I'm ready at Le Mans for the weekend of the year, much earlier than ever before and safe after the usual media accreditation scramble.

I've landed in the Ford paddock, which is arguably the best perch of the weekend given that this is the 50th anniversary of the marque's famous 1-2-3 victory, and the company is sparing no effort to win again with its brand new team.

Every Ford executive who's anyone has arrived or is due to be here - and that means big boss Mark Fields and global product development boss Raj Nair, plus half of the Ford family, including a bloke with the extraordinary handle of Henry Ford III, which must be quite a load to carry through life. It seems he's pretty good with the speeches and has already inspired the drivers with talk of the enormous significance of a good performance to the company.

Ford GT order books close for first 500 models

Within minutes of stepping through the door I encounter Scottish driver Marino Franchitti and ask the cheesiest question of the day: "How does it feel to be about to drive such a significant car at such a significant event, carrying the hopes of tens of thousands, and with thunder clouds gathering and parts of the track already sodden?" 

"If you minded a bit of rain you wouldn't be Scottish," he says calmly. "And anyway, you get into this business to take responsibility and to test yourself against the best. Our car and the Ferrari (488) are the only new cars in the class. We have very good equipment and we're ready."

A minute later global technical chief Raj Nair comes through. "You must be pleased," say I, "given that in first qualifying yesterday the Fords are filling four of the first five places." He looks at me as if I'm mad. "We don't do pleased," he says, noting there are two more qualifying sessions to go, including one at night. "Let's just say we're not completely unhappy."