Joey Hand spearheaded Ford’s sweep of the top three spots in GTLM Qualifying at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Fittingly, Hand’s No.66 Ford GT led the charge, followed by Richard Westbrook’s No.67 in second, and the No.68 of Olivier Pla in third. Ford is serious about victory this year, bringing along four cars to Daytona much like Le Mans 2016.
I have a great team,” Hand said. “It’s fun to be part of Ford Chip Ganassi Racing. They really know how to do this race, so you always come in with a big smile on your face. When you’re a driver with this program, you know you have a chance to win.”
“We’ve made a lot of progress since last year,” continued Hand. “Last year here it was the car’s first race and we didn’t know what to expect and we were just trying to turn some laps and make the thing go the distance. We’ve had time with it now, we’ve won a 24-hour race (in the GTE Pro category at the Le Mans 24). We know the car will go the distance and we’ve been able to spend time on performance, making the car quicker. Today we made a small change (between practice and qualifying) and just went for it, and I felt like we had something, but you just never know.”
While Le Mans is certainly important to the GT program, the first time Ford actually took the fight to Ferrari was during the first ever 24 hour race at Daytona when Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby took victory in a Mk.II GT40, months before Ford would take victory at La Sarthe.
The race gets underway January 28th at 2:30 pm, you can follow all the action, live, here.