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      Ford CGR’s 2018 in WEC and IMSA: From the Le Mans podium to a manufacturers’ title

      © Nick Dungan / Drew Gibson Photography

      Ford Chip Ganassi Racing opened the 2018 season with a 1-2 finish in the GTLM category at the 24 Hours of Daytona, where Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon took the checkered flag with Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and Sebastien Bourdais finishing second. The victory was Chip Ganassi Racing’s 200th across all series.

      That was just the beginning of a strong season for the Ford CGR team, which collected six total wins across the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the World Endurance Championship.

      The IMSA team racked up four straight victories as Hand and Müller of the No. 66 won at Watkins Glen and Lime Rock, while the No. 67 of Briscoe and Westbrook came out on top at Road America and Canada.

      The No. 66 totaled four podiums and two wins in the IMSA season and added a third-place finish in WEC’s iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans. Briscoe and Westbrook’s No. 67 won three times and reached four total podiums, good enough for second in the final championship standings.

      Powered by those five combined victories, Ford won the manufacturer’s championship in the GT Le Mans category. Hand and Müller also finished the year with some hardware, capturing the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, which is awarded to the best-performing GTLM drivers in the series’ endurance races (Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen, Petit Le Mans).

      In the World Endurance Championship, full-time drivers Stefan Mücke and Olivier Pla, along with Billy Johnson, won the season-opening race at Spa-Francorchamps. They are currently second in the championship standings with two podium finishes as the 2018-19 “super season” sits in its winter break. Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell have registered two podiums as well, finishing second at Silverstone and third in Fuji. 

      The two WEC cars will be back for the final three races of the season in 2019: 1000 Miles of Sebring in March, 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in May and the season-ending 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

      The 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship gets started on Jan. 26.