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Ford reveals driver line-up for factory IMSA GTD Pro effort

Ford has announced Dirk Muller, Joey Hand, Mike Rockenfeller and Harry Tincknell as full-season drivers for its factory programme in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTD Pro class next year.

Ford Mustang GT3

Ford Mustang GT3

The announcement comes almost a year after Ford announced grand plans to return to IMSA with Multimatic with two examples of the new-for-2024 Mustang GT3.

Hand and Muller will share one of the two factory Mustangs in GTD Pro next year, reuniting the partnership that took a GTLM win at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2017.

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The pair also helped deliver Ford a GTE Pro class victory on the American manufacturer’s return to the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2016, where they partnered with current Cadillac driver Sebastien Bourdais.

Hand has made a handful of NASCAR Cup appearances since the Ford GT programme came to an end in 2019, while Muller completed several outings in Mercedes GT3 cars in both America and overseas during the same period.

Ford’s second factory entry will be shared by 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Mike Rockenfeller and Multimatic-contracted Harry Tincknell.

Rockenfeller split with Audi at the end of the 2021 DTM season and has since been competing in IMSA’s top category, first with Action Express Racing in 2022 in the Michelin Endurance Cup rounds and currently with Proton Porsche, which joined the championship at Road America with a customer Porsche.

#68 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT: Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, Stéphane Bourdais

#68 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT: Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, Stéphane Bourdais

Photo by: Nikolaz Godet

Tincknell was an obvious choice for Ford given his long history with both the manufacturer and Multimatic, which is also a technical partner in the development of the Mustang GT3.

Tincknell scored four victories for Ford during their three seasons together in WEC between 2016-2019. Outside of Ford, the British driver scored multiple DPi race wins in IMSA with Mazda in a programme that was also managed by Mutlmatic, and is currently racing a customer Porsche for Proton in WEC.

Speaking about the driver line-up, Ford Performance Motorsports’ global director Mark Rushbrook said: “We’re thrilled to embark on this exciting endeavor and to put our 58 years of global Mustang racing heritage and performance to the test against some of the world’s greatest manufacturers.

“We want to welcome Joey and Dirk back to the Ford family after a great few years with the GT program. Combined with Harry’s four wins during the Ford GT program and Mike’s impressive racecraft and résumé, this puts us in a strong starting position in the Mustang GT3’s debut season.”

No announcement was made regarding the extra drivers that will join Ford for the four Michelin Endurance Cup rounds.

Apart from IMSA, Ford is also planning to enter WEC next year via customer squad Proton, subject to gaining an entry from the organisers.

The new Mustang could also appear in the hands of customers in other GT3 races and championships around the world.

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