Chip Ganassi Racing and Ford are logging the development miles on their new Ford GT racecar at a variety of tracks in preparation for the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech United Sportscar Championship. Racer recently spoke to CGR about the car, with the team telling the publication all about its rigorous development processes.
CGR managing director Mike Hull says one of the keys to the team’s development is being upfront and honest about issues with the car. After each day of testing, CGR and Ford, along with suppliers, sit down and discuss areas of weakness in the car and where they can improve. While this approach may be a bit confrontational at times, it’s essential to delivering a car that can run at the front of the pack.
“There’s no room really for gamesmanship when you’re trying to figure out how to create durability and how to create speed,” Hull told Racer. “It can be the smallest thing. Say a mechanic fixes something that he finds on the car, but if he doesn’t tell his crew chief, and his crew chief doesn’t tell the engineer, then the engineer doesn’t tell the parallel engineer on the other car, and the next thing you know, that little problem isn’t addressed across all the cars and we jeopardize ourselves when it’s time to go race.”
“If we have a problem in the transmission, as an example – or what we think may be a problem inside the transmission – we speak up, even if it’s uncomfortable,” he added. “Because if it happens once, it will happen again. You have to create a system of unselfish checks and balances.”
Another key factor in the GT racecars development is CGR and Ford’s partnership with French tire supplier Michelin. IMSA’s open-tire GTLM class allows for teams to work with tire manufacturers on new compounds, and so far, the team is very happy with their Michelin tie-in.
“I’m not putting out a press release here when I say what I’m going to say, but it’s been fantastic,” Hull said. “You know, they have different compound tires for us, they go through the mix of tires, what they think will work best, what they don’t think will work. They are great because they have a very open mind, and they don’t tell you what you should do; they tell you what your options are.”