As the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team counts down the final days of its IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship program, Ford Performance boss Mark Rushbrook says fans of the Blue Oval should be on the lookout for some of the former factory Ford GTs at select events next season in the hands of privateers.
“For us specifically with the GT program, as we’ve said with a factory program closing out after Petit Le Mans this year, we are still finalizing arrangements for where these great cars will continue, who’s going to own them, where are they going to race, so there’s definitely still an opportunity for that,” he told RACER.
“It certainly won’t be for a full season or at a full factory level, but we do expect that we’re going to see at least some of the cars on track next year in 2020.”
IMSA team owner Ben Keating was the first to buy and race a privateer Ford GT, winning the GTE-Am class at June’s 24 hours of Le Mans before the car was disqualified in post-race technical inspection for using an oversize fuel bladder. Since the Texan’s GT purchase, Rushbrook and his team have been evaluating other potential buyers who could campaign the twin-turbo V6-powered supercars at IMSA’s marquee events.
Ongoing planning for IMSA’s 2022 Daytona Prototype international formula, which is expected to feature the first-time use of kinetic energy recovery systems in the WeatherTech Championship, has also kept Ford Performance busy as it takes part in IMSA’s technical working group meetings.
It’s believed an alignment between IMSA and the ACO and FIA World Endurance championship to allow the next-generation DPis to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans would make it easy for Rushbrook and his bosses to commit to the class.
“There are a lot of great things going on in the sports car world, both in IMSA and WEC and around the world, so it’s going to be an exciting future for sure for the sport and for the fans,” he said.
“As far as the sport is concerned and the future, there’s a lot that still needs to be finalized, but on the WEC side with the hypercar, and as those rules are finalized and how they’re going to be able to race between the different configurations of cars, prototype, road-going, all-wheel drive, two-wheel drive, [internal combustion engine], hybrid… there’s a lot that’s going to happen there that that should be exciting, and definitely with the 2022 DPi, in IMSA.
“Very excited about the direction that IMSA is going with that and what DPi will be in the future. Still hopeful of some kind of convergence at that prototype level, but need to see some more work done there to make sure that’s a reality. But we’re involved in all of those discussions and looking to what the future is going to be defined as.”