After what seems like an extraordinarily long period of time, the 2018-19 WEC Super Season finally resumes this weekend and because of this, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team have taken time from their busy schedule to explain to MotorMartin how they are ready to continue the fight for top honours in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Round 3 takes place at the world-famous Silverstone Circuit, just a few miles from Greatworth Park where the team is based, making this the home event.
The team have shared with MotorMartin that they fully expect to be on the end of continued fierce competition in the GTE Pro class as they were at Le Mans.
“The competition in GTE Pro is exceptionally strong – we saw that at Spa and Le Mans,” commented team principal George Howard-Chappell to MotorMartin recently. “The guys with the new cars are sure to be improving and we already know how competitive Porsche and Ferrari are. We booked a test a month before the race and were joined by two of the other manufacturers, so at least three of us have an idea of what to expect given the new track surface. Ideally we would like to continue the winning streak that our sister team in the USA have been having but let’s see. We will be going flat out for sure and I’m confident the track layout suits our car.”
The Championship so far:
The #66 Ford GT of Stefan Mücke (GER), Olivier Pla (FRA) and Billy Johnson (US) came out on top of the Ford WEC runners at Le Mans, with a sixth place finish earning them the points for a third place finish in the WEC standings. With a win in the opening round at Spa, Mücke and Pla are now in second place in the Driver’s Championship battle, just eight points behind the leaders. Now that Le Mans is done for 2018, both #66 and #67 drop to the usual two-driver crews for the next few races.
“It was important for us to take as many points as possible at Le Mans,” Mücke said. “The competition was very strong, especially from Porsche, so I’m pleased that we are in second with everything to fight for. Our target is to win the championship so we need to keep scoring maximum points and a win at Silverstone would be particularly special for the team as it is the home race.”
“Silverstone has always been the first round in the past so it’s good to go and race there in the summer this time. We tested there a few weeks ago and the circuit has new asphalt, which is going to make it very interesting. Everything you learnt about the track in the past, forget it! There is a lot more grip, which is a good thing, but it is also very aggressive asphalt so tyre management will be crucial this weekend if we want to stay in the game.”
Andy Priaulx (GB), Harry Tincknell (GB) and Tony Kanaan (BRA) took a hard fought fourth place in class at Le Mans in #67 Ford GT but were demoted after the race due to a driving time infringement. The British duo, who won the 2017 WEC round at Silverstone, are eager to collect a good haul of points this weekend.
“A repeat of last year when we took pole position, fastest lap and the win, would be very nice,” Tincknell said. “We’ve had a tough start to our season. We were going well at Spa until the accident and then we had a good race at Le Mans, fighting hard all the way through with no issues other than a short fill which took us out of contention for third and then the post-race penalty. It means we are well down the championship table so we need to just go for outright wins now, hopefully starting at Silverstone. We had a great test there not long ago and we look reasonably strong. This race is going to be all about tyre life due to the combination of the new abrasive surface and the high speed nature of Silverstone. With only four sets of tyres for six hours of racing that is going to be the key. The Ford GT has good aero efficiency and we look after our tyres well so hopefully that’s an advantage for us. Let’s hope the home support will cheer us on to another win.”
The 6 Hours of Silverstone gets underway on Sunday, August 19 at 12:00 GMT and MotorMartin can’t wait!
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