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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 who is Sportscar365's European Editor and also Managing Editor for e-racing365. He is a student of Politics and International Relations. Contact Jake



  1. GimmeShelter

    January 28, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Ganassi Ford “Prototypes” only had each other as competition and made a mockery of the once intense GTLM. BOP clearly favors them on this track but that is something Ganassi’s team made sure of before the green flag even dropped. Hopefully IMSA will fix this before Sebring…

    • Barber

      January 28, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      Yeah GTLM was basically Le Mans 2016 all over again.

      • Ervin Raab

        February 2, 2018 at 12:40 am

        You NAILED it!

        Ervin Raab

    • J.C.

      January 28, 2018 at 2:53 pm

      Im not going to say that the BOP favors the Ford’s. But some may argue that. But clearly Ford did there homework for this car. The Ford GT was build for one purpose, and that’s to win Le Mans. The body design clearly says it. It’s hard to BOP the Ford GT. But the other cars in GTLM had there problems also.

      • Jay

        January 28, 2018 at 3:09 pm

        Hey! Looks like someone else who actually watches and understands the GTLM cars and BoP. Ford designed this car for exactly tracks like LeMans and Daytona. It’s low, it’s sleek, it’s had A TON of engineering that’s been done to it. Also look at the fact that there were hardly any cautions making for extreme long runs. I think the Fords could use a couple lbs at Sebring and let’em race. I bet the BoP could be a lot closer on the rest of these tracks than most think. Please IMSA, just don’t swing the pendulum like the WEC series does.

        • Marneus

          January 28, 2018 at 3:25 pm

          BTW except Le Mans, what race or champ is more important in sportscar world?
          None,they were right to do that.
          A win At Le Mans worth any media about imsa or wec title.

          Good job Ford.

        • MikeT66

          January 29, 2018 at 5:29 am

          Good comments, Jay – agree 100%

      • Rose

        January 28, 2018 at 3:41 pm

        Spot on, man. Can’t really complain about the result since the Ford has its troubles at the twistier tracks on the schedule with its wide wheelbase and all.

        • MaiTai

          January 28, 2018 at 4:05 pm

          I see your arguement…but why wasn’t their dominance shown in qualifying? We all saw what Chip did at Le Mans. I couldn’t care any less if Ford wins, but I like to see some more competition upfront.

          • Barber

            January 28, 2018 at 4:28 pm

            Their dominance was shown in qualifying… the Ford did just as fast of a lap by itself that the Corvette that was on pole needed slipstream to do. That’s the only reason that the Corvette got pole.

          • Andres

            January 28, 2018 at 8:07 pm

            Barber, cause Ford has a BOP advantage of approximately 40HP over the rest of the field, thats it

          • fourloko

            January 29, 2018 at 8:13 am

            not sure where andres is pulling 40hp advantage out of other than his ass, looking at the tech bulliten for daytona bmw has max 2.24 bar (32.9 psi@4500rpm) and the ford has max of 1.528 bar (22.5 psi @2-4200 rpm)

          • DetailsNotImportant

            January 29, 2018 at 12:26 pm

            The Fords have the smallest engine and the least boost of any of the turbo competitors in GTLM. Seems as though some people are just bias and neglect facts.

          • Andres

            January 29, 2018 at 2:27 pm

            You do not even see factors as compression ratio and other stuff like that, you need to take nto account te front area of the cars, you have a brick, like M8, a mouse shaped car like the Porsche, some normal shaped cars as the Corvette and Ferrari, and then you have an LMP shaped car as the Ford GT, you forgot all tah, and that affects the car performance, maybe imsa instead of focusng on engine performance alone, should watch in what type of car the teams run to make a better BOP

          • DetailsNotImportant

            January 29, 2018 at 7:04 pm

            Your initial statement was that the Ford has 40 hp over everyone else, which still is not true, and now you wanna talk about frontal area. Frontal area and building a car shaped like a brick does not affect how much power an engine makes.

