Ford has now won back-to-back IMSA Rolex 24 at Daytona GTLM titles, after the pair of EcoBoost-powered GT's crossed the line in first and second.
The No.67 Ford GT driven by Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon combined for the win one year after its sister car, No. 66 Ford GT piloted by Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and Sebastien Bourdais, won. The cars ran nose to tail for most of the race, with on and off disturbances by the pair of Corvettes who were fast, but lost out to the GT's incredible fuel economy.
The win was historic for team owner Chip Ganassi, who notched his 200th win among all his teams when the No. 67 Ford took the checkered, both cars also broke a distance record for the race that has stood since 1982 after an abnormally clean race that was run under green for almost it's entirety.
Richard Westbrook also notched his first ever Rolex victory. “It was just an amazing 24-hour race,” said the Brit. “Racing with our teammates, they’re our friends, and racing that hard for 24 hours, there was just nothing in it. It felt like ages we were just one second apart. It was just incredible and was so intense. I thought we put on a really good show. To come away with the 200th win for Chip and have Dan Gurney on our car made it ever so sweet.”
The Fords wore a special decal honoring the late and legendary Dan Gurney, who died on January 14th after hearing about the Ford Mach 1 electric crossover. According to the PR department, the serial number for the winning Ford EcoBoost engine at the Rolex 24 was even “GT40,” you can't make this stuff up.
“It’s obviously a great win and a great weekend,” Ganassi said. “In terms of the win, it was one of the most nerve-wracking races. You know, when you come out of the blocks like that and leading it after about three or four hours or something. After a certain amount of hours go around the clock a little bit, it’s your race to lose. It’s one thing not to win a race, it’s another to lose it. It was our race to lose and those are one of the worst races from my point of view, because everything is out of my control. My hats off to the team, the drivers, the engineers, the mechanics, the people that build the engines, and the people who built the cars. They’re the ones that deserve to be sitting up here along with the drivers and myself.”
Along with being Ganassi's 200th win, it was also the program's 11th global win, including those earned in IMSA and the FIA World Endurance Championship. It was the fourth win for Westbrook and Briscoe, but their first since Mosport in 2016.
“To get to drive a Ford GT is just a dream come true and to win the Rolex 24 is just awesome,” Briscoe said.
“You always want to be the guy or the car that wins on a two-car team,” Hand said. “But for the program, it just goes to show that we had two flawless cars. I’ve never seen two cars run nose-to-tail for a whole 24 hours like we did. That just goes to show what these Ford Chip Ganassi Racing guys are capable of."