Ford Sweeps GTLM Front Row at Sebring

Photo: Wes Dunkel/Ford

Photo: Wes Dunkel/Ford

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing claimed the top two spots in GT Le Mans qualifying ahead of Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, led by Ryan Briscoe in the No. 67 Ford GT.

The Australian smashed the class track qualifying record, reeling off a fast lap of 1:55.939 to edge out the sister No. 66 car of Dirk Mueller by 0.236 seconds.

Briscoe’s lap was nearly 2.5 seconds quicker than Bill Auberlen’s GTLM pole time last year.

While Briscoe and co-drivers Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon search for their first major endurance race win together, Mueller, Hand and Sebastien Bourdais seek completing the “triple crown” of endurance races tomorrow.

Tommy Milner put the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R third in class, with Kevin Estre fourth in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR.

The No. 3 Corvette and No. 68 Ford completed the top three rows for Saturday’s race, with the top six cars in class covered by just over a half-second.

Tristan Vautier took a dominant class pole in GT Daytona, marking the first for both SunEnergy1 Racing and Mercedes-AMG in only their second outing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The Frenchman completed a best lap of 1:59.738 in the No. 75 entry he’ll share with Boris Said and Kenny Habul, a full three-quarters of a second faster than Connor de Philippi in the No. 29 Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS..

As was the case in GTLM, it was another track qualifying record.

Corey Lewis qualified third in the No. 16 Change Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3, with Lexus locking down the fourth and fifth quickest times in class, led by an impressive qualifying performance by Robert Alon in the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3.

The No. 14 Lexus was fifth, in the hands of Scott Pruett.

Both Acura NSX GT3 entries from Michael Shank Racing returned to the track and post times after both the Nos. 93 and 86 cars encountered problems in practice earlier in the day.

They will start 11th and 14th, respectively.

The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring gets underway at 10:40 a.m. ET, with live coverage on FS1 beginning at 12:30 p.m. and entire race on FOX Sports GO beginning at 10:30 a.m.

RESULTS: Qualifying

31 Comments

  1. #1 fin hater

    March 17, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Ford Prototypes strike again

    • Fabio

      March 17, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      At least they don’t seem to be sandbagging this year. Or if they are… mother of God

    • GimmeShelter

      March 17, 2017 at 7:44 pm

      Fords are nothing but big fish in a little pond. And they are so proud of that!

      • Cherokee Bill

        March 18, 2017 at 12:10 pm

        How do you​ figure that?

  2. WBrowning

    March 17, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Great Day for FORD so far, with Mustang GT4s and Ford GTs on their respective poles. I hope it continues with a win this afternoon in the CTSC.

    P.S. Enjoy your sour grapes.

    • J Lewis

      March 17, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      It’s a 12 hour race, hero. While qualifying is important, it doesn’t guarantee a good finishing position. Something to keep in mind up on your pompous high horse.

    • Bob

      March 17, 2017 at 5:29 pm

      The GT4’s are having probs. Currently in 3rd though. ~15 min to go. 2 McLarens leading. Let’s see how it unfolds!

      • Bob

        March 17, 2017 at 5:50 pm

        Job Done! #60 took off like a rocket! ST was intense. I didn’t plan on staying at work this long but the end kept me glued. Good stuff.

  3. Griffm3

    March 17, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Must suck for the rest of GTLM (looking at you Bmw) that Ford is being gifted a years worth of dominance to add to their little trophy collection they paid for.

    2020 cant get here soon enough.

    • harv

      March 17, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      Sooooo they cant win without merit? There is no gift once you realize and find out what that car is all about. Its different and advanced in so many ways…yet it should struggle against Corvette, BMW and Ferrari? Why…they deserve what they earned…they worked for in in a way that’s not straight out of common design. They deserve the win they’ve earned!!!

      • Andres

        March 17, 2017 at 8:38 pm

        Ford did nothing developing this car neither the road car, it was all designed and built by Multimatic motorsports in Canada, it only has a Ford engine, so is not a Ford at all, and the Lemans thing last year, that was not a fair win, completely

        • 996corsa

          March 18, 2017 at 12:23 am

          Michelotto builds the Ferrari GT race cars.
          Prodrive builds the Aston’s.
          Pratt & Miller builds the Corvettes.
          It’s arguable that both BMW and, especially, Porsche do their GT cars more ” in house”.
          But who really knows, other than them, what outside industry support they use for their programs…
          So how is Ford’s partnership with Multimatic/Roush-Yates/CGR on the GT’s any different?

