In a door-to-door battle of manufacturers through the full 24-hours, the #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT crew of Andy Prialux, Harry Tincknell and Pipo Derani, that won the FIA World Endurance Championship season-opener at Silverstone, proved their mettle once again with strong strategy and an incredible effort from the entire team.
The #67 crew grabbed the runner-up spot in the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours at the end of the final lap. Last lap struggles for the second-placed Corvette gave Tincknell the opportunity to pounce and take the place just as the chequered flag fell over the iconic circuit.
“That was an amazing race,” Priaulx said. “It was a faultless race with faultless pit stops. These guys (the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team) deserve a medal as yet again they have risen to the challenge. It was a gruelling race; we had to fight through every lap, every pit stop, every moment of the 24 hours. Everything had to be perfect and it was. Watching Harry at the end was nail-biting so when we saw the Corvette appear in Harry’s sights we knew he would get the job done and take second.”
All four Ford GTs finished the Le Mans 24 Hours, which was one of the most brutal 24-hour races at the Circuit de la Sarthe for many years. Last year’s race-winning #68 Ford GT came home in sixth place, followed by the #69 car in seventh and the #66 in tenth place.
Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance said. “Wow, what a race. It was a tough one, but everyone stuck with it. This proves that you have to stick with it right until the very end. To take second place on our second time here is amazing. First is always best but we’ll take this because it’s a great result for this team. It was huge for us in the WEC championship so it’s not just a great finish, but it’s also great for the championship we want to win this year.”
Of the two full-time IMSA SportsCar Championship cars (#68 and #69), it was #69 that really showed promise going into race day. It qualified highest among the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs in fifth place and although starting driver Richard Westbrook reported understeer, still appeared to be a podium contender. It wasn’t long, though, before the #69 had to pit to fix a tail lamp issue – a problem that would resurface again the next day and hinder the progress of Westbrook, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon.
The next race for the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team is in two weeks’ time at Watkins Glen in the U.S.