In its first racing season, the Ford GT has helped Chip Ganassi Racing take the fight to established GT Le Mans manufacturers like Corvette and Ferrari, with the CGR team locked in a heated battle with Corvette Racing for the 2016 IMSA title.
The GTs enjoyed a strong run earlier this season that began with a win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and continued with consecutive victories at Watkins Glen and Mosport. Those victories helped put them in the GTLM lead, but they now trail the Corvette camp after losing to them at Lime Rock and Road America.
Speaking to NBC, Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull said the team’s early success is perhaps a surprise to IMSA fans, but they had a feeling going into the season they had what it took to be competitive.
“I’m not sure if people expected us to have early success or not. But we’ve practiced doing new things for a while,” Hull said. “This is how people pull together in our building to get the most from our product.”
Not surprisingly, Hull said they learned the proper way to race in GTLM from looking at the Corvette team, who had immense success in the now defunct American Le Mans Series and has been extremely competitive in IMSA WeatherTech competition as well.
“I would give a lot of credit to the Corvette Racing team,” Hull said. “Just like when we came into IRL from CART, we studied the best people in the category. You watch how they race, how they practice, qualify, and what is their racecraft. At this point I don’t know if we’re a mirror image, but I have high respect for how they manage their process.”
The homegrown battle between Ford and Corvette will continue when IMSA heads to Virginia International Raceway for the Michelin GT Challenge.