On Wednesday morning, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing announced that the team’s two divisions (the North American and UK divisions) will join together as one four-car team for January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. The unification has been done for one purpose: To go out and win.
Team owner Chip Ganassi has been happy with the Ford GT program’s progress, but there’s still work to do.
“Even with the success we had last season winning six races, I think we have some unfinished business in Daytona,” Ganassi said in a press release. “The Rolex 24 last year was our first big test to see where we were with the program, and although we didn’t win, I can tell you that we learned a lot. We also learned a lot in Le Mans working with all four cars through the 24 hours. I’m excited we have another opportunity to assemble the full lineup for Daytona. The opportunity to compete with all four cars at the same time, in a race as prestigious as Daytona, is very special.”
In 2016, the Ford GT’s made their race debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Both the Nos. 66 and 67 entries had teething problems. The No. 66 of Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and Sebastién Bourdais finished 30th overall (seventh in class, 32 laps down to the GTLM class winners) to top the Ford contingent. The No. 67 of Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Stefan Mücke spent a lot of time in the garage and ended up 162 laps behind the leaders in 39th overall, ninth in class.
Despite the slow start to the season, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing had a very successful 2016, winning three races and finishing on the podium eight times. In addition, the team won five class poles. In addition, the No. 66 team ran as the No. 68 in the FIA World Endurance Championship and won the GTE-Pro class at Le Mans in June. The UK division also earned GTE-Pro class victories at Fuji Speedway and Shanghai Circuit.
Team driver lineups are currently unofficial. However, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing is testing this weekend at Daytona International Speedway with their two full-time IMSA entries. Hand and Müller are back in the No. 66, while Westbrook and Briscoe are joined by Scott Dixon in the No. 67. Additional lineup announcements for the remaining two cars, plus a third driver for the No. 66 will be announced at a later date.
As of now, Daytona will be the only IMSA event that the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing UK contingent will compete in.