Skip navigation

– Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team claims runner up position in teams’ championship, the ‘FIA Endurance Trophy for LM GTE Pro Teams’.
– Fourth and sixth place in season finale unrepresentative of true race performance of the team and the Ford GTford-bahrain16a

The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team finished the ‘Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain’ in fourth and sixth positions after a tough fight to the finish of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship.  The team claimed the runner up spot in the team’s championship despite a somewhat disappointing ending to what has been an incredible debut season for the Ford GT.

ford-bahrain16c“Both Ford GTs ran faultlessly today,” said WEC Team Principal, George Howard-Chappell. “The team and the drivers did a great job but coming here with 20 kilos of extra weight and nearly a 4% cut in power we were always going to struggle.”

After back-to-back victories in the previous two races in Japan and China, the Ford GTs were hit with a Balance of Performance adjustment before Bahrain. Despite this they managed to qualify on the second and third rows of the grid for Saturday’s season-closing race.

The #67 and #66 Ford GTs ran in fourth and sixth positions throughout most of the six-hour race. Andy Priaulx (GB) and Harry Tincknell (GB) made it into a podium position but were ultimately beaten by one of the Ferraris.

“It was a tough one for us today,” said Priaulx. “I had a really difficult middle stint as I had a big fight with the Ferrari but I couldn’t hold it back as they just had a lot more pace today than we expected. Ultimately I think we took the maximum out of this event, not making a single mistake and leaving nothing on the table. Today though we drove with a blunt sword as we were heavy and slow because of the BoP. I want to say that it has been a great season and I am delighted with where we are now and how far we have come since the start of the year. We’re a solid unit now, a proper race team. I am very happy with the way we have all developed as a team and I have a lot of optimism for the future.”

“It would have been nice to finish on the podium but in reality we knew it was going to be tough fight all the way,” said Tincknell.  “We took it to Ferrari for the majority of the race but in the last two stints they upped their level again and unfortunately we couldn’t stay with them. I think I got the most out of the car and could be consistent, making no mistakes for three hours. It was long hard race and we were pushing 110% to try and overcome the performance adjustments but in reality it was never going to happen.

ford-bahrain16d“Overall for the season I’m really happy we’re runners up in the teams’ championship with the #67 car,” Tincknell continued.  “We had a tough Le Mans, we all know that, but since then we have come out fighting and we were then kicked when we were down at Nürburgring with the fire when we were doing well but since then we have made great progress.  To get the two wins on the bounce in the Asian part of the championship was awesome. We took the wins when they came and we took the rough parts as well when they came so overall we’re happy. I think we’ll look back at this season and remember those two wins very fondly.”

Starting from sixth place after running a different strategy in qualifying, Stefan Mücke (GER) and Olivier Pla (FRA) had a mountain to climb during the Bahrain race.

“That wasn’t the season end we wanted to have,” said Mücke. “We knew with the BoP change that it would be a tough weekend for us and it was indeed a very tough race. We had to do an extra stop during the full course yellow due to a tyre issue, which cost us a lot of time. Otherwise we could have been behind the #67 car. We tried as hard as we could but there just wasn’t any more in our pocket and it’s a shame. I have to say thanks to the team as they did a great job this year, becoming a winning team out of nothing. I am proud of the whole team and I really can’t wait to start next season.”

“Overall we were disappointed with today,” said Pla. “My first stint was good but then there was a problem with my second set of tyres so we need to understand what happened there as there was nothing we could do after that. We had a difficult start to the season in the #66 car but we started as a brand new team and we made progress with every race and test we did together. I really like this team and we have a strong team spirit now. Le Mans was a shame for us as we had the speed to really do something but it wasn’t to be. The season really started for us at Fuji when we took pole position and the 1-2 finish. We were a little unlucky in Shanghai when we got a puncture but that’s racing. I feel very happy to be working with these guys and I think next season will be good.”

The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team has enjoyed a strong debut season in the FIA World Endurance Championship, experiencing all the highs and lows of world-class sportscar racing. From the thrills and spills of the early season races as Silverstone and Spa to the domination of the winner’s rostrum in both Japan and China, the new team has taken a new car and achieved great things in year one of what is now a four-year race programme.

ford-bahrain16b“It has been a hugely successful year both for the Ford GT and for the teams on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Larry Holt, Vice-President of Multimatic, the constructor of the Ford GT race cars. “On the WEC side it was only just over one year ago that we got ourselves a building and bought our first toolbox and now we are a race-winning team. You have to do these things one step at a time and the first job is to make the car reliable. At the beginning of the year we were struggling a bit with reliability and also the pit stops and we are now strong in both of those areas. We expect the cars to run for six hours trouble-free and they do. That’s a testament to the mechanics, the engineers and the management of this team.

“Over on the U.S. side you load the cars on the trailer at the end of the race and go back and work on the cars at your home shop and you get to go home every night.  These guys have to pack everything into sea containers and you see it two or three weeks later and you have a couple of days to work on your cars before the next race. It’s a huge pressure, they’re all travelling all over the world and I have to say I am blown away by the talent, dedication and commitment that they have shown, all led by George (Howard-Chappell).

“The development of the team, the cars and the people has met all of my expectations.  The feeling is tempered by today’s result as we struggled for no reason other than the Balance of Performance. I don’t want to use it as an excuse but we had a couple of great races, got hit hard and just couldn’t compete today. It’s disappointing that it swung the pendulum so far the other way but other than that disappointment today I’m hugely satisfied, happy and proud of this team.”

%d bloggers like this: