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Ford Dominates GTLM to Defend Rolex 24 Win

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing defends GTLM victory with dominant performance…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing defended its GT Le Mans class win in the Rolex 24 at Daytona with a dominant performance in which it led all but ten laps of the race.

Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon combined in the No. 67 Ford GT to lead a 1-2 finish for the manufacturer and take its second consecutive GTLM class victory in the car’s third 24-hour triumph.

It marks the 200th race win for Chip Ganassi Racing and eighth class win for the team in the Rolex 24 on a weekend in which Ganassi served as the event’s Grand Marshal. 

Briscoe brought the car to the line ahead of Joey Hand in the sister No. 66 car he shares with Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, who won the race last year.

Between the two cars, Ford led more than 770 laps and only dropped out of the lead twice for a total of ten tours of the track, despite the class appearing so evenly matched during practice and qualifying.

It was also the first win since Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in 2016 for the No. 67 crew.

They had a relatively trouble-free run with the major issue being a tire rim issue early in the race which slowed the car down in its first pit stop. 

Corvette Racing proved itself to be the second-best team in the class with its cars finishing third and fourth. 

Antonio Garcia took the No. 3 Corvette C7.R to third after co-driver Jan Magnussen qualified it on pole position, while Marcel Fassler finished fourth in the No. 4 car.

Risi Competizione completed the top-five despite being one of the worst-affected teams by punctures, which proved to be a major theme in the race for all three classes.

In addition to repeated tire issues for the sole Ferrari 488 GTE in the field, the Houston-based team also had a loose door which was replaced in the first full course caution. 

Porsche and BMW completed the remainder of the nine-car GTLM field with the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR coming home sixth, 21 seconds behind the Risi car. 

The No. 911 Porsche lost considerable time in the night after it collided with the tire wall at the bus stop chicane with Nick Tandy at the wheel, and as a result it finished 30 laps behind the Fords.

BMW Team RLL enjoyed a largely trouble-free run with its No. 24 BMW M8 GTE on the car’s race debut despite repeated mechanical problems for that car earlier in the week.

Jesse Krohn, John Edwards, Augusto Farfus and Nicky Catsburg lost a great deal of running on Thursday with an electrical problem and a return of its splitter delamination issues from the Roar, but it ended up running a clean race.

The No. 25 BMW, meanwhile, picked up front-right suspension damage from a puncture, sending it to the garage for a while and ultimately dropping it back by 52 laps. 

RESULTS: Rolex 24 at Daytona

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.


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