DETROIT/PARIS: Ford and Renault both had occasions to toot their horns at Le Mans, with the US company declaring it will resume racing with its Ford GT in 2016, while Renault says it would showcase the Alpine Celebration concept there to mark 60 years six decades of racing heritage
The Ford GT will compete in the Le Mans GT Endurance class for professional teams and drivers (LM GTE Pro).
The new race car is based on the GT supercar unveiled in January. Both the production car and race car will arrive in 2016 to mark the 50th anniversary of Ford GT race cars placing 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ford went on to repeat its victory at Le Mans in 1967, 1968 and 1969.
The two Ford teams will be operated by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS). Both series teams intend to compete with a four-car effort at Le Mans. Drivers will be announced later.
The performance segment is a growing business for Ford, as the company strives to meet its customers’ desire for vehicles that offer excellent fuel economy, leading technology and a great driving experience. The Ford Performance lineup includes Ford GT, Focus RS, F-150 Raptor, Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT350R, Focus ST and Fiesta ST.
The Ford GT race car features a number of innovations such as advanced aerodynamics to deliver high levels of downforce for improved stability with minimal drag, advanced lightweight composites featuring carbon fiber for an rigid but light chassis, and the power and efficiency of EcoBoost technology.
The 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 engine in the GT is the most powerful EcoBoost production engine ever.
Over in the Renault camp, the Alpine Celebration show car was introduced on Saturday, the eve of the 83rd edition of the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours.
A compact sports car inspired by Alpine’s motorsport heritage, the Alpine Celebration takes the form of a two-seater coupé whose sleek, flowing lines are underlined by its deep blue colour scheme.
This same blue – enhanced by hints of orange – also adorns the Alpine prototypes that made a return to endurance racing in 2013. It is a livery that harkens back to the Alpine models which played such a key role in the brand’s original Le Mans adventure when, from 1963 to 1969, the M63, M64, M65, A210, A220 and even the A110.
The Alpine Celebration replicates the style of Alpines of old whilst adding a modern twist. Its low profile, sloping, creased bonnet, sculpted sides, distinctive rear window and other design details are all clear echoes of models like the A110 that have featured so prominently in Alpine’s history.
The Alpine is a Renault sub-brand founded by Jean Rédélé.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is referred to by many as the Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency.
It regularly attracts more than 250,000 motoring and motor racing fans and is one of the highest-profile event on the international motorsport calendar.