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Tough Day in Texas for the Ford GT

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Tough Day in Texas for the Ford GT

AUSTIN, Texas (Sept. 3rd, 2017) – Courtesy of Ford Performance The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team endured one of its toughest races yet at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin today.  The 6 Hours of COTA was expected to be a hard race due to the intense Texan heat and although both Ford GTs finished the race they were down in seventh (No. 67) and eighth (No. 66) positions when the chequered flag fell.

Despite this result Priaulx and Tincknell hold a six-point lead in the GT FIA World Endurance Drivers’ Championship and Ford maintains second place in the GT FIA World Endurance Manufacturers’ Championship.

“It wasn’t our day today,” said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. “This has always been a tough track for us but that’s no excuse. We need to go to the drawing board, figure out what we did wrong and figure out how we’re not going to do that again. We have three races coming up that we know we should be pretty good at and have a good chance of winning so we’ll keep everyone focused on that. The championship is still in our sights.”

Andy Priaulx started the race in the No. 67 Ford GT from the front row of the grid but a hit on the opening lap pushed him down to seventh place.

“It went downhill for us from the first corner as we got hit and tumbled down the order,” said Priaulx’s team mate Harry Tincknell.  “I don’t think it caused any damage but we just didn’t have the race pace we expected today. I got in the car after Andy’s opening stint and I was on the hard tyre but we didn’t get the performance from it and I really had to hang on. I did everything I could but when there is no grip there’s nothing you can do.”

After this the #67 crew switched their race strategy and moved onto using the soft tyres. This meant more time in the pits as they could only complete single stints but it helped their performance.

“Andy’s next stint was strong and when I got back in the car felt good,” said Tincknell. “Unfortunately we also had an issue with a sticking wheel nut, which delayed us by around 40 seconds too. Luckily for us though we are still leading the championship and I’m hopeful that we have now got all of our bad luck out of the way. It’s disappointing as we were hopeful but we head to Fuji next with good memories of last year’s win.”

The No. 66 Ford GT of Stefan Mücke and Olivier Pla started from fifth and with just an hour to go it looked like they would finish fifth but a late race penalty for a safety car infringement pushed them right down to eighth place.

“That was our toughest race of the year so far,” said Mücke. “The drop off in our race performance in the heat was a surprise as we felt quite confident after the practice and qualifying sessions.  We need to analyse why we struggled so much in the race compared to the earlier sessions. We could have finished higher up the order but we lost a lot of time under the mid-race safety car and then lost more when we got a stop-go penalty. It’s a tough result for the mechanics as they did such a great job with the pit stops. We look to Japan now, which should be a lot cooler. We had good results there last year so I think our time will come soon.”

The Japanese round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship takes place at Fuji Speedway on October 15th.