Exclusive: Priaulx to join Ford's WEC squad

Andy Priaulx is set to race for the Ford GT squad in the FIA WEC next season, Motorsport.com can exclusively reveal.

Exclusive: Priaulx to join Ford's WEC squad
The new Ford GT
The new Ford GT
GTC podium: winner Andy Priaulx, BMW Team Marc VDS
#52 BMW Team Marc VDS BMW Z4: Andy Priaulx, Henry Hassid, Jesse Krohn
Andy Priaulx, Team IHG Rewards Club BMW 125i MSport
#97 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4: Michael Marsal, Markus Palttala, Andy Priaulx, Billy Johnson
Andy Priaulx

The three-time World Touring Car Champion is likely to be announced alongside the other full-season FIA WEC Ford GT drivers in early January after his current contract with long-time employers BMW expires.

A senior source from within the Ford set-up told Motorsport.com that talks between Priaulx and Ford had come to fruition earlier this month and the 41-year-old will join the WEC programme, which will be based in the UK.

The deal is believed to be for two years.

"[Priaulx] is a good fit. Obviously, his experience with working within manufacturer teams was attractive but he also has proven key technical skills, plus he’s a great guy,” said the source, who wished not to be named.

“He'll be the senior driver in the team and will be able to guide the others from the very start of the programme. He is still quick and he’ll also be a strong ambassador for the programme from a corporate level, so everyone will be happy.”

The news that Priaulx is set to join the Ford GT programme brings to a close his 12-year association with BMW. In that time, he won the European Touring Car title in 2004 and the World Touring Car Championship in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Priaulx has raced at Le Mans twice before in 2011 and 2012 with a BMW M3. Partnering fellow Ford GT recruits Dirk Muller and Joey Hand, he finished third on his first attempt.

The main Ford FIA WEC testing programme is set to begin in February after the Daytona 24 Hours. Several drivers have been linked to rides with the team and Motorsport.com understands that Olivier Pla and Stefan Mucke are both highly likely to join Priaulx for full campaigns.

In 2015, Priaulx raced in the BTCC and the European Le Mans Series with the BMW Marc VDS team, winning races in both categories. The Guernseyman also won the Race of Champions event at the Olympic stadium in London with teammate Jason Plato.

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