The Ford GTs of Robertson Racing
When thinking of the 24 Heures du Mans that takes place at the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe, Gainesville, Georgia is not the first place that comes to mind. Even though Georgia may conjure associations with the Petit Lemans, a 12-hour enduro that takes place in the fall of each year at Road Atlanta, the storied French endurance event and metro-Atlanta aren't exactly synonymous. Those who fail to make the association between Mulsanne and Gainesville Highway are overlooking a crucial part of Ford's GT racing history, as this is where you will find the current home of Robertson Racing.
Started by auto lovers David and Andrea Robertson who recruited Andrew “H” Smith to chief, the team began humbly towards the end of 2006 with a Panoz Esperante and a desire to run in the ALMS series. By mid-2007, the team had decided that the Esperante, while a capable platform, wouldn't be able to take them where they wanted to go. A search for new chassis began, and the Robertsons got connected with Doran Enterprises.
To try to make a quick bit of a very long history short: Oliver Cutner had raced Daytona Prototype (DP) in the past with Kevin Doran, of Doran Enterprises. These two decided the Ford GT would make a superb GT racing platform, and Doran worked to homologate the chassis for FIA competition and put pen to paper engineering the car.
The Robertsons decided that they, too, were interested in GT'ing the GT, and ordered a chassis in September, 2007 from Doran. When January, 2008 began, the car was still unfinished. With only a few months until it needed to be on track, on January 6, 2008, H started work on the essentially bare chassis, numbered 002. From the bare car pictured here, everything had to be completed. H took what Doran had provided and ran with it, engineering, overseeing, and, in some cases, re-engineering just about everything on the 1,245kg (2,745lb) car – composite body work, suspension, electronics, and more.
Just eight weeks later, on March 15, 2008, Robertson Racing debuted their first Ford GT at the 12 Hours of Sebring. To say that the Robertson's car was “finished” at that point would be a tremendous understatement. Despite failing to complete that first 12-hour event due to a minor crash, the course of history was set for Robertson and the Fords.
The remainder of the 2008 and entirety of the 2009 seasons were generally uneventful. The team continued to develop the cars and enjoyed success and defeat. However, in January, 2010 during testing at Sebring, the Robertsons had a crash that resulted in severe damage to one of the rear chassis castings. Afraid that they would not be able to repair the car, H and the Robertsons again called on Doran for another chassis, which ended up being numbered 004.