Ganassi, ford bankinG on the future
The nascent Ford GT race program
kicked into high gear in October as Chip
Ganassi Racing finally got its hands on
one of the Multimatic-built GT3 cars for
a test at Daytona. Although no times
were revealed, the team came away
enthusiastic about its prospects.
The mid-engine car, powered by Ford’s
twin-turbo V6 EcoBoost powerplant, was
driven by CGR’s Joey Hand and Scott
Pruett on the circuit where the Blue Oval
will make its official return to GT
competition on Jan. 30-31 in the Rolex
While Formula 1 and the FIA World
Endurance Championship might have
issues with a paucity of winners,
IMSA certainly managed to keep the
unpredictability pot boiling this year.
But even the TUDOR United SportsCar
Championship saved its biggest surprise
for last at Petit Le Mans, with an assist
from Hurricane Joaquin’s moist tentacles.
Mechanical grip and the more
advanced wet-weather rubber used in the
GT Le Mans class allowed the Michelin-
shod cars to match or exceed the pace of
the Prototype front-runners in a
rain-soaked Road Atlanta finale that was
shortened due to the brutal conditions.
Nick Tandy, in the lead Porsche 911
RSR for what turned out to be the final
stint, chased down Action Express Racing’s
Eric Curran in the No. 31 Corvette DP and
passed him for first place just nine minutes
before a final caution, followed by an
early checkered flag in the deteriorating
conditions, cemented the historic overall
win by a GT car at Petit Le Mans.
Tandy also took the overall win at the
24 Hours of Le Mans in June, driving an
LMP1 Porsche 919 Hybrid.
Talk about winning for losing, though:
Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi won
the Prototype class and retained their title
after an ill-timed pit stop by their teammates
in the No. 31. Although they could not
have known it at the time, the team called
Curran in from the class lead for a driver
change just as the final yellow flew.
“It was a stroke of luck,” said Fittipaldi.
“But, that’s racing.” Or, at least, it’s
endurance racing IMSA style. In the rain.
24 at Daytona. Ganassi will field just one
GT at the Rolex 24, although it may also
run one of its Daytona Prototypes there
– which might appeal to longtime Ganassi
stalwart Scott Pruett as he chases a
historic record in the endurance classic.
“I’ve been tied [with Hurley Haywood]
on overall wins at Daytona with five, and
my mission is to make that six and hold
the record all by myself,” said the
55-year-old Pruett. “The chance to own
an amazing record like that is something
you can’t let pass you by.”
Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler claimed
the GT Daytona title with Scuderia Corsa’s
Ferrari 458 at PLM, but the duo are tipped
to switch to a new Lamborghini Huracan
GT3 with O’Gara Motorsports for 2016.
A win at Sebring in
class title defense.
Porsche North America’s GT team lights up
a storm-darkened IMSA season-closer
at petit le mans
The right conditions, car, drivers
and tires made Porsche’s 911
GT RSR the overall winner at
the 2015 Petit Le Mans.
“The GT sits really low; you feel
like you’re driving a DP car,”
said an enthusiastic Joey Hand.
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