Motorsport.com can exclusively reveal that the racing version of the all-new Ford GT car ran on track for the very first time earlier this month.
The Multimatic-designed car, which will be revealed at the Le Mans 24 Hours next month, was driven by Scott Maxwell at the Calabogie Motorsports Park in Ontario.
An initial test took place on Saturday May 16, with only a few laps being conducted by Maxwell. An additional test was carried out in a more thorough shakedown last Wednesday at the same venue.
It is believed that the same car will be on display at the Le Mans 24 Hours next month, when an official announcement for the 2016 race program is announced.
Motorsport.com can reveal that the Ford GT will be powered by the Roush Yates Ecoboost 3.5-litre V6 turbo, similar to that used in the Riley & Scott Daytona Prototype car. The car will also feature a Ricardo-designed and built gearbox.
Car designed in England
The majority of the mechanical design of the car has been undertaken by a Multimatic ‘design cell’ in Cambridgeshire, England.
The team there is led by former Lola LMP designer Julian Sole and includes several other former Lola designers, including Norman Ashmore, brother of former Reynard CART engineer Bruce Ashmore.
Co-ordinating the racing programme is the former team principal of Aston Martin Racing, George Howard-Chappell.
Howard-Chappell is now Motorsports Business Director for Multimatic, and is co-ordinating the main aspects of the racing programs for 2016. He has been attending the FIA/ACO Technical Working Group and rules meetings since early 2014.
However, the real driving force behind the project from the get-go was Multimatic technical director, Larry Holt, who spent years lobbying his significant contacts at Ford to get the green light for both the road car and race car projects.
Testing plan continues
Motorsport.com understands that further development testing is planned for the project throughout the summer, before the car goes through its FIA/ACO performance measurement tests at the Ladoux test facility in late summer.
It remains to be seen if the car will make a one-off cameo appearance in 2015.
Motorsport.com sources have indicated that tentative plans to possibly debut at Petit Le Mans are said to have recently been put on the back burner, and a more likely public debut will come at the Daytona 24 Hours in January.