I made a sporting decision to join the Blue Oval, which has an enviable record in global motorsport, for its return to the world stage after a long time with BMW. As soon as I heard about the plans, saw pics of the car and recalled the history, I knew it was serious. It’s a huge thrill to be part of this, especially in the 50th anniversary of the first of four consecutive Le Mans wins. To be following in the footsteps – or trying to – of Chris Amon, Bruce McLaren, AJ Foyt, Dan Gurney, Pedro Rodriguez, Lucien Bianchi, Jacky Ickx and Jackie Oliver is incredible.
After hearing it was happening I got on the phone to George Howard-Chappell, who’s guided Ferrari and Aston Martin to Le Mans glory, and the deal was done pretty quickly. Getting incredible feedback from old mates Dirk Muller and Joey Hand, who are also part of the Ford programme, also made a big difference.
The GT class is so competitive now. People are really getting behind it and the thought of Ford going up against Ferrari at Le Mans is creating so much interest. And that’s really exciting for a driver. I feel the passion and the commitment to make this work. There are no compromises; whatever’s needed to be done is getting done. And the atmosphere in the team is superb. It’s a real family team. Funnily enough, I watched a Netflix documentary on Henry Ford the other day, and he gave off the same vibes: a real family guy. And that’s measured in the loyalty at Ford. A lot of the guys have been there a long time.