Ryan Briscoe felt “really upset” after a final-lap clash with a GT Daytona-class Lamborghini sent his second-placed Ford GT tumbling down to sixth in GT Le Mans at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing driver was trying to hunt down Nick Tandy’s leading Porsche 911 RSR through traffic when he came to blows with Andy Lally in the Magnus Racing Huracan GT3 Evo through the Turn 15 sequence.
The resulting spin for Briscoe enabled Tandy to clear off and take a victory that he shared with his co-drivers Fred Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet, while Joey Hand assumed second place in the No. 66 Ford.
Briscoe said he was “disappointed” with the outcome after he and his co-drivers Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon led more laps than any other GTLM crew.
Ford displayed a strong pace at the front during Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round with the two Ganassi cars running 1-2 for long periods.
However, they were split up in the 11th hour when Hand lost a few positions while Tandy surged through the field to take the lead from Briscoe shortly after the final round of pit stops.
“At the restart I knew Tandy was going to be quick and he was going to be good on fuel at that point,” Briscoe told Sportscar365.
“So I was just going to try to stay with him through the traffic. I just had a run on Lally in Turn 15 and he just drove me straight up on the inside curb and I had nowhere to go.
“I talked to him and he apologized, but what are you going to do? I just can’t tell you how disappointed I am. Up until about three minutes before we had it in the bag, and then it turns to shit.
“That’s just IMSA racing and it’s the beauty of IMSA racing. But we were on the short end of the stick for it today.
“We had a great car, but it’s just disappointing not to capitalize on it. But the team were fantastic. I’m so proud of everyone. I’m just really upset at the moment about the result.”
Briscoe’s co-driver Westbrook added that the extended periods of incident-free running helped increase the gap between the Ford entries and the rest of the field in the first half of the race.
“I was happy with the start and how we handled the challenging conditions,” said the Englishman.
“We had great pace in the car and both Ford GTs just really came to life in the first half of the race. We just got into a really good rhythm and continued to build the gap.
“It also helped that there was a very limited amount of yellows up to that point. We lost the big gap we had, but that’s the GTLM class.
“I’m proud of the team and the effort overall and we look forward to Long Beach.”
John Dagys contributed to this report