American cars have always fascinated crowds at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and this year was no exception. The LMGTE Pro class produced a spectacular tussle between Ford, Corvette and British team Aston Martin.
In the last few minutes of the 85th Le Mans 24 Hours, the head-to-head between the #64 Corvette of Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Jordan Taylor and the #97 Aston Martin Vantage of Jonny Adam, Daniel Serra and Darren Turner became a three-man battle when the #67 Ford GT of Pipo Derani, Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell crept up on them.
In the penultimate lap, Taylor yielded to Adam’s pressure. Tension peaked when the American subsequently suffered a puncture and conceded second place to the Ford GT. Having battled down to the line for the LMGTE Pro crown, Corvette finally waved goodbye to a twelfth win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The marque also had a chance in LMGTE Am, starting the race in front thanks to Larbre Compétition’s qualifying time, but the French team finished in fifteenth place.
Ford’s consistency throughout the season meant the team was still in the running for the world title going into the last round in Bahrain. Silverstone winners Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx left Le Mans as GT championship leaders and celebrated a subsequent win at the 6 Hours of Shanghai. However, retirement at Fuji pulled them up short in the race for the world title. The British pair finished third in Bahrain, ending up 10.5 points behind world champions Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado (AF Corse - Ferrari). In the manufacturer’s championship, Ford had to settle for second place behind Ferrari.
Photo: After a triumphant comeback in 2016, the Ford GT returned to the podium this year, with a third-place finish for Harry Tincknell, Andy Priaulx and Pipo Derani.