The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing squad will see its four entries for this years 24 Hours of Le Mans start from first, second, fourth and fifth in the LMGTE Pro class after a strong qualifying performance around the French circuit.
The #68 Ford GT of Joey Hand, Sebastien Bourdais and Dirk Muller were the pacesetters during the qualifying sessions, while the #69 of Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon were just three-tenths of a second shy in second.
After traffic had affected the laps of both Hand and Bourdais, it was left to Dirk Muller to secure the lap that took the Ford GT to the front of the field, something the German was delighted to have done.
“We weren’t getting any luck in that first qualifying session,” said Muller. “When Joey was in the car he had traffic and then a red flag and all the time the clock was ticking. Then Sébastien got in and there was traffic again.
“Finally with just 15 minutes of the session left I did my first lap and the car felt really good. I was also hitting a lot of traffic but then Mike O’Gara (team manager for #68 and #69) came on the radio and said ‘hey, you have one more lap, you can do it.’
“It was a cool lap and it was one for the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing boys. I’m really proud of everybody. Just being here is a big honour for all of us. To compete in the Ford GT for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing on this important anniversary is a privilege.”
Raj Nair, the executive vice president, Global Product Development and chief technical officer of Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, was happy to see the #68 secure class pole position, but he knows the bigger task still lays ahead of them as they aim to master the 24 Hour enduro.
“Every member of this team has worked tirelessly to get the Ford GT to this stage in its development,” said Nair. “We know the greatest task is still ahead of us and speed isn’t the only thing you need at Le Mans.
“As one team with one goal, we will race with commitment and passion and we will race for every member of the extended Ford family across the globe.”