WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Ford Chip Ganassi Racing kept their podium streak at Watkins Glen International alive with a second-place finish in GTLM at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Driver Richard Westbrook stalked the category leader to the end, getting every ounce out of the No. 67 after the team played pit strategy around cautions flawlessly after starting the race p4.
It was the seventh IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship podium for Westbrook and co-driver Ryan Briscoe since the Ford GT’s debut. The duo won this race last year.
“I think today almost feels like a victory,” Westbrook said. “We did our absolute maximum. We had a great strategy, great pitstops, great driving by my teammate and a good hard, clean race. The car was, balance-wise, just beautiful. For 17 seconds, I thought it was our day, then they just pulled it out at the end. We’ll try to go one better at Mosport.”
The No. 66 Ford GT of Joey Hand and Dirk Müller finished just off the podium at p4. Hand, who qualified on pole before driving the No. 66 to the finish line, felt good about his chances after the car showed speed all weekend, but struggled with tire pickup on a late restart and fell to p5, eventually finishing just off the podium after a car ahead of him pitted just short of the final lap.
“We didn’t have a lot for them all day,” Hand said. “In traffic was where we struggled compared to the rest of the field. We just have to use momentum and if you get your momentum stopped, you’re in trouble. We were there at the end by calling a good race. I had pick-up on that final restart, the car was all over the place. I think once I got the pick-up off, I just didn’t have any speed. I’m not really sure why, because I had a lot more than that beforehand, but it wasn’t the finish I had envisioned when I was rolling around under that caution. I was planning to go to the front or at least make a race out of it. It just wasn’t the day for us.”
Ford CGR now has only a few days to prep at their shop in Indianapolis, as the series heads to Mosport near Toronto this weekend.
“One positive thing from the day is that the cars pretty much came away unscratched, so the turnaround and prep for Mosport will be less painful than we expected,” said Team Principal Mike O’Gara. “We would like to get another win under our belts, but it just wasn’t in the cards today. I think we punched over our weight when it came to competing with some of these guys and we just didn’t have the pace at the end to fight for a win. We’ll regroup and see what we have at Mosport.”