Over the weekend, the Ford GT began its FIA World Endurance Championship campaign in fine style at the 6 Hours of Silverstone at the Silverstone Circuit in the United Kingdom. The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing #67 Ford GT — driven by Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell and Pipo Derani — earned the pole position and held onto that spot to take the win in the first WEC race of the season.
“The car was really good,” driver Andy Priaulx said. “From the start of Free Practice 1 yesterday we have steadily improved the car every session. For me everything came together in qualifying and I had the perfect lap so I am really happy. We’ve been performing at 100 percent; we’re not holding it back. We have a long race ahead of us tomorrow but we have a great car for the long distance. We have worked on tire degradation and we’ve worked on setting a good balance so it all looks good.”
Driver Andy Priaulx posted a 1:55.858-minute lap, while Harry Tincknell ran a 1:56.546. The average of these runs was good enough for the pole.
“That’s the way to start a new season,” said WEC Team Principal, George Howard-Chappell said after the 20-minute qualifying session on Saturday. “It was a fantastic effort from the guys on the #67 car with Andy being fast straight out of the box, followed up by Harry. The new Michelin tires for 2017 are working exceptionally well so let’s see what the race brings. It was a little bit disappointing for #66. We went slightly astray with the set up over lunch but I’m sure we can fix that for tomorrow.”
On race day, the Ford GTs were running strong, holding the first and second positions. The #66 GT— driven by Stefan Mücke, Olivier Pla, and Billy Johnson — actually held the lead for quite a while before a safety car dust-up cost it a few positions.
“It’s a real shame,” Stefan said. “Of course it is great for the whole team to win at the start of the season but for us it’s hard to lead for so long then only finish fourth because of the safety car. It was out of our hands today and we will come back even stronger.”
To get the win at home, in front of family, friends and Ford employees is fantastic. — Harry Ticknell, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing
“I was sitting in the office in the truck having a chat with Andy when I heard “Harry, helmet on!” so I didn’t have much time to prepare!” Harry said. “I really enjoyed having such a long run and it was one of those times when it goes very quiet in the car and you really get into the zone. I was just nailing the laps one after the other and focusing on the checkered flag. To get the win at home, in front of family, friends and Ford employees is fantastic. I gave it absolutely everything I had today and I hope this sets us on the path to a championship win.”
That path will continue on May 6 as the WEC continues at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.