The first competition outing for the Ford GT could have gone better. Both the No. 66 and No. 67 cars experienced teething issues throughout the race, causing them to lose laps and finish in 7th and 9th in GTLM, respectively.
The problems arrived almost right away, with both cars suffering early issues related to their transmissions and electronics and braking systems. Joey Hand managed to put the No. 66 in the lead on lap 13 and then again on Lap 43, however a faulty transmission forced the Chip Ganassi Racing team to then sideline the car in order to perform a time-consuming gearbox swap.
Not long after, the No. 67 Ford GT experienced an identical issue and was brought behind the wall for repairs. The CGR/Ford squad worked hard to repair the cars and eventually got them back out to finish the race – which is the most important part of a 24 hour race when competing with an all-new car like the GT.
“It’s a brand new program, so we didn’t expect to run trouble-free, but at the end of the day, the car showed some pace and we’ve been able to reach the checkered flag,” said Sébastien Bourdais, driver of the No. 66 car. “There’s been a few issues, but one that’s been happening a few times which obviously took us out of contention. That had never happened before. We will just try to understand and fix it and come back stronger.”
Ford Group vice president Raj Nair told Top Gear that his team was poring over information at Daytona that could potentially help them improve on reliability and be more competitive at Sebring. Scoring a podium there would be a good way for the Ford GT team to redeem itself after Daytona, but even that is a tall order for an all-new car.
“The guys are on the trailer right now, checking parts, and we were working on data during the race,” Nair said. “The one thing we can’t buy is time. We’ve got a great bunch of guys: everyone is positive and it looks like we’ve got something here. But at the same time, you don’t win races in the garage. We’ve got to get the reliability fixed.”
Click here for full results from the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
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