The FIA revealed earlier this year that its flagship World Endurance Championship racing series, which includes the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, would shift to a radically different calendar, with a single “super season” spanning from May, 2018, to June, 2019. A total of eight events are planned for the new calendar, with the super season slated to end on the Le Mans 24h on June 15th/16th.
Yet Ford, which in 2016 announced that it would extend the Ford GT racing program an extra two years past 2017, won’t necessarily move the quit date yet again in order to accommodate a fourth full season of endurance racing. On the contrary, Ford Performance’s incoming Motorsports Director Mark Rushbrook told Sportscar365 recently: “We’ve said for the last year-in-a-half that we’re committed through 2019.”
He continued: “For IMSA, [it’s] 2018 and 2019. On the WEC side, at this point we can say we’re committed through the ‘Super Season’ 2018/19.”
As for whether Ford Performance could decide at a later date to further extend the Ford GT racing program, “we’ve got a lot of time before we need to make any decisions on that,” Rushbrook says.
The outlook for fans of Ford’s road racing efforts isn’t necessarily bleak beyond 2019, however. Ford President of North America Raj Nair on a previous occasion told Sportscar365 that Ford could graduate up to compete in the LMP1 class in the FIA WEC, and the DPi class in IMSA, assuming the two racing series embrace a mostly common set of regulations. Prior to the current-generation Ford GT, a version of its twin-turbocharged 3.5L V6 powered the Ford EcoBoost Riley DP in the IMSA series.