will also have the ultra competitive FIA GTE-Pro field to worry about, which consists of entries from Porsche, Ferrari and others.
We’re looking forward to seeing an intense dogfight between the yellow Chevys and red, white and blue Fords come June, as we’re sure the countless other Team Chevy and Ford Performance fans all over America and the world are. Let’s just hope both Corvettes make it to the starting line this year and that Ford can get its reliability in check.