A Facebook “memory” popped up onto my timeline today, reminding me of the story I wrote on July 14, 2014 titled “Ford Exploring Factory GTE Program.”
It reminded me, not only how quickly the factory Ford GT program has come together and succeeded on the track, but perhaps how much of a heavily guarded secret it was just 24 months ago, and how I managed to get a sniff of what was to come.
I’m not the kind of person who likes to brag or say, ‘I told you so’ but this is one of the few examples I’m most proud of in my journalism career, in having uncovered one of the biggest modern-day factory GT programs, well ahead of the official announcement.
It came nearly a year before the program’s unveil and six months prior to Ford even taking the wraps off its new Ford GT production car, which took the majority of the automotive industry by surprise at the time.
Ford was no doubt in the sports car racing rumor mill in mid-2014, but most had reported on the possibility of a Mustang-based GTE car, and not an all-new mid-engined super car, effectively a reboot of the Le Mans-winning GT40 from the ’60s.
My sources had indicated to me that an all-new car was in the works, likely turbocharged, which some had doubted at the time. However, I knew the story was true, and while being somewhat speculative, due to Ford’s denials at the time, I published it with confidence.
Two years later, Ford celebrated class victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, on the 50th anniversary of its first win in 1966. Honestly, I don’t think I could have predicted the outcome of the race, especially the pre and post-race controversy.
The only thing that didn’t materialize in my original article from July 2014 was a LMP2 engine supply program, which was planned with Michael Shank Racing in 2015 with its Ligier JS P2, but fell through at the last minute. Sometimes, everything doesn’t go to plan!
Just like the ALMS/Grand-Am merger story I managed to uncover (with the help of Marshall Pruett) in September 2012, it’s these kind of hard-hitting, investigative journalism stories that keeps me going in this sport.