2016 Ford GT LM GTE Pilots: D. Müller, J. Hand, S. Bourdais Team: Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA Race: 18th overall (1st in LMGTE-Pro class) at Le Mans in 2016 TSM - 430108 (resin)
The 24 Heures du Mans of 2016 was quite important to Ford. It would mark the manufacturer’s 50th anniversary of their first win at La Sarthe. As part of the celebration, they wanted to return to La Sarthe. But Ford didn’t want just to race again, they wanted to win. The chosen weapon? The new Ford GT (as GT LM GTE for the tracks). And they were serious indeed about it: Ford announced their comeback to Le Mans on the launch of the new car, just one year prior. The GT was the spiritual descendant of the Mk. II of 1966, but totally evolved in form and function. A truly modern supercar, it counted on a carbon fiber monocoque chassis covered in a carbon fiber body. The engine was a twin-turbocharged 3497 cm³ V6 with 24 valves rated at 647 hp.
Ford mounted a mammoth operation for Le Mans in 2016, and Chip Ganassi Racing would be their works team. To maximize their chances, the team would field four (!) cars, all in the LMGTE-Pro class. Competition would be tough in the class, coming from Corvettes, 911s, 488s and Vantages. And things got hairy from the start, with Ford accused of sandbagging during practice. In fact, both Ford and Ferrari received a Balance of Performance penalization after practice sessions. That wasn’t enough to upset starting grid positions, but the heat was on even before the race started.
The race begun under heavy rain, and the cars had to start behind the safety car. From start to finish, there was a fearsome battle between the Ferrari 488 #82 and the Ford GT #68 (chassis #FP-GT03). Both cars swapped the class lead three times, rekindling the 50-year-old rivalry between the two car manufacturers. GT #68 passed the Ferrari one last time in the 20th hour, and stayed up front to the checkered flag. And disaster almost struck after the race, when both cars received post-race penalizations. But in the end only the time gap was corrected between both cars, and Ford won again at La Sarthe.
If you have 7 minutes to spare, Ford produced a nice video about the race. Interestingly though, no mention of sandbagging…
In model form, the car is outright g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s. TSM absolutely Nailed It, with capital NI. I was really pleased with the road version of the car, but this I find a LOT nicer. Expensive , but worth it, since the only other option is from Ixo. I really like Ixo’s models in general, but unfortunately they dropped the ball on their GT. They make a nice model but it looks to be a tad too big (and too high). So if you’re serious about the Ford GT, this TSM is the model to have.