Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ford GTs finished the 2016 12 Hours of Sebring in fifth and eight position in GTLM, however despite the poor result, Ford says there were still numerous positive takeaways from the race for them.
Just as they did at the 2016 24 Hours of Daytona in January, both Ford GTs made it to the end of the 12 hour marathon. The No. 67 Ford GT of Richard Westbrook, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon battled on the lead lap all day and also led a portion of the race. The No. 67 was even on track for a podium finish before it was knocked off track with 10 minutes left in the race.
The No. 66 Ford GT of Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and Sébastien Bourdais had a much tougher time Saturday after it crashed into the tire barriers during heavy downpour. The car suffered major front-end damage and was brought into the garage for repairs. It returned to the track 15 minutes later, six laps down.
“It was tough luck. It was a bummer,” Hand said. “From (Dirk’s accident), we just did what this team does and adapted. When we get into a situation, these guys just know how to make it happen. Luckily we got a red flag after Dirk’s incident, and even though the guys couldn’t work on it (under a red flag), they got a look at it and were able to prepare everything we needed.”
“The cars ran clean, mechanically, so we’re really pleased about that,” added Raj Nair, Ford’s chief technical officer. “We didn’t have any repeat issues from (The Rolex 24 At) Daytona. We’ve got some more things to work on, but the cars ran reliably which at a track like Sebring is quite an accomplishment. On the speed front, both cars had good pace and the No. 67 car led quite a few laps, finished on the lead lap and had a real shot at the podium, so we are also happy that the car has the speed to be competitive.”
The Ford GTs will return to the track for Round 3 of the IMSA WeatherTech Championship on April 16, on the streets on Long Beach, California