A favorite of many IMSA drivers, VIRginia International Raceway is a scenic 3.27-mile natural terrain road course near the North Carolina border in Southern Virginia. Out of the 271 laps of competition that the Ford GT has competed in at VIR, there have only been seven under caution. The layout is inviting to tight, old-school racing.
Drivers love its challenge, which is why Ford Chip Ganassi Racing (Ford CGR) enters this weekend so hungry for the southern hospitality of a win at VIR. Of Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe, only the last in that list has earned a win at the track (2013), and none have claimed wins during the Ford GT’s time in the WeatherTech Championship, though both driver pairings have claimed pole position in the last two years and both cars have finished second at the race.
“VIR has been tricky for us,” said Westbrook, who qualified first in the No. 67 Ford GT last year. “We’ve been able to compete on strategy and had a great car last year. We were really happy with the set-up, but a mechanical issue tripped us up. It’s all about just being there at the end. Fortunes change quickly at VIR.”
If there was any year where Ford CGR was especially primed for a VIR win, it’s 2019. The Ford GTs are coming off of two consecutive wins in the championship, the last being a 1-2 finish at Road America at the beginning of August.
With this race acting as a precursor to the penultimate round of the season, the Ford GT nears the end of its impressive run in IMSA competition. Briscoe and Westbrook are third in the driver standings, just 18 points outside the lead, with Müller in fifth. Ford is second in the manufacturer championship.
“VIR is a track we really love,” said Müller, who finished second there in 2016 with Hand. “It hasn’t always been the kindest to us but we’re in a great place with this team right now so this would be the year to turn that around. We would be happy to finally get a win at VIR for this Ford CGR team!”
The green flag drops at VIR at 1:30 pm ET on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019.