          Also the Ford GT road car was not “designed” purely by Multimatic, Ford designers and engineers have been at the core of that project since before Multmatic was engaged to work on it with them.

          • Andres

            March 18, 2017 at 11:01 am

            “Ford” built the GT race car earlier than the road version, so that makes it a damn prototype, not a proper GTLM race car, it has no part of the chassis from the road version, like the rest of the cars have, so, the other cars are in fact true cars modified to race, but the GT is not

    • Jerry

      March 17, 2017 at 5:24 pm

      Gifted? The entire GTLM field except for the Ferrari were separated by only 0.7 seconds. That isn’t Ford being gifted performance. Thatsthrm finding that little extra edge through hard work and great driving.

      • GimmeShelter

        March 17, 2017 at 7:42 pm

        LOL! You are so full of cr*p it’s coming out of your ears.
        You really think the other teams aren’t working as hard as the Ford guys?
        You are a putz!

  4. unemployed

    March 17, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    other manufacturers need to step up and make a homologation special like Ford did

    • Griffm3

      March 17, 2017 at 4:32 pm

      Homologation special is such a jabronie move that only Ford would do. What a bunch of garbage.

    • John

      March 17, 2017 at 8:25 pm

      To be fair, I doubt anyone can walk into a Porsche showroom and buy a mid-engined 911.

      I’m really kind of indifferent to the Ford GT program. They obviously spent a ton on money on the car and a good team to run them, so their success is no surprise.

      At the same time, I can understand the feeling toward the sanctioning bodies’ reluctance to keep a tighter leash on the big money pay-to-play programs.

      It’s a tough job to balance the competitive and business aspects.

      But if I had to come down on one side, even if only slightly, I’d rather see the neat new machinery like the GT and 911R participating.

      GM will surely follow with a mid-engined Corvette, and if BMW wakes up and stops trying to push their large, heavy GTs as sports cars, they may even have a good new car next year.

      • Andres

        March 17, 2017 at 8:40 pm

        Corvette will never do a mid engined car, never, they maybe do another mid engined one, but definetly not a Corvette

    • Rennsport4.4tV8

      March 17, 2017 at 10:08 pm

      Porsche did it this year and it has worked out for them so far.

  5. Pikanjoe

    March 17, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Somebody please remind me what is BOP for again?

    • Griffm3

      March 17, 2017 at 4:34 pm

      It’s a coverup to allow Ford dominance over the next three years since that are spending the most $$ with Bs prototype homologation special. Wow such an incredible feat to be prid of Ford.

      • Luna

        March 17, 2017 at 4:45 pm

        BoP is results manipulation.
        Ford has been blessed by ACO/FIA/IMSA to race and win.
        IMSA did that for the Rolex 24 for the Caddies too.

        • Griffm3

          March 17, 2017 at 5:28 pm

          Ding ding ding we have a winner! Might as well be WWE wrestling.

        • GimmeShelter

          March 17, 2017 at 7:41 pm

          Correct! They don’t even look like a GTLM car!

        • Andres

          March 17, 2017 at 8:43 pm

          Not Cadillac, the “Ford” GT barely has testing before race debut, the Cadillac has thousands of miles of testing before racing, so the Cadillac did it all about that, the GT is genuinely a prototype being raced in a GT class

  6. JamieR

    March 17, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    The problem with BoP is that nobody can ever win a race anymore without an entire whingey fest from everyone else.

    I expect the Fords to be more likely to break tomorrow, so who knows

  7. GimmeShelter

    March 17, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    Why are these prototypes running in the GTLM category? They look nothing like the other GTLMs. Something is wrong here…

    • Louis

      March 18, 2017 at 12:27 am

      Nothing is wrong considering they got a waiver to race and in order to get said waiver all manufactures had to literally say “yes you can race here with what you want” if one manufacture said “No” ford would not be in gtlm/gte… so get over it the manufactures gave them permisssion stop going through a deliberate freak out

  8. Bert Anernie

    March 18, 2017 at 2:39 am

    The Risi team gets screwed again….whatta surprise…

  9. Pikanjoe

    March 18, 2017 at 8:56 am

    GM should request to have the “Cadillac DPi-V.R” reclassified as a GTLM car. With small changes it wouldn’t be that much different than the Ford GTLM.

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