Poster 4 of 10: Ford welcomed back to CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa with latest collector’s edition poster

Poster 4 of 10: Ford welcomed back to CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa with latest collector’s edition poster
  • Fourth of 10 collector's edition posters celebrating centenary CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa
  • Ford Mustang GT3 marks return for brand that played a major role in the seventies and eighties
  • Contemporary machine shown alongside 1980 Ford Capri in tribute to the Martin brothers

With two months remaining before track activity gets underway in the Ardennes, SRO Motorsports Group has unveiled the fourth of 10 collector's edition posters celebrating the centenary CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa. The latest work produced by artist Guillaume Lopez highlights one of this season’s major talking points: the return of Ford. 

It has been 12 years since the Blue Oval’s most recent appearance with a Mustang, run by Belgian squad VDS Racing Adventures, in 2012. The American manufacturer returns this year with its all-new Ford Mustang GT3, which is based on the “Dark Horse” road version. The timing is perfect: while the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa celebrates its 100th anniversary, the legendary model also marks a milestone of its own, having first arrived on the market in 1964.

The poster has been adapted for the occasion with special text and a “Mustang 60 Celebration” logo. This event will take place thanks to Ford Belgium-Luxembourg, with hundreds of Mustangs from all generations gathering on Saturday June 29 in the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa Fan Village.

Ford will also exhibit its new and highly exclusive Mustang GTD – an 800-horsepower road-going supercar – in the paddock, while the new Mustang GT4 will be present in the GT4 European Series powered by RAFA Racing Club. In short, the 60th anniversary of the legendary Pony Car will be celebrated in style.

Impressive both in terms of looks and sound, the latter thanks to its 5.4-litre V8 engine, the new Ford Mustang GT3 has been an instant hit among fans since making its Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS debut last month. It finished in the points at Circuit Paul Ricard, but can the single-car Proton Competition entry secure Ford a seventh victory in the Ardennes this summer?

The Detroit giant has a long and storied history at the Belgian endurance classic. Indeed, as early as 1932, the Ford Model A was already on the entry list. But it was from 1964, when the 24 Hours resumed after an 11-year hiatus, that Ford became a major player, represented by legendary models such as the Cortina Lotus, the Mustang, the Escort, the Capri and a range of Sierras. As such Ford will be very well represented in the Heritage Touring Cup race, which will be staged before the 24 Hours with a grid featuring touring cars from the sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties. 

But let’s return to the history of Ford at the 24 Hours. In 1966, a Mustang finished in the top-five for the first time, setting the fastest lap of the race for good measure. The following year, Jacky Ickx started from pole position thanks to an average lap of 193 km/h at the wheel of his Mustang. When the chequered flag fell, Franco-Belgian duo Guy Chasseuil and Georges Bossuyt secured the brand its first podium with a third place. It was even better in 1968, when “Eldé” (aka Léon Dernier) and Yves Deprez finished in runner-up spot. 

Ultimately, it was not the Mustang that gave the Blue Oval its maiden victory in the Ardennes, but the Capri. From 1971 onwards, the 24 Hours became the scene of a duel between Ford and BMW. The Capri 2600 RS won in 1971 and 1972. In the latter, Jochen Mass and Hans-Joachim Stuck covered a record 4,498 km in 24 hours, averaging 187 km/h with pit stops included. This has never been bettered since.

In 1978, the Ford Capri Mk III had the distinction of taking the last victory on the old 14 km track (with Gordon Spice and Teddy Pilette sharing the wheel), then secured the first win on the new circuit thanks to Philippe and Jean-Michel Martin. A year later, the Brussels-born brothers repeated the feat and wrote their names in history as the only back-to-back winners. It is for this reason that their 1980 Ford Capri appears on the collector's edition poster. 

At the end of the eighties, the fight between Ford and BMW resumed with the Ford RS500 going up against the BMW M3. In 1989, the American brand won its sixth and final victory to date. Ford is yet to triumph during the GT era, despite the efforts of Matech Racing (which won its category in 2009 with a Ford GT) and Marc VDS. So, will 2024 signal the end of a 35-year of wait?

Copyrights : Gérard T'Serstevens & SRO Motorsports Group

Did you know? 

Though not officially represented, Ford was present at the very first edition of the 24 Hours in 1924. The cars entered under the Speedsport name were in fact Ford Model Ts modified by Baertsoen et Bonar. Notably, the Brussels company adapted the cylinder head (which now had 16 valves), placed brakes at the front, and lowered the ride height. Taking the wheel themselves, Messrs Baertsoen and Bonar placed sixth overall and won the 3-litre category.

N.B. To respond to demand from fans, the collector’s edition posters for the centenary CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa are now on sale via the event’s official online store. Each of the 10 posters will also be available to purchase at merchandising stands during race week at Spa-Francorchamps.

Official Store : HERE