Marino Franchitti will race with Ford Chip Ganassi Racing this year as part of their FIA WEC Ford GT squad. Franchitti was left without a full-time seat in 2014 and 2015, so he’s ecstatic to be back racing this year, the 37-year old Scottish born racer told Sportscar365 in a recent interview.
“It was a struggle. It’s been hard,” Franchitti said of the last two years. “2014 we won Sebring and hoped things were going to take off from there. But there wasn’t any opportunities. I’d have to say that the last couple of years, there was a couple of things I turned down, knowing this program was coming online and basically going for it.”
Franchitti was involved with the development of the Ford GT racecar in North America and was there to see the IMSA team come together, which has already competed in two races this year. He said that despite one squad racing in IMSA and the other in the FIA WEC, the dynamic within the two is very similar.
“It’s interesting because there’s still a core there that I was involved with in testing last year [in the U.S.] from a Multimatic standpoint. Then there’s just this massive team built up around it,” he said. “The thing for me, the first [UK] shakedown, driving both cars, and both doing the same thing and feeling the same. The guys had been working day and night to build these cars and they were perfect from the word go.
“I love developing cars but to also be involved on the team side, and watching them build the team, is really interesting,” Franchitti added. “You watch it all gel together. It’s an exciting thing to be a part of.”
Ford and Franchitti are optimistic about their goals in the FIA WEC for 2016. He knows that going out and winning races in their first season with a new car and new team is hardly feasible, but they are still going to shoot for the moon.
“I think the first thing is to get to Silverstone and go racing as a team… To be competitive, execute well. That’s the number one goal.
“Second is to go to Le Mans and try to win it and do the best we can. After that, it’s just to be in the hunt for wins as much as we can be.”
Franchitti and the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing squad will participate in their first FIA WEC race later this month at the 2016 12 Hours of Silverstone in the United Kingdom.