jeudi 6 avril 2017
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing ready for Long Beach Grand Prix
There were 1,440 minutes of racing at the Rolex 24 At Daytona – and another 720 at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Now Ford Chip Ganassi Racing will have just 100 minutes in which to win at the ultimate sprint on the streets of Southern California, the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach.
After one win and a p2 finish at the pair of season-opening endurance races, the Ford squad has momentum and is ready to redeem itself from p4 (No. 67 Ford GT) and p8 (No. 66 Ford GT) finishes on the scenic street course last year, where the car showed speed.
“I love Long Beach,” said Dirk Müller, driver of the No. 66 Ford GT. “Long Beach is a highlight of the season for me. I really love driving street courses and I know (co-driver) Joey (Hand) does as well. Both of us are feeling really confident right now. Our Ford GT was really quick there last year and I’m pretty sure we’ll be in the mix this year as well.”
In 2016, Müller walked away with the quick lap of the race in GTLM on the circuit where Ford Chip Ganassi Racing won in prototype in 2014 and scored a second-place podium spot in 2015 with Hand behind the wheel. Ford’s history with the Long Beach Grand Prix stretches back to the 1970s, when the manufacturer was involved with F1.
This year, the Grand Touring Daytona category has been added to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race, which could result in a changed strategy, Müller said.
“It’s going to be a different race,” Müller said. “Last year, it was pretty much a flat-out race. This year, I think tactics will play a bigger role, like when you plan to do the one pit stop you need, but we rely on our Ford Chip Ganassi Racing crew to make those decisions. They know how to do it. You need to perform really well at everything, since it is such a short race. Expectations are really high for all of us. Everything needs to be done perfectly. It’s a challenging weekend with little prep time at the track, but I really love it. I’m looking forward to it already.”
For the Californian Hand, the race is a homecoming second only to the series’ stop at Laguna Seca. He’ll have friends and family at the track to watch.
“For me, Long Beach is one of my favorite venues. When you go street racing, it’s a whole different vibe,” Hand said. “When you take racing to the people, you get so many different types of fans, especially since it’s in Southern California. It’s always a race I want to win. You want to win every race, but this one, it’s a special one. I have family and friends coming, so it’ll be a good time.”
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing has had a great start to the WeatherTech season, with wins in GTLM at the Rolex 24 and a runner-up finish at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Ford Press Release