Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team owner Chip Ganassi felt that lady luck wasn’t on his team’s side at this years LeMans 24 Hours as his outfit brought one car home on the podium on Sunday afternoon with Joey Hand, Sebastien Bourdais and Dirk Muller in the No.68 Ford GT finishing the race in third place and speaking following the race Ganassi said:
We brought competitive cars here and I was happy with that aspect, but this is a race where you need a little bit of lady luck on your side, and unfortunately this time around we didn’t have that. “We got separated from the pace car on one occasion, and then held back in a few of the slow zones, and that was costly. The leaders didn’t have to deal with that, and they benefited from the situation. I was a little disappointed with that, but that’s the way it goes here. Le Mans picks its winner. And it just didn’t pick us this year.”
Speaking following the race, Sebastien Bourdais commented by saying:
It was great to be back at Le Mans. “It was a tough race, but we maximised everything as a team. I am super proud of everyone at Ford Chip Ganassi Racing. We did all we could and finished third, so that’s the cards we were dealt. We’ll take them and move on.
Dirk Muller commented following the race saying:
A good day at the office I would call it,” said Müller. “Being on the podium at Le Mans is almost like winning because this race is so special and unique. P3 I know, but I am still smiling. For the 68 Ford GT, a victory in 2016 and a third place today means a lot. I look forward to coming back next year and going back up two more spots. It was great job for all the boys who did a great job, and for our WEC boys, I am glad they got good points today.
Joey Hand commented on the race saying:
We maximised our potential. “It takes having a really good race car to win here, and we did. We have no damage on our car at all. We just got caught out a couple times with safety cars and that hurt us and we couldn’t make it up. I have been here four times and been on the podium three of them, so that’s pretty cool.
The No.67 Ford GT of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell and Tony Kanaan fought for a place on the podium but in the end had to settle for fourth place and speaking following the race, Priaulx said:
“For me personally this has been a good Le Mans. “I had a lot of fun in the car, a lot of time in the car (8.5 hours) and I am driving with a brilliant team. I wouldn’t say we had the speed to win but we had the team to win. We could’ve done it today but we were very unlucky with an early safety car, which put us two minutes behind and it’s so hard to get that time back. We got back up into the top two or three positions then we had more bad luck with a safety car. Despite this we had a great race. The car was great, the team did a brilliant job and we finished fourth in a race that is very difficult to finish at all.
Priaulx went on to say:
We scored some good points for the WEC Championship (third place) so we’re back on the scoreboard and we will come back fighting. Harry (Tincknell) was the normal Harry: awesome, faultless and super quick. It was great to have Tony (Kanaan) with us too. It’s never easy to join a new team and race around Le Mans but he trusted us all and we became a strong team very quickly.
The No.66 Ford GT finished seventh in class and as a result sits in fourth place in the championship. Speaking following the race, Olivier Pla commented by saying:
We gave it everything today,” “We pushed so hard as we had to recover when we lost two laps early on (due to suspension damage suffered when Billy Johnson had contact with a prototype). We had high expectations for this race. The Porsche was strong but we had a good car for the battle.
“Apart from that costly contact, nobody put a foot wrong so it’s disappointing that we spent the race fighting back rather than fighting from the front. Stefan (Mücke) as always did a great job and now we’ll focus on the WEC Super Season. In terms of the WEC Championship we actually finished fourth today so, added to our win at Spa, we have a good amount of points to build on throughout the rest of the season.
The No.69 Ford GT driven by Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon developed gearbox issues however the team were able to fix the issue and the crew were able to finish the race.
Speaking following the race, Briscoe commented by saying:
I think we battled hard. We certainly just seemed to lack a little bit of the pace through the night. “I think with our set-up and the combination of losing a little bit of track position, that hit us twice as hard when you lose the safety car lines. We lost touch with the leaders, but we were racing hard and hanging in there. We were going to have a great battle right until the end with Corvette. I had a really fun race. It just love driving on this race track. It’s so intense. It’s such a competitive field, literally pushing you out there to drive as hard as you can for 24 hours.
Despite missing out on the win, Global Director of Ford Performance Motorsports, Mark Rushbrook was impressed with Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s performance in the race saying:
You want to win every race you compete in, but to come here, the world’s hardest sports car race, and see the effort that Ford Chip Ganassi Racing put in was great. “They fought hard all day, finished third on the podium for the third straight year and for the third straight year all our cars finished. It’s unfortunate that most of the GTE Pro field got caught out by that early safety car because it changed the dynamic of the race. But we have to be proud of what this team did.
Sebastien Bourdais, Tony Kanaan and series points leader Scott Dixon will now return to their day job in the Verizon IndyCar Series as the Dale Coyne with Vasser Sullivan Racing, AJ Foyt Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing drivers respectively prepare for the next round of the Verizon IndyCar Series with this weekend’s Kohler Grand Prix at Road America.