Ford wanted to win with a Mustang
ACO rules forced Ford to make the mid-engine V6 GT
The latest Ford GT was a bit of a happy accident, it turns out. The CEO of the Blue Oval recently let slip that the company had intended to return to Le Mans all along but with a Mustang and not the mid-engine supercar.
“When we decided to make Mustang global – to sell it around the world in left- and right-hand drive – for the previous generation, we knew the 50th anniversary of the Le Mans win was coming up,” CEO Jim Farley said (via Top Gear).
Ford went to Multimatic, who started to do simulations to decide what it would take to make a Ford Mustang win at Le Mans. “It became clear that we couldn’t really win with the silhouette of a Mustang. We would be too dependent on the ACO and the French regulators,” the exec said.
“We decided at that time to take a totally left turn with Multimatic and Larry’s (Multimatic CTO Larry Holt) technical leadership,” admits Farley. “And we designed the Ford GT. But the original idea was never to have a new GT. We wanted to win Le Mans with the Mustang.”
The Ford GT was a big success, both at Le Mans and at Ford dealers, letting Ford hit its goal and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the company’s first ever Le Mans win. Imagine that celebration happening with a Mustang, though? It’s tough to do, even as Ford readies to take a GT3-spec Mustang racing at the famous French circuit for 2024.