No.68 Ford disqualified after Le Mans; GTE-Am in question

Image by JEP/LAT

No.68 Ford disqualified after Le Mans; GTE-Am in question

Le Mans/WEC

No.68 Ford disqualified after Le Mans; GTE-Am in question

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The No. 68 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing GT has been disqualified from its fourth-place finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in post-race technical inspection for having a fuel cell that carried more than the 97-liter maximum.

RACER has confirmed the car driven by Joey Hand, Dirk Muller, and Sebastien Bourdais has been removed from its finishing position, and the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 Riley Motorsports, assisted by the FCGR team, has been subjected to identical fuel capacity checks by the ACO, organizers of the Le Mans event.

Sources have told RACER the fuel tank that feeds the No. 85’s GT’s 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine was measured slightly below 100mL over capacity (0.03 gallons).

Unlike the No. 68’s disqualification, no official word has been passed down on the No. 85’s fate.

ACO technical inspectors also paid visits to the No. 85 team’s garage during the race to measure the overhead refueling tank. Adding to the general feeling of being targeted by the organizers, the No. 85 Ford driven by team owner Ben Keating and teammates Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga had a comfortable lead erased late in the event when the ACO demanded the car’s appearance on pit lane to replace its damaged nose.

Already covered in adhesive tape during a previous stop, and with fully functional headlights, the command for the change appeared to have more to do with cosmetics than any structural issues that were visible. Adding to the odd directive, the No. 85 was called back to pit lane to serve a penalty for spinning the tires while leaving with the new nose.

The No.85 Ford had to overcome some unusual late obstacles to win the GTE-Am class at Le Mans on Sunday. But is that victory now under a new cloud? Image by Portlock/LAT

Despite the repeated interventions by race control, No. 85 went on to win by 44.9 seconds, giving the Ford GT its first win in the Pro-Am category while the factory Fords placed fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh on their farewell to the GTE-Pro class.

With the No. 68 GT subsequently removed from fourth, the Riley team awaits the ACO’s decision to learn if its fairytale win on the No. 85’s GTE-Am will be upheld, or if the second-place No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR is elevated to the class victory.

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