      • Trevor

        January 28, 2018 at 5:46 pm

        I think you’re right on point here. The layout of the track and the design of the cars favors the Fords, not the BOP. If you look at the fastest lap run in class this weekend, it wasn’t the Ford’s. It was the Ferrari by a fraction of a second. If the Ferrari is still the baseline for BOP in GTLM, then I’d say they got it pretty right.

      • Andres

        January 28, 2018 at 8:04 pm

        Is way easy to bop it, ust restrict them to 200HP, they wil still be the fastest ones in the class

      • Keith Johnson

        January 29, 2018 at 8:27 pm

        BOP dropped the power last year for the new Ford GT’s and they came in 2nd

    • Bob

      January 28, 2018 at 6:22 pm

      The inherently fastest car is allowed to win? The horrors!

      Today’s sportscar fans are already severely damaged by the age of BoP.

    • Andy Flinn

      January 29, 2018 at 4:06 pm

      Gimme, Team Corvette – not Ford/CGR – has won Sebring three years in a row.

  2. Azuma

    January 28, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    WOW, Amazing that No One could slow that Ford Freight Train down.

    Congrats CGR!

  3. borvette_bof

    January 28, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    Ford D̶o̶m̶i̶n̶a̶t̶e̶s̶ Sandbagged GTLM to Defend Rolex 24 Win *FTFY*

    • GrimBrother One

      January 28, 2018 at 4:22 pm

      The salt and denial is so real. Comments like these make me want to root for CGR even more lol.

    • Carl

      January 28, 2018 at 5:13 pm

      How did they sandbag? They were fastest nearly every session in the Roar and during practice. Seemed like they showed their pace.

  4. dave ott

    January 28, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    It is surprising that the Ford won, considering the sanctioning body is basically NASCAR, and anyone that is conscious knows NASCAR has been in bed with Government Motors for years.

    • Tyler Sanders

      January 28, 2018 at 3:10 pm


    • Andres

      January 28, 2018 at 8:08 pm

      LOL, your coment has no logic at all

    • Kyle

      January 28, 2018 at 8:11 pm

      That’s why Tundras and Camrys win often in NASCAR?

    • Greg

      February 1, 2018 at 6:12 pm

      That’s because small block chevy’s make more power reliably when your talking pushrod v8’s.

  5. Guy

    January 28, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Why are comments allowed on this site? It’s the same recycled BS over and over again.

  6. Steven

    January 28, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    IMSA gifted Ganassi his 200th win. This is why the FIA BoP is years ahead of what IMSA does.

  7. fourloko

    January 28, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    ford porsche ferarri and corvette all had the same BOP as the end of the year last year. shame bmw cant even make a car that can’t be competitive without being below the minimum weight

    • Max

      January 28, 2018 at 7:00 pm

      No sir. Bop was not the same. Fuel tank increase for Ford and decreased considerably for the RSR’S. They never had a chance. Mpg numbers simple

  8. nickp

    January 28, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    This is Chip Ganassi’s 200th overall win, with 56 coming in sports car racing.

  9. WBrowning

    January 28, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    Well done Ford. They definitely benefited even from the low number of yellow flags, it really let them stretch their legs and run away. With the difference in track layout, Sebring should not give them any pace advantage. So, like Jay said, I hope IMSA don’t over swing the pendulum like they have in the past, just giving someone else a huge advantage. By the way, the Risi Ferrari had the GTLM fastest lap of the race.

    • Jeff

      January 28, 2018 at 4:14 pm

      Speaking of Risi, I really hope they can manage to somehow get a full season together. Last year was pretty brutal for them.

  10. GrimBrother One

    January 28, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Perfect race run by the Ford GT crew. Absolutely brilliant, and really made all the sweeter by the salt that flows from folks who can’t handle it. Really awesome performance by the Lamborghini crew as well! Love seeing the mark come into it’s own and be able to stand beside the likes of Ferrari. Another wonderful 24H in the books!

