Twenty hours of racing awaits the WEC and IMSA Ford Chip Ganassi Racing teams as the world’s top endurance drivers converge at Sebring International Raceway for a pair of grueling events.
The World Endurance Championship starts the action when its super season returns with its first race in 2019, the 1000 Miles of Sebring, on Friday. The International Motor Sports Association’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship follows that up with Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts.
“Sebring is another big weekend for Ford,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “To have both the WEC and IMSA Ford GTs together but competing in different races makes for an exciting event for Ford Performance. As always our goal is to win so I am hopeful that all the work that has been put in recently in testing will pay off for us.”
WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP: 1000 MILES OF SEBRING
With three races remaining in the WEC season, Stefan Mücke and Olivier Pla’s No. 66 Ford GT sits second in the standings and will welcome Billy Johnson for the sixth event of the 2018-19 campaign.
“I have good memories of Sebring; it’s actually one of my favorite tracks,” Mücke said. “The race will be a challenge as it starts in the afternoon and finishes late at night so there will be a big temperature drop, which affects the balance of the car and tire choice. I can’t wait to get back in the car and get the season going again on a great track like Sebring.”
In the No. 67 Ford GT, Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell, who are eighth in the standings, will be joined by Jonathan Bomarito.
“Sebring is a great track that always produces a demanding and challenging race,” Priaulx said. “It’s a tough track in the dark. You have to limit your mistakes and push hard to be competitive there but that’s what we do, right?”
IMSA WEATHERTECH SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP: TWELVE HOURS OF SEBRING
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s IMSA team is aiming to add another historic endurance race win to its trophy cabinet when the Nos. 66 and 67 Ford GTs take on the Twelve Hours of Sebring.
“There’s no question this Ford GT program was designed to go out and win the world’s top endurance races, and we have done that for the most part the past three seasons,” Rushbrook said. “But we need to add the Twelve Hours of Sebring to that list of race wins, and we want to do that this weekend. We’ve had a very good test there in the last month, and we hope that carries over to this weekend.”
The team has come close before, with Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and Sebastien Bourdais finishing runners-up in their No. 66 in 2017.
“Sebring is always a challenge not just because of the distance, but also because of how difficult the track is,” Hand said. “I do know one thing… this is an endurance race that has eluded us in the Ford GT program, and we want to change that this year.”
The No. 67 Ford GT team of Richard Westbrook, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon, which finished fourth at last year’s Twelve Hours of Sebring and fourth at the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, also has its focus on the top step of the podium.
“It will be a little different having our Ganassi European Ford GT team there for the WEC race, so hopefully we can all work together to help each other with set-ups and input as they race on Friday,” Briscoe said. “But at the end of the day, the Twelve Hours of Sebring always comes down to race strategy and being in position to win those last two hours. We fortunately have some of the best in the business in terms of drivers and strategists, so we feel like we’re going to be one of the teams to beat for sure.”