WEC 2017 Wrap-Up

WEC 2017 Wrap-Up

MANAMA, Bahrain (Nov. 18th, 2017) – Courtesy Ford Performance – The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team finished the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship in second place in the teams’ standings with the #67 Ford GT and third place in the drivers’ championship with Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell. Despite entering the season finale with a fighting chance of winning the driver’s title, it slipped out of reach during today’s six-hour race in Bahrain, although the British duo in the #67 Ford GT grabbed a podium place when Priaulx passed Porsche’s Makowiecki in the final hour for third place.

The early stages of the race went well for the team and before the two-hour mark, #67 driver Priaulx passed the #71 Ferrari for the lead. In the #66 Ford GT Stefan Mücke was running strongly and making up positions throughout his opening stint; good work that was then continued when Olivier Pla took over the wheel. Ultimately though the pace of the Ferraris was too much for the team to overhaul and despite fighting hard and taking a podium finish with the #67 car the championship chance fell away.

“The race didn’t pan out how we wanted it to,” said WEC team principal, George Howard-Chappell. “We knew it would be a medium to long shot to win the championship and although at one point early in the race it looked like it might be possible we ultimately didn’t have the pace. There was a little bit of drama with a mid-race pit-stop for the #67 car but even without that I don’t think we would have made it. The team as ever did a great job and Andy and Harry drove exceptionally, as they have done all season and now we look forward to next year.”

Harry Tincknell took the start in the #67 Ford GT and made immediate progress, passing the second placed Aston Martin. He and Priaulx fought tooth and nail throughout the race and finished in third place.

“It looked like we could be in with a chance at the beginning but we just didn’t have an answer for the Ferraris today,” Priaulx said. “We had good tyre degradation but we just didn’t have enough speed. Having said that I’ve had a great race. I really enjoyed my three stints and managed to make some good passes. We’ve had a brilliant season: two wins, second at Le Mans and fought to the very end of the championship.”

Stefan Mücke started the race from the back of the grid in the #66 Ford GT and quickly passed all of the GTE Am class before setting off after the #92 Porsche. He and Olivier Pla finished the race in fifth place.

“I had a really good first stint and enjoyed some good battles, passing one of the Porsches and catching an Aston Martin,” Mücke said. “The car felt really good and we had to work hard to save our tyres but everything was going well. Unfortunately, we lost a lot of time when we pitted under a full course yellow, just as the track went green. We lost at least 30 seconds there.”

The 6 Hours of Bahrain concludes the 2017 championship. The WEC will be back on track next Spring with the Prologue Test at Le Castellet in France.