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Curtain Up for Ford’s Final Rehearsal for the Le Mans 24 Hours

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  • Ford Chip Ganassi Racing has its sights set on a clean and trouble-free race in the ‘WEC 6 Hours of Spa’, the final competitive outing before Le Mans

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GREATWORTH PARK, U.K., May 2, 2016 – The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs will be back on track later this week for the ‘WEC 6 Hours of Spa’, just over two weeks after making their FIA World Endurance Championship debut at Silverstone.

Ask any international racing driver to name their favourite track and Belgium’s Spa-Franchorchamps Grand Prix Circuit features high on every list. The technically demanding seven-kilometre track weaves through the Ardennes Forest like a rollercoaster ride, providing a stern test of man and machine. Legendary corners such as ‘Eau Rouge’ and ‘Blanchimont’ combine to form one of the world’s best racing circuits and the most fitting venue for the final rehearsal for the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team headed to the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain for a vital endurance test immediately after finishing fourth and fifth in their debut race at the 6 Hours of Silverstone.

“The objective of the Motorland Test was to test the Ford GT to its limit in an endurance run,” said WEC team principal George Howard-Chappell. “We completed a run that was comfortably longer than the Le Mans 24 Hours, which gives us great confidence in the reliability of the cars. Spa is our last race before Le Mans so it would be nice to think we can improve on our Silverstone result and make it onto the podium.”

Stefan Mücke knows how to put a quick lap together at Spa, proven by the fact that he holds the GTE Pro lap record there. After finishing in fifth place in the #66 Ford GT at Silverstone with Olivier Pla and Billy Johnson, the German racer wants to finish higher up the order this time out.

“We had a very promising race at Silverstone,” Mücke said. “The car ran like clockwork and the team did so well, especially when you consider that the pit stops during the race were the first ‘hot’ stops they had done. We are now ready to aim for the next step, and that is a podium finish! Spa is one of my favourite circuits so I’m excited to drive the Ford GT there. It has a good combination of corners and I think it will be a good circuit for our car.”

Along with Marino Franchitti and Harry Tincknell, Andy Priaulx took the #67 Ford GT to fourth place at Silverstone, just short of the podium. This time the triple World Touring Car Champion has his sights set on the silverware.

“It would be great to go to Spa and fight for a podium finish,” Priaulx said. “Our reliability was impressive at Silverstone and now we need to build on this for the coming races. Spa should be a good circuit for us. It is a fast circuit where set up is very important and we have a lot of confidence in the balance of the Ford GT.

“We’re a very ambitious team,” Priaulx continued. “It was always going to be a big ask – building a team for Le Mans with only two preparation races – but I am really happy with how we have built this up in such a short space of time. All credit to George Howard-Chappell and the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team. We have a 24-hour car now and a strong team so let’s see what we can do at Spa.”

The Ford GTs will hit the track at Spa on Thursday at 12:15 CET for the first free practice session. GTE Qualifying takes place on Friday at 16:05 CET and the WEC 6 Hours of Spa gets underway on Saturday at 14:30 CET.

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Ford Chip Ganassi Racing WEC driver line-ups:
66 - Stefan Mücke, Olivier Pla, Billy Johnson
67 - Marino Franchitti, Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell

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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is a global automotive and mobility company based in Dearborn, Mich. With about 199,000 employees and 67 plants worldwide, the company’s core business includes designing, manufacturing, marketing financing and servicing a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs and electrified vehicles, as well as Lincoln luxury vehicles. At the same time, Ford is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience and data and analytics. For more information regarding Ford, its products worldwide or Ford Motor Credit Company, visit www.corporate.ford.com.​​

Ford of Europeis responsible for producing, selling and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 50 individual markets and employs approximately 53,000 employees at its wholly owned facilities and approximately 68,000 people when joint ventures and unconsolidated businesses are included. In addition to Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford Europe operations include Ford Customer Service Division and 24 manufacturing facilities (16 wholly owned or consolidated joint venture facilities and 8 unconsolidated joint venture facilities). The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903 – the same year Ford Motor Company was founded. European production started in 1911.

About Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
Chip Ganassi has been a fixture in the auto racing industry for over 25 years and is considered one of the most successful as well as innovative owners the sport has anywhere in the world. Today his teams include four cars in the Verizon IndyCar Series, two cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, one car in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, two factory Ford GT’s in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, two factory Ford GT’s in the FIA World Endurance Championship and two Supercars in Red Bull Global Rallycross. Overall his teams have 18 championships and 170 victories, including four Indianapolis 500s, a Daytona 500, a Brickyard 400 and six Rolex 24 At Daytonas and the 12 Hours of Sebring. Ganassi boasts state-of-the-art race shop facilities in Indianapolis and Concord, N.C., with a corporate office in Pittsburgh, Penn.  For more information log onto: www.chipganassiracing.com

Contact:

Lindsay Morle
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing (FIA WEC)
+44 7971 481078
lindsay@morle.com

 

Lachelle Seymour
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing (IMSA WTSCC)
+1 630 780 7006
lseymour@campbellmarketing.com  

 

Kelby Krauss
Chip Ganassi Racing
+1 317 945 3019
kkrauss@ganassi.com

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