BIRMINGHAM – Marino Franchitti is relishing the chance to battle with Porsche, Aston Martin and Ferrari in the GTE Pro class of the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2016 following Ford’s entry to the series.
50 years on from its famous victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Ford GT will return to the Circuit de la Sarthe this June in partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing as part of a dual effort in both the WEC and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Franchitti is joined in the two-car WEC effort by Andy Priaulx, Olivier Pla and Stefan Mücke, and was present at the Autosport International show in Birmingham, England this week alongside the sleek Ford GT.
The GTE Pro class of the WEC has proven to be one of the closest-fought in recent years as Aston Martin Racing, AF Corse and Porsche Team Manthey have battled for top honors.
Franchitti believes that Ford can immediately join this fight with its new car, and believes that it will offer some incredible racing between the four manufacturer teams.
“We’re going against some legendary opposition, Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin. It’s the things of dreams,” Franchitti said.
“It’s going to be a dogfight, every single lap, every single race – especially at Le Mans in June. Very excited to be a part of that having watched the WEC for the past couple of years, especially the GT class, with Ford coming in and making it four.
“Obviously Porsche and Aston have their last generation cars updated, the Ferrari is all-new as we are, so it’s going to be very interesting to see how it all plays out. I think it’s just going to be wheel to wheel for every single lap of racing.”
Franchitti has already tested the Ford GT ahead of the new season, and said that he immediately felt at ease with the car.
“I’m just desperate to get back in it, sitting here looking at it. This is the car I’ve done all the testing in so far, over the second half of last year,” Franchitti said.
“Sometimes with cars it takes a little bit to get used to them, but this car it was an instant connection. Love the way the balance works and the work that Multmatics and Ford and Chip Ganassi Racing have done. They’ve produced a really nice car out of the box.
“We’re very lucky in WEC having the two races in the States beforehand. We’ll have a lot of knowledge to take with us to Silverstone and hopefully be battling at the front from the word go.”