  11. Sir Skidsalot

    January 28, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    It’s funny, the only difference in BoP vs. the Petite LeMans last year is that IMSA put in minimum wing angles for the Ford and Chevys and tweaked most everyone’s fuel capacity and flow restrictors. I don’t recall the Ford guys whining after both GTs coming in dead last, thou I do remember hearing that the BMWs were given that one.

    Until IMSA looks at track type, and BoPs for each type, some cars will excel at one type and have difficulties at others and vise versa. The sleek Ford GTs like long fast circuits, Corvettes like tighter tracks where their torque helps off the slow corners, etc.

  12. Jason

    January 28, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    Stop whining. Ford was the best team today. Even they broke the now previous overall Daytona 24 distance record.

    Great race who needs artificial full course yellows and a “run to the checkered” mad dash. The integrity of endurance won the day.

    • Jettrd

      January 28, 2018 at 8:38 pm

      Who needs it ? NASCAR thinks you do…
      Blessed relief from more “exciting pace car action bs”….almost like the good old days
      Like you said “the integrity of endurance ” was allowed to shine

    • MikeT66

      January 29, 2018 at 10:41 am

      “The integrity of endurance won the day.”
      Superb comment and absolutely correct.

  13. fourloko

    January 28, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    found m8 windtunnel results

    • Billthe3

      January 29, 2018 at 12:00 am

      ^ winning comment of the evening

  14. MikeT66

    January 29, 2018 at 12:38 am

    Congratulations to Ford – a great win. I think BoP was pretty good, looking at qualifying. What helped the Fords was the type of track (as mentioned) and the two cars having largely trouble-free runs – something few other cars managed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many tyre issues affecting cars like at Daytona 2018.

    • Andres

      January 29, 2018 at 2:31 pm

      Corvette did not had any problems during the race, well, we can say only BMW had some problems in race, still they could not keep up with them

  15. Mike S

    January 29, 2018 at 12:53 am

    Ford I am sure wants Daytona. I don’t know how that will fair over the season. Let’s let it play out. Ford wasn’t impressive last season at all. Sebring and sprints on unrelated tracks will be another story that won’t relate to Daytona. Oh and don’t forget BoP. But they have it pretty right I think as a whole.

  16. WBrowning

    January 29, 2018 at 1:06 am

    That’s what all the whiners forget, that BoP at Daytona and LeMans should differ from other tighter tracks. Last year the Fords were totally screwed at LeMans, and if not for Ferrari and Corvette crashes would have been last in class.

  17. David Chaste

    January 29, 2018 at 1:57 am

    It’s not BOP IMSa knows everything about the Ford. Once in a while you just have to admit that a team did their homework. They developed other components besides the engine.

    It’s like the Cadillac, on the Dyno it might have the exact same horsepower or even less than the Gibson engine but you can’t bop a better ecu, a more stable suspension, the acceleration rate.

    Ford only wishes Chip had chosen to enter 3 cars.

    • Andres

      January 29, 2018 at 2:34 pm

      Cadillac has more power than the spec Gibsons, in normal conditions, withut BOP they have about 30-50 more HP than the Gibsons

  18. MikeT66

    January 29, 2018 at 6:46 am

    From the Performance Ford website:

    “ All Ford entries who competed during the IMSA weekend bore a special decal for Ford racing legend Dan Gurney, who died Jan. 14, 2018. The serial number for the winning Ford EcoBoost engine at the Rolex 24 was “GT40.” ”

    A timely win, then, in honour of the great Dan Gurney.

    • Andy Flinn

      January 29, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      I saw that Gurney decal on more than just Ford entries this weekend. There was also a fitting memorial decal for Johnny Stevenson on several cars, including the Corvettes.

    • Greg

      January 29, 2018 at 8:44 pm

      Was about to say that too, the Dan Gurney decal was on just about every car this weekend.

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