History repeats itself at Le Mans

Ford GT wins class at 24 Hours of Le Mans
50 years ago, Ford won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the GT40 and a 1-2-3 podium sweep. It’s been called one of the biggest motorsports success stories of all time and it was one of four consecutive victories they would go on to claim. Everyone wondered if Ford could relive that glory when they revealed the new GT and promised to fight for a Le Mans win again, albeit in a different class this time. 50 years to the day after their first victory in 1966, they’ve won it again. It wasn’t a perfect win and it wasn’t without controversy, but holy hell they’ve done it.
[Image source: Ford]

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  1. Monkey10is Avatar

    Colour me cynical, but “it wasn’t without controversy” seems to be understating the unpleasant taste left in the mouth by the pre-race handicapping (setting Le Mans 2016 GT Pro as a straight replay of Ford v. Ferrari) and the bitter shock of a stewards call that ensured a Ford 1-2-3 in the last few laps of the race. Could the ACO not also arrange for them to all cross the line just metres apart to recreate a famous photo?
    Believe me, I think the Ganassi team deserve huge credit for getting a fairly new car (three of them no less) to the end of 24 hours and 300-something laps of the Circuit de la Sarthe: That in itself is a massive achievement. But somehow the result seemed too perfect.
    Now if you want a “holy hell they’ve done it!” article on LM2016, then I hope you’ll run a post on Frederic Sausset…

    1. Monkey10is Avatar

      Greg; Sorry if my post is too negative — not meant as a criticism of you or your desire to celebrate the Ford win. I was just aghast at the stewarding decision on the Rizzi Ferrari and so perhaps from that am unduly sullen and tending to side with those who felt that the ACO showed poor judgement in the prelude to the race too.

      1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
        Greg Kachadurian

        No worries, I totally understand and agree. I enjoyed watching it and rooting for Ford but the post race shit show and the blatant BoP rigging left a sour taste in my mouth too. Looking at the bigger picture though, I’m just stoked about how well they did compared to other brands who have recently made a comeback *cough* NISSAN.
        From the beginning, Ford designed it to win this race and they used every rule and regulation to their favor. All four cars finished and only one was really plagued by issues. Even with the favors they were given, they still had to run the whole thing. Do I wish the racing was closer? Hell yes. Do I wish they had all just chilled and not tried to DQ each other at the end? Absolutely. Does it change how excited I am to see a GT win Le Mans again? Only a little, as bad as that sounds.
        I’m sure Bradley will share his thoughts and I’m sure he’ll disagree with everything I’ve said 😛

    2. outback_ute Avatar

      I know what you mean, the lead-up to the handicapping also showed a bit of gamesmanship too I think. Fair enough from Ford’s point of view because there was really only one race they wanted to win above any other result.
      Was the call (and protest) on the Risi number light done before the ruling on the Ford?
      On another note, I think it is pretty cruel that the Toyota #5 was not classified due to a rule that is designed to prevent broken cars being sent out for one lap at the end of the race. Surely the ACO could change this so it does not apply to cars that have run continuously throughout the race.

      1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
        Greg Kachadurian

        Regarding the protest against Risi, it was done before any protest was made against the Ford. At first I thought it was for Risi blatantly ignoring a penalty but it was really just a greedy attempt to score a 1-2-3 which almost cost them the win with counter protests. It didn’t end up changing anything though.

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          Thanks Greg, due to the time of the finish here (11pm) I wasn’t following it live apart from checking in to see progress & the winner – a shock to see #5 absent from the final results!

  2. Tiberiuswise Avatar

    It’s like déjà vu all over again.

  3. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    Now, let’s compare the classes…

  4. Kyle Allen Avatar

    The race was fixed so Ford can sell their ugly over priced “exotic” car. Now we will never hear the end of it. Still would not pay for one and if I was given one, it would be traded in on anything European quickly!!!!

  5. outback_ute Avatar

    I had an idea of what this Ford GT reminds me of, and that is the 7-Litre Holden Monaro 427C’s that ran in the 2002 & 2003 (& only!) Bathurst 24 hour races. They were racing against what were effectively GT3-ish cars (FIA N-GT and British GTO regs), in cars that were only promised to go into production (they didn’t) and that were massively overbuilt in terms of performance, hence the cars could roll around all day at an understressed pace. It killed off the B24hr race and did huge damage to the category; Nation’s Cup was shut down in 2004.
    It seems to me that the Ford GT’s had plenty of extra pace available should they need it.

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