Ford Chip Ganassi Racing has revealed that Marino Franchitti, Stefan Mücke, Olivier Pla and Andy Priaulx have been selected to race in the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at the wheel of the all-new Ford GT.
Ford is running two cars in the FIA World Endurance Championship and two in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The intention is for the two teams to come together in June for a four-car effort at the most famous endurance race in the world, the Le Mans 24 Hours, fifty years after its historic 1-2-3 finish. The FIA WEC will visit a further three locations in Europe: Silverstone (UK), Nürburgring (Germany) and Spa (Belgium).
“Make no mistake, we are racing to win,” said Dave Pericak, Ford Performance global director. “To compete at this level you need the best car, the best team and the best drivers, and we have selected Stefan, Olivier, Andy and Marino to drive the Ford GT to take on the best in the world.”
“I’m excited to be at team HQ in the UK to launch the WEC team,” said Chip Ganassi, owner of Ford Chip Ganassi Racing. “Just like when we announced the Ford GT drivers for the Weathertech Sportscar Championship last month, we’ve again chosen drivers with heart, speed and proven endurance racing credentials. It’s a global team running in two championships and I can’t wait for the racing to begin.”
Briton Marino Franchitti is an endurance-specialist and has raced at Le Mans no less than five times. Stefan Mücke, from Germany, has multiple WEC victories under his belt and knows what it takes to make it onto the podium at Le Mans. Frenchman, Olivier Pla, also has first-hand experience of the fierce competition in WEC. Briton Andy Priaulx is a three-time FIA World Touring Car Champion who has also won one of the world’s toughest endurance races – the Nürburgring 24 Hours – and stood on the podium at Le Mans.
WEC Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team principal – Multimatic’s George Howard-Chappell – has already led a team to victory at Le Mans on three occasions.
“It doesn’t get any more competitive than the Le Mans 24 Hours but that is what makes winning it so special,” said Howard-Chappell. “Everything has to be perfect and even then you still need luck on your side to cross the line first. The Ford GT has been built to return to Le Mans and these four drivers all know what it takes to compete against the toughest competition in the world.”
Mücke will get behind the wheel of the Ford GT very soon as he joins the IMSA Ford Chip Ganassi Racing squad for the Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Jan. 8-10. Mücke will become the third driver in the #67 Ford GT entry at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, which takes place on January 30-31 alongside Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook.
World Endurance Championship Schedule:
April 17: 6 Hours of Silverstone, Great Britain
May 7: 6 Hours of Spa, Belgium
June 18/19: Le Mans 24 Hours, France
July 24: 6 Hours of Nürburgring, Germany
Sept. 3: 6 Hours of Mexico City, Mexico
Sept. 17: 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas (Lone Star Le Mans), U.S.
Oct. 16: 6 Hours of Fuji, Japan
Nov. 6: 6 Hours of Shanghai, China
Nov. 19: 6 Hours of Bahrain, Bahrain