In 2016, Ford will make its historic return to the top level of GT racing with a pair of Chip Ganassi Racing-backed entries contesting the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Harry Tincknell, former Nissan LMP1 driver, is part of the new project and is aiming to begin his GT career with a podium finish at the 6 Hours of Silverstone on April 17.
“I’m going to Silverstone to compete at the front – a class rostrum is our target – but the important thing is to accumulate race mileage,” said Tincknell.
“I have tested the Ford GT at Aragon in Spain and then at the WEC Prologue followed by an endurance test also at Paul Ricard in France. It’s a great team and car. The atmosphere in the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team is fantastic and everyone is so excited about the much anticipated return to Le Mans.”
The Le Mans class winner will share the #67 Ford GT in the GTE-Pro category with fellow Brits Andy Priaulx and Marino Franchitti. Unlike his team-mates, Tincknell has not accrued any race experience in GT machinery, but is gradually getting used to the complexities of driving a production-based sportscar.
“The Ford GT is lovely to drive, it gives you a lot of confidence to push and it is very receptive to driver input,” he said.
“I’ve only raced a GT car on one previous occasion, at the Nürburgring last August, and compared to LMP1 and LMP2 sports cars that I’m more accustomed to and will have raced the previous day, a GT car is much heavier and has less downforce. Therefore the brakingdistances are longer and corner speeds are slower.”
“It’s a road car adapted for the track so you can buy a road-going Ford GT whereas the sports-prototype I also race is not road legal. The driver aids, like traction control, are similar between the two while my Ford GT has very complex electronics.”
However, Tincknell has not abandoned his prototype career as he continues for a third consecutive season in the European Le Mans Series LMP2 class. That means he will be taking on double-duty at Silverstone with G-Drive in the ELMS on Saturday, and Ford in the FIA WEC on Sunday.
“Racing two different types of car won’t be an issue as I know the Silverstone track really well. It’s great for my fans and sponsors to see me race on consecutive days at the same venue. After finishing a very close second and third overall in the final [ELMS] championship standings, this year I am more determined than ever to make it third time lucky.”
The 6 Hours of Silverstone – opening round of the 2016 FIA WEC – takes place on April 17, with the race set to go green at 12:00 local time.