While the year wasn’t as successful as the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team had hoped, Ford’s supercar did race to one championship this year. After clocking five wins during the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM, the Ford GT racers just needed to finish the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta to take the Manufacturer’s Championship for Ford — and they did so after 10 hours of racing.
Winning the manufacturer’s championship for Ford is a big thing, and it just shows how strong a team we are. — Joey Hand, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing driver
“Winning the GTLM Manufacturer’s Championship is a true testament to how well this Ford GT program has developed in our third year,” Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports, said. “This was by far our best season overall, as evidenced by our five wins from both the No. 66 and the No. 67 cars. Between the efforts of our engineers, the superb racecraft from Ford Chip Ganassi Racing and its drivers, and the efforts of our partners at Michelin, Roush Yates Engines and Multimatic, there has been a single focus amongst everyone this year to win a championship. I am so pleased we can bring that trophy back to share with our Ford employees around the world.”
The Ford GT drivers fought until the end for a shot at the GTLM driver’s championship title too. It came down to the final moments of the race, but it wasn’t to be. However, the manufacturer’s title rewarded all those involved with the effort.
Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon drove the #67 Ford GT to a fifth-place finish at Road Atlanta. Meanwhile Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and Sébastien Bourdais finished seventh at the final race of the season. “…The guys did an awesome job. I think we drove the right strategy. We got the car to the front. We got it in the position where we were fighting for the championship in the last hour,” Ryan said. (Photo Credit: Ford Chip Ganassi Racing)
“This race is a tough race,” #67 Ford GT driver Joey Hand explained. “It’s a tough race track. It’s tough in traffic. We did exactly what we needed to do in the early runs to lead at the four-hour mark and then to get more points at the eighth hour to seal up the TPNAEC. That was the big thing for us today. As for the manufacturer’s championship, how many teams out here won five races this year? Winning the manufacturer’s championship for Ford is a big thing, and it just shows how strong a team we are. We work together as a team. This is not 66 and 67 when we’re back at the truck. We work together as a team, everybody has a great time with each other here. It’s a great place to race. I say it all the time. When the comfort level is high within a group of people, that’s going to produce results. And that’s what you see here.”
The Ford GT IMSA teams will return to racing action next year at the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on January 24-26, 2019.