- No.’s 66 and 67 Ford GTs eager to climb point standings at Laguna Seca as season nears conclusion
- Laguna Seca site of first Ford GT win (2016)
- WATCH: America’s Tire 250 (2hr40m), 5-8 p.m. ET, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. In the U.S. – FOX Sports 1; Outside the U.S. – IMSA.com
Two races remain in the fight for the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship titles and both Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT’s are still in the hunt.
The No’s 66 and 67 teams are third and fourth in the point standings, with 257 points apiece, 17 points behind the leader, heading into the America’s Tire 250 in Laguna Seca, Calif. on Sunday.
Ford is second in the manufacturers’ standings, two points behind the leader.
“It’s always nice to go back to Laguna Seca,” said Richard Westbrook, who finished second at Virginia International Raceway with co-driver Ryan Briscoe for the No. 67 team’s fifth podium of the year three weeks ago. “We have really fond memories there. Last year, we scored a really important first win for the Ford GT car at that race and personally, I have quite a good record there. This race has come at a good time. Both cars are running well; we’re both in the hunt for the championships. Ford is doing well in the manufacturers’ standings, so hopefully we can take a few points from the leading team and make (the season finale) Petit Le Mans a little more exciting.”
In 2016, Westbrook and Briscoe put together a stunning fuel mileage win that came at just the right time for the Ford CGR squad, giving them crucial momentum before the Le Mans 24 Hours. This year, the race was moved from May to September.
The No. 66 Ford GT team also has great data from the Central California track and are eager to get back on the podium with Central California native Joey Hand and Dirk Müller.
“Laguna Seca is one of my favorite tracks,” Müller said. “I really love the Corkscrew (five-story drop at turn eight). This year the race is different. It’s 2 hours, 40 minutes and we have everybody driving in one race, so it’s not like last year, where we had shorter races with the GT categories separated. It’ll be completely different but like I said, I’m really looking forward to it. Joey and myself were really strong there last year and I know Joey loves Laguna Seca as well. It’s only two more races left in the season, so we need to push hard and get the momentum right for the next race in Atlanta.”
Hand appreciates the extra support he gets from friends and family who attend.
“I think there’s something to be said for home track advantage for all sports,” Hand said. “For sure, for me, Laguna Seca is my home track. It’s good to have my wife and kids there and the last time they were there, we won (Road America). As a team, historically, we’ve had good cars at Laguna. Last year we had a strong car and so far every track we’ve gone to this year, we’ve had a better car than we had there last year. That’s what these guys at Ford CGR do well, their homework. There will be a lot of cars on track there this year. For Laguna Seca, this will be a thick field. Laguna is notorious for being difficult to pass, you have a lot of aero wash, so from my standpoint, I’d think we need to be starting from the front row. I think that needs to be our goal.”
The two-hour, 40-minute race will be broadcast from 5-8 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 (U.S.) and IMSA.com (outside the U.S.) on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
“We’ve had a bit of a break here since VIR,” said Team Principal Mike O’Gara. “We’ve been able to reset and get the cars rebuilt to go out west. The championship race is still pretty tight with our two cars tied for third. We’re very close to the top two cars. We’re looking just to run strong with both cars there and carry some momentum into Petit Le Mans at the beginning of October and fight for the championship with both cars.”