Ford GT Races at Petit Le Mans and Wins the IMSA GTLM Manufacturer’s Title

Ford GT Petit Le Mans Race Car
The “Fan Walk” at Petit Le Mans lets everyone get close to the race cars

Ford and Chip Ganassi campaigned two Ford GTs at the final Road Atlanta event in the 2018 IMSA GTLM series. Cars number 66 and 67 competed in the final race, and while car 67 had a chance to win the driver’s championship their fifth-place finish wasn’t quite high enough to nab that title.

But Ford’s GT did take home its first manufacturer’s title. With first place finishes in five races this season the Ford GTs only needed to cross the starting line to secure the manufacturer’s title, which meant all the Ford GT owners in attendance could relax a bit after the first lap in the 10-hour race was over.

Ford GT Petit Le Mans Parking Structure
Every morning the collection of Ford GTs would caravan to Road Atlanta

I attended this year’s Petit Le Mans, even though I was between Ford GTs at the time. With my former 2005 Ford GT now owned by Doug DeMuro, and my new Ford GT about 3 months from being completed, I could only watch the 25-plus Ford GTs that did show up, several from as far away as Arizona, Michigan and Texas.

Ford GT Petit Le Mans Owners Tent
Ford GT owners gathered in a trackside tent to watch and hear the race action

Despite not having my own GT it was, as always, amazing to see so many Ford GTs driving together on the roads between our host hotel in Alpharetta and Road Atlanta. This was the first owner’s event where new Ford GTs were rivaling the 2005-2006 models, with the total split nearly evenly between the two.

Ford GT Petit Le Mans BBS Wheels
Parking over 25 Ford GTs at BBS Wheels’ U.S. headquarters created quite a site

On Friday we all caravanned to Road Atlanta and were allowed to park in front of BBS Wheels’ U.S. headquarters, which is right next to Road Atlanta. The line-up looked pretty impressive and created quite a sight for race fans entering the track.

Ford GT Petit Le Mans Corral
The Ford GT Corral at Road Atlanta housed 27 Ford GTs on race day

On Saturday, race day, there was a Ford GT Corral for parking the cars at Road Atlanta. With 27 cars in the corral, plus a another Liquid Red Ford GT at the Ford Performance display, and Dave Bannister’s Riviera Blue GT at the Michelin booth, there were plenty of Blue Oval emblems throughout Road Atlanta.

Ford GT Petit Le Mans Ford Performance Booth
A Liquid Red Ford GT shimmered in the Ford Performance booth

There’s still no confirmation on whether Ford will extend its race program beyond 4 years. If it doesn’t, 2019 will be the last season with Ford backing of the GT race program. The teams seem to be getting stronger every season. Maybe 2019 will be the Ford GT’s best year yet for titles and championships.

Ford GT Petit Le Mans Michelin Booth
Dave Bannister’s Riviera Blue Ford GT glowed in the Michelin booth

Either way, I’m looking forward to attending these events with my own Ford GT.

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