Credit: Photo Copyright 2023 European Le Mans Series / FocusPackMedia – Harry Parvin
Ryan Hardwick has been confirmed as a driver for Proton Competition’s 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship campaign in the LMGT3 category, where they will field two new Ford Mustang GT3s.
Proton Competition has confirmed two of their six drivers who will represent them in the WEC next year, Hardwick and Britain’s Ben Barker.
Running the #77 and #88 numbers, the team makes their switch from Porsche GTE machinery to the highly anticipated Ford Mustang GT3 developed with Multimatic.
Hardwick, the 2023 European Le Mans Series GTE champion, said: “As an American driver, it is an absolute honor to race at the highest level of the sport in a Ford.
“I have been Ford man all my life. My Father owned a 1969 Mustang Mach 1, and my very first car was a 1995 Mustang GT with a 5.0L V8.
“Like so many other Ford fans, I have been captivated by their success at Le Mans in the lates 1960’s and also their return 50 years later to win yet again in 2016.
“To have the opportunity to race at Le Mans in a Mustang is a dream come true for me.
“I’m also very excited to be returning to Proton Competition where together we won the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) GTE championship last season.
“Combined with Ford and the new Mustang GT3, I feel that we have the right combination to challenge for a world championship in 2024.”
The new Ford Mustang GT3 – Credit: Drew Gibson
Hardwick made his WEC debut this year in Porsche 911 GTE RSR machinery, with Le Mans completed in the #16 entrant from the ELMS and the other two in the #88 WEC car.
His best WEC result was at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, after he claimed fourth place with teammates Zacharie Robichon and Harry Tincknell.
Much of his time with Proton was during his debut ELMS season earlier this year which included two GTE class victories, one at the 4 Hours of Barcelona season-opener, and the other at the 4 Hours of Portimao finale.
As a result of all but one race featuring a podium appearance, the #16 entrant secured the final ELMS GTE championship title as Alessio Picariello joined Robichon and Hardwick on the achievement.
Hardwick will run in the #88 Ford Mustang GT3, as Barker has been enlisted in the #77, carrying seven WEC season’s worth of experience into the team having claimed a Le Mans 24 Hours podium at the Centenary race.
With four remaining seats across both LMGT3 entries, Proton will confirm more drivers in due course.
Keyword: Hardwick confirmed by Proton ahead of maiden Mustang LMGT3 campaign