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Posts Tagged ‘24 hours of le mans’

Ford to Run Four GTs at LeMans

Half-century later, aiming to repeat historic victory.

by on Feb.05, 2016

Ford's two GTs were strong -- when running -- but had mechanical problems at Daytona.

Despite a disappointing debut at Daytona, Ford still has big hopes for its new GT race car – buoyed by word that organizers have approved a four-car entry for the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans.

But the four Ford GTs will have a lot to live up to. They’ll take the field exactly 50 years after Ford’s 1-2-3 podium finish at the 1966 Le Mans classic. Ford got off to a weak start in this year’s endurance series, its Daytona entries suffering from a series of mechanical problems.

The Last Word!

“It was great to see all four Ford GTs up there on the Le Mans entry list today,” said Dave Pericak, director of Ford Performance, during a press conference in Paris. “Newcomers are by no means guaranteed an entry, whatever their history or ambitions, so we thank the (organizers) for giving Ford the opportunity for a four-car assault in June.”


Ford Confirms Return to Le Mans with New GT

“We’re back.”

by on Jun.12, 2015

The Ford GT in Le Mans trim.

After a decades-long absence, Ford Motor Co. will return to endurance racing next year, launching a track version of the new GT supercar on a campaign to be capped with a race for the checkered flag at Le Mans.

The effort will begin next January, when Ford and Chip Ganassi Racing launch the new GT at the 24 Hours of Daytona. The program not-so-coincidentally is meant to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first win by Ford’s original GT40 Mk. II at Le Mans.

Track News!

“We’re back,” proclaimed Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford, during a news conference preceding the start of the 2015 Le Mans endurance race. “We’re back with a car. We’re back with a partner.”


Is Ford Ready to Race New GT at Le Mans?

Maker set to announce “significant performance news.”

by on Jun.12, 2015

Ford Chairman Bill Ford and CEO Mark Fields unveiling the new Ford GT supercar at the Detroit Auto Show.

Ford Motor Co. is only promising some “significant performance news” will be announced in Cologne, Germany today. But based on a variety of hints the maker has been dropping, the betting is that it will announce plans to return to Le Mans in the near future, all but certainly to race the reborn Ford GT.

Rumors of a new Le Mans program began to surface even before Ford revealed the latest take on the ultracar at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last January. Company officials then suggested they might have additional plans for the GT.

Performance News!

The announcement will come just a day before the 2015 Le Mans race gets the green flag. If Ford were to put the GT back on the track in 2016 it would be more than just a coincidence. That would mark the 50th anniversary of the maker’s stunning victory at Le Mans with its original GT40 Mk II


Nissan Darting into LeMans with DeltaWing racer

Revolutionary design could reshape motor sports.

by on Mar.14, 2012

Nissan has put its name on the DeltaWing racer as its title sponsor.

Over more than a century of motor sports, the racing world has often been transformed by dramatic shifts in design.  Today, aerodynamics can play as significant a role as the powertrain in a race car – as fans of the Formula One world can readily attest.

Is the DeltaWing project ready to unleash the next big revolution?  The dart-like concept, which has more visually in common with a fighter aircraft than a NASCAR or even an Indy racer, is set to get its first big test during the unforgiving 24 Hours of Le Mans thanks to the project’s latest sponsor, Nissan.

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The Japanese maker says it is “aiming to change the face of endurance racing forever” with what has now been renamed the Nissan DeltaWing.  That’s no minor boast when you consider what the exotic concept will be going up against, including the likes of Audi’s latest diesel-powered monster, the R18 eTron Quattro.


Germans Invade France: Victory at Le Mans

Disaster turns into victory.

by on Jun.15, 2011

Germany's secret weapon: the Audi R18.

It started back in 2000 when the first Audi prototype showed up at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  At a race where sports car manufacturer Porsche has won 16 times and Ferrari nine times, the upstarts from Ingolstadt came with a serious race car, the turbocharged gasoline-engined R8, and took first, second and third the first time out.

In the years since, the Audi R8, R10, the R15 diesel and now the new R18 diesel have won the race nine more times.  They took a year off in 2003 when, at the suggestion of management, the Audi race car was reconfigured into a Bentley coupe, and the Bentley took first and second using Audi engines.

In 2004, the R8 returned and took first, second, third and fifth.  The following year, the updated and heavily restricted R8 won again, with Danish driver Tom Kristensen winning his seventh Le Mans in a row.

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The world of sports car racing changed forever in 2006 when Audi showed up with its new R10 race cars, powered by 5.5-liter turbocharged diesel engines.  Diesels?  At Le Mans?  Yes.  Using specially distilled diesel race fuel, the Audis qualified first and second and beat the closest gasoline-powered car by four LAPS, owing to the diesel’s reliability, huge torque off the corners, and far fewer stops for fuel.  The winning Audi diesel covered 3164 miles in 24 hours, at an average speed of 131 mph.


Audi, Chevrolet, BMW and Even Ford Enhance Their Reputations at Le Mans

Despite two crashes, Audi overwhelms field with new R18 turbodiesel.

by on Jun.13, 2011

Though two of its three cars crashed, Audi's #2 R18 turbodiesel went on to win.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans, the greatest auto race on Earth, tests engineering skill, driving skill, mechanical skill and everyone’s patience.  This year’s race, the 79th running, showed once again what great racing companies like Audi, Chevrolet, Nissan, and BMW can do.

Audi brought three brand new, brutish-looking diesel-powered R18s to race in the top LMP1 class, with new V-6 turbodiesel engines replacing the older, heavier and less efficient V-10 turbodiesels.

Before 15 laps were done, their #3 car had crashed heavily, sending Scottish driver Allan McNish to the infield hospital.  Around 11:45 PM, the #1 car tangled with a Ferrari and lost, taking out a huge section of guardrail and sending German driver Mike Rockenfeller to the hospital, as well.

News you can use!

It took more than two hours to fix the guardrail while the field of 56 cars idled around in the dark under a yellow flag.  But the remaining #2 car, with drivers Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer, and Andre Lotterer, soldiered on and won the race, a close finish, with five diesel Peugeots trailing it home.  It was Audi’s tenth overall victory at Le Mans, now more than Ferrari.


Milestones: First Porsche Overall Win at Le Mans

After 4,607.811 kilometers, Porsche took first 40 years ago.

by on Jun.11, 2010

The Zuffenhausen sports carmaker had been racing at the Sarthe circuit since 1951.

It was 40 years ago this weekend that Porsche claimed its first overall win at the world’s oldest endurance race, the 24 hours of Le Mans.

Hans Herrmann and Richard Atwood driving number 23 were first across the finish line in a 917 KH from Porsche Salzburg. Gerard Larrousse and Willy Kauhsen in the Martini Porsche 917 took second, trailed by Rudi Lins and Helmut Marko in a Porsche 908/02.

It was an impressive sweep for Porsche, which had been racing on the Sarthe street circuit since 1951, with numerous class wins because of Porsche’s lightweight and aerodynamic design, as well as reliability.

Porsche had come tantalizingly near to winning outright before. In 1969, in the closest Le Mans race ever, Herrmann and Larrousse in a Porsche 908 finished just 75 meters – about one second – behind the Ford GT 40 of Jacky Ickx.