Dixon reverting to right-foot braking at Le Mans after Indy 500 smash

The #69 Ford GT will start fifth in the GTE Pro class - Credit: Craig Robertson / Speed Chills

Scott Dixon has admitted he has been forced to revert to right-foot braking for the first time since racing in junior formulae after finding it impossible to left-foot brake in the Ford GT sportscar during practice and qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The New Zealander crashed heavily during the Indianapolis 500 and suffered minor damage to his left ankle, and although he has subsequently left-foot braked during the Verizon IndyCar Series events in Detroit and Texas, he found the very different GT car impossible to do likewise due to the pain it was causing.

“Detroit was pretty tough, obviously, being a double-header and straight after Indianapolis, and having to use the left foot, because it’s only left-foot braking [in IndyCar],” said Dixon to Motorsport.com. “Here, actually, I can’t use the left foot [to brake].

“It seems like the way the angle [of the foot] is, how it hits the pedal, seems to annoy it quite a lot, so I’ve had to go back to right-foot braking here. It’s definitely been interesting – it’s the first time in about 14 years.”

Dixon and his Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA team-mates Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook will line-up fifth in the GTE Pro class at the start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Saturday, less than half a second shy of class leaders Aston Martin Racing, but he feels the balance of performance set out by the ACO and the FIA has not been kind to Ford this year at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

“Pace-wise I was fine,” says Dixon. “I think I was quickest in the first session, out of our group, but it depends on tyres and conditions and a ton of things.

“We’re obviously not where we want to be right now in terms of outright speed against the competition – it’s tough.

“They seem to be quite obsessed with top speed, and we’ve got such a small, low-drag car, that when they add weight and take away our power, our acceleration is horrible – even though our top speed is then comparable with the others, they’ve got a load more power.

“But Balance of Performance is a constantly moving target, especially with new cars coming, and it’s always going to be difficult to balance small cars against tall ones.”