Skip to main content

Ford says au revoir to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with retro GT liveries

Ford GT 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans retro liveries
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Every great story has to come to an end eventually. Ford’s class win at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans with its GT supercar was worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster, but Ford is now ready to retire from the legendary French race. The 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans will be the last for the GT, the automaker confirmed.

The Ford GT was developed with one goal: To win the GTE Pro class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on the 50th anniversary of Ford’s 1966 overall victory over Ferrari — one of the greatest upsets in racing history. Taking some inspiration from the car that won those races, the GT40, but featuring thoroughly modern aerodynamics, lightweight construction, and a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 engine, the GT won Le Mans on its first attempt in 2016. GTE Pro is the top Le Mans class for cars based on road-legal models, so Ford went on to build GTs for customers boasting 647 horsepower and prices well into the six-figure range.

Ford’s decision to cancel the Le Mans program after the 2019 race is fitting, as this year marks the 50th anniversary of the last of the original GT40’s wins. While Ford was able to win four times in a row between 1966 and 1969, its modern Le Mans program hasn’t been as successful. The GT hasn’t won at Le Mans since 2016, although it has won other races. A 2019 class victory would allow the race program to end on a high note.

The GT will bow out with retro liveries celebrating Ford’s history at Le Mans, something the automaker previously did with Heritage Edition versions of the GT road car. The No. 66 car will wear a black livery based on the 1966 Le Mans-winning GT40, while the No. 69 car’s livery will be based on the car that came second that year. The No. 67 GT will wear the colors of the 1967 Le Mans winner, and the No. 68 car will wear the red, white, and blue livery from the GT’s 2016 class win. A fifth, privately entered GT will wear the orange and purple colors of the team’s main sponsor, Wynn’s.

The 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place June 15-16. After that, the GT will continue to race in the United States in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship through the end of the 2019 season, but after that, the race program’s future is uncertain, according to Racer. This may be the end of the road for the GT, but it doesn’t mean Ford is done with Le Mans for good. In its press release announcing the end of the current Le Mans program, Ford made a point of using the French phrase “au revoir,” which translates to “until we meet again.”

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
The Tesla Model Y is far from my favorite EV, but I’m pretty close to buying one
Tesla Model Y One Millionth Car

I may finally be on my way toward buying my first EV. Sure, I've tested dozens of electric car models over the years, but despite that (or perhaps because of it), I have yet to buy one. But my family is growing, and my wife and I aren't so sure about carting our future kids around in an aging car that lacks the safety features of modern vehicles.

Because of the fact that we're expecting our kid in January, we have a bit of a deadline. So what are we leaning toward? Well, despite the fact that it's far from my favorite EV, we may actually end up just getting a Model Y.
Timing makes a difference
If the baby was coming along in a year's time, things might be completely different. There are a few reasons for that.

Read more
Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally kicks up some dirt
Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally driving on a dirt road.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV pushed the hallowed Mustang nameplate in a different direction, and it's doing that again with a new performance variant. Debuting in 2024, the Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally is designed for fun on both pavement and dirt.

Rallying is a form of motorsport where drivers compete to set the quickest time over a course — usually a closed road or trail — rather than a dedicated racetrack that includes a variety of surfaces like dirt, gravel, or even snow. Rallying has inspired some epic performance road cars over the years, including the Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and Ford's own Focus RS, but it's never really been associated with the Mustang.

Read more
BMW scraps its unpopular approach to heated seats
Driver's seat and dashboard of the 2023 BMW iX M60.

BMW caused much consternation last year when it launched a subscription-only option for heated car seats.

The idea of having to pay a monthly fee of $18 to keep your posterior warm during the winter months still seems as absurd as ever, but the good news is that the German automaker has now decided to scrap the fee. What particularly irked customers was that they felt they were being forced to cough up extra for functions that would previously have been expected as standard. The fiasco even prompted a community of hackers to offer their services to unlock the feature for those unwilling to pay extra for it.

Read more