A strategic call has given Ford Chip Ganassi Racing its first-ever win with the new Ford GT GTLM racecar in the WeatherTech IMSA United Sportscar Championship.
Richard Westbrook piloted the No. 67 Ford GT across the finish line first in Sunday’s Monterey Grand Prix after an intense final 10 minutes of racing. The No. 67 GT started from the front row thanks to Ryan Briscoe’s handy work in qualifying Sunday, which set it up nicely for the win, but the victory was far from easy for the Ford CGR camp.
Westbrook was to thank for the win, carefully saving fuel throughout a 50-lap stint in order to skip a pit stop and take the lead. Teammate Joey Hand in the No. 66 Ford GT had tried to do the same, but wasn’t careful enough with the throttle and was forced to pit before the checkered flag. Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R tried to stay out on one tank of fuel as well but was also forced to pit before the race’s end.
Crossing the finish line 12.545 seconds after Westbrook was the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 of Alessandro Pier Guidi, which started from pole. Frederic Makowiecki finished third in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR, a result the Frenchman may have been able to improve upon had it not been for an off-track moment from teammate Earl Bamber earlier on in the race. The No. 66 Ford GT crossed the finish line sixth in class, behind the No. 3 C7.R in fourth and the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 of Giancarlo Fisichella in fifth.
Ford won’t participate in the next race of the IMSA season, the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, as the GTLM class does not participate in the event. They will instead be in France preparing for the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, where Ford and CGR have planned a four-car assault on the FIA WEC’s GTE Pro class.