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New GT gives Ford a chance at Le Mans victory

Ford introduced the its new GT supercar at this year's Detroit auto show to great fanfare, and today Ford revealed the model would participate in next year's Le Mans GTE Pro class.

Ford GT - FIA World Endurance Championship
Chip Ganassi Racing will enter the Ford GT in the FIA World Endurance Championship series next year, which includes the GTE Pro race at Le Mans. Ford

To kick off the 24 Hours of Le Mans weekend, Ford announced it would return to the race in 2016 with its new GT model , first unveiled this year at the Detroit auto show. The Ford GT is a carbon-fiber supercar showing off Ford's performance technologies, such as its 600-horsepower twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine.

The Le Mans effort will be conducted by Chip Ganassi Racing, fielding two teams with a total for four cars. Drivers will be announced later.

The inspiration for the Ford GT, the GT40, dominated the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race in the late '60s, and Ford marks the 50th anniversary of its first win, in 1966, with the 2016 entry. However, the new GT won't compete in the vaunted LMP class, currently owned by Audi with its R18 diesel hybrids. It will see action in the GTE Pro series, won by Ferrari 458 Italias the last couple of years. The GTE Pro series is designed for race-prepped production cars.

A US audience will get to see the Ford GT's debut in January of next year in Daytona, the beginning of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Ford noted in a press release that Ganassi will run its teams for the full series of the FIA World Endurance Championship, which includes Le Mans, and the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championsip, which includes the Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance race.

Ford GT - FIA World Endurance Championship
The production version of the Ford GT was unveiled in Detroit earlier this year. Ford