There’s a self-imposed expiration date on the Ford GT racing program: the end of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. By then, that year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race, which constitutes the final round of the 2018-’19 FIA World Endurance Championship “Superseason”, will have come and gone. As of now, there are no plans to continue racing in a global series like the WEC after the first-ever Superseason comes to a close.
But that doesn’t mean Ford is necessarily ready to call it quits. Speaking to Dailysportscar recently, Ford Performance Global Director of Motorsports Mark Rushbrook said that participating in a global program like the WEC is important to the automaker, and they’re paying close attention as organizers decide how to redefine the top class of race cars (LMP1) for the 2020 season.
“We are watching developments closely, and working with the organizers on what the future will be in terms of rules development for prototypes in sportscar racing, with LMP1, and whether or not that takes a global form, with WEC and IMSA able to align to the same specification,” says Rushbrook. “That is important to us. We are watching the way those rules are evolving.
“Potentially, hybrid in GT is on board in the future,” Rushbrook continued. “We need to see what that future looks like from a rules structure, and then we can make decisions on how this program can bridge into something else in the future.”
The FIA and ACO today revealed new proposed regulations for the top car class in the World Endurance Championship. Under the proposed rules, Motorsport reports, the cars would remain prototype-based as they are today, with bodywork unique to each manufacturer, and style/brand identity taking precedence over aerodynamics. The new breed of prototypes would revolve around “hypercars, supercars, luxury GTs or concept cars,” thereby giving participating manufacturers image-boosting visibility.
Reducing the cost of competition is central to the proposed regulations; with the help of new homologation procedures and technical rules, organizers are hoping that costs can be cut to about a quarter of “recent” LMP1 budgets.
The Ford GT currently races in the GTE-Pro category of the FIA World Endurance Championship, but with Ford keeping a keen watch on what happens to LMP1, the lower cost of entry could help nudge the Blue Oval toward making a bid in that class when the GT’s WEC days are behind it.