- Ecurie Ford France reborn for the 2008 Le Mans Classic 24-hours race
- Two newly-restored Ford racers entered and finished the race
- 1923 Ford Model T-Montier Special – the oldest car in the race – finished its grid in 49th position out of 63
- Iconic Ford Capri RS2600 finished in 17th position out of 71 in its grid
- When adjusted for Performance Index, the Capri RS2600 won its grid
Saint-Germain-En-Laye, France, July 17, 2008 – Two historic and newly restored Ford Le Mans racers entered and finished the 2008 Le Mans Classic over the weekend of July 12 and 13, firmly putting the Ecurie Ford France name back on the classic motorsport map.
To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Ford Model T, an original 1923 Model T-Montier Special was newly restored for the event and finished Grid 1 for cars from 1923 to 1939 in 49th position.
The Model T raced against 62 cars and when the results were adjusted against the Performance Index, the Montier Special finished 56th. The T-Montier, the oldest car entered in the 2008 Classic, was driven by a team of three specialist automotive journalists – Pascal Martin and Etienne Bruet from France, and Robert Coucher from Britain.
After a similarly painstaking restoration, the 1973 Capri RS2600, which originally competed in the 1974 Le Mans 24 Hours but failed to finish, was also driven successfully in the 2008 Classic by a team of three. The team was led by Jean-Louis Schlesser, famous as a driver in a variety of motorsport events including the World Endurance Championship and Rallye-Raid. The other drivers were automotive journalists Yves Bey Rosset from France, and John Barker from Britain.
The Ford Capri RS2600 with its V6 engine developing almost 400 HP was a major player in touring car races in the early 1970s and still looks stylish and dynamic. The Ecurie Ford France car was entered into Grid 6 for Le Mans cars from 1972 to 1979. In absolute terms, the car finished 17th out of 71 entries, but when adjusted for the Performance Index, the Capri finished first overall in its Grid.
“We are very proud of the two teams that competed in the 2008 Le Mans Classic under the Ecurie Ford France banner, and even more delighted that both cars completed the race,” said John Fleming, President and CEO, Ford of Europe. “It was an amazing effort by the people who restored the vehicles so beautifully, and by the teams and drivers who took on the challenge of competing in this unique event.”
Celebrating the Model T Centenary
2008 is the one hundredth birthday of the Ford Model T, the car that put the world on wheels.
Without the Model T, the car and motoring would never have enjoyed such phenomenal growth in the early 20th century. Over fifteen million Model Ts were produced using methods which were revolutionary for the time. It was the first people’s car – a “low cost” vehicle before its time, born from the determination of a visionary, Henry Ford.
The founder of the modern automobile industry, Ford was also a pioneer in motorsport, a symbol of the dynamism of an enterprise and the engine of technological development.
Ford as a company has never lost its passion for competition. So to celebrate the centenary of the “Car of the 20th century”, Ford entered the superbly restored T-Montier in the fourth Le Mans Classic 24 Hours race.
This significant car took part in the very first Le Mans 24 Hours race in 1923 and takes its name from the man who entered it – Charles Montier. Never before has such an old car participated in this prestigious biennial meeting of Le Mans Classic.
Ford and the Le Mans Classic
Ford’s participation in the 2008 Le Mans Classic enhances the partnership the company has had with the event since 2004.
Ford France was the official sponsor of Grid 5 which features cars manufactured between 1966 and 1971. This grid included a number of significant Ford vehicles including original Ford GT40s – the second and third placed cars from the trio of GT40s that crossed the finish line together in the legendary 1966 race – and Mustangs.
Over 80,000 spectators attended the 2008 Le Mans Classic to see around 400 competition cars race with 1000 drivers. Additionally, over 6500 private classic cars belonging to clubs were displayed around the Le Mans circuit.