Fords on top at Watkins Glen

June 30, 2017

Fords on top at Watkins Glen

June 30, 2017

The No. 66 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT was fastest in both Friday IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice sessions in the GTLM class at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.

At the hands of Dirk Mueller in session one and Joey Hand in session two, the 66 led Ford’s charge in their bid to repeat 2016’s 1-2 finish.

Last year’s race winner, the sister No. 67 Ford GT, slotted in behind Hand in the second practice session. Third place on the day went to the car that has won two of the past three events, the No. 3 Corvette Racing machine.

BMW and Porsche rounded out the top five with the No. 25 and No. 911 respectively. All four manufacturers in IMSA’s GTLM class were represented in the top five, with the eight cars competing separated by just 1.587 seconds around the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen International course.

Though only practice, the result is especially vindicating for Ford and the Chip Ganassi Racing Team, which saw a very short turn around to get their cars prepped after Le Mans.

“We’re back in America after our trip to Le Mans and I was extremely happy this morning to see us P1,” this morning’s pace-setter Dirk Mueller said.

“I was extremely happy with the car and was able to pull that laptime. The team, Chip Ganassi Racing, they had to work so hard.

“They got the cars back last week, just a few days after the race in Le Mans and just had a few days to turn it over, to strip it down, check everything and to rebuild it. Everything went super smooth from the get go.”

But despite the cars working well, there’s still plenty of curveballs that could stop another Ford 1-2 at the Glen. The extremely close competition means it’s anyone’s game in the GTLM class. Throw in a 60% chance of rain Saturday and 40% on Sunday and Mother Nature may have something to say about the No. 66’s plan for weekend domination.

“Joey put it P1 in the second practice, but it’s practice,” Mueller said. “We’re all getting ready for qualifying tomorrow and then for the race on Sunday.

“We’re expecting some rain tomorrow so that could be a little interesting part, but it’s always good.

Our sister car, the 67, finished second so it looks okay, but I believe the competition has something in their pocket as well.”

In other classes, the Patron ESM team went 1-2 with the No. 2 and 22 Nissan powered DPis in Prototype, taking the fight to Ricky and Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 car who have won the opening five rounds of the championship.

The 38 car continued it’s domination in Prototype Challenge, going fastest in the small three-car class, and the GTD winners of the last race in Detroit, the No. 93 Acura NSX, continued their P1 ways, going fastest in the second session of the day.




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