The Lone Star Le Mans is one of the biggest sports car events of the season, bringing together both the IMSA and WEC paddocks down at COTA.
This was only the second time all four Ford GTs were racing in the same place, the first being their historic GTE-Pro double podium at Le Mans in June.
If Le Mans was the high of the season, the trip to COTA was definitely a low.
In the WEC race the No. 67 Ford GT of Marino Franchitti, Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell came home in P4, posting the best performance of the Fords all weekend. Its sister, the No. 66 Ford GT of Stefan Mücke and Olivier Pla came home in P7 after a tough night in Texas.
“It was a tough day for us with a lot of the racing not going our way,” said Raj Nair, executive vice president, Global Product Development and chief technical officer. “The No. 66 car had a lot of speed, especially at the end but with an AC compressor issue early on we were out of the running. We need to look at the #67 car and see why we didn’t get a little more speed out of it today. So all in all a tough day but we’re looking forward to the next race and we’ll do better then.”
The next round of the World Endurance Championship takes place in Japan on 16 October.
If the WEC pairing had a tough run, the IMSA sisters had a positively nightmarish day with contact ruining the race for both Ganassi run cars.
On the opening lap the No.66 Ford GT of Dirk Muller and Joey Hand was shoved off track by one of the BMW M6s, which put the No.66 more than half a lap down before it could return to racing. As a result the No.66 would come home in a disappointing P6.
The No.67 of Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook suffered an even worse fate when the No.4 Corvette C7.R chopped its nose, causing contact that would break the cars steering rack. The team would lose 13 laps in the pits trying to repair the damage. By the time it returned to the track the best place it could achieve was a disappointing P9.
The finish left Bricoe and Westbrook with an 11-point deficit to the series leading Corvette heading into the series finale at Road Atlanta. With 36 points possible from a win, it’s still mathematically possible the No.67 could win the championship in its first season, but it will take a bit of luck.