By: Kobe Lambeth
Ford and Chip Ganassi Racing has confirmed that Olivier Pla, Andy Priaulx, Stefan Mucke, and Marino Franchitti will pilot the Ford GT in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Although the driver pairings have not been announced, Chip Ganassi Racing adds four high-quality drivers in its debut season to the international championship.
Olivier Pla joins the team after spending last season as a Nissan LMP1 factory driver. However, he quickly found a new job after the Nissan program concluded. This might be his first factory GT program, but I believe that Pla is going to bring speed and experience to Chip Ganassi Racing’s new program. It is definitely going to be interesting to see how he transitions from Prototype to GT racing.
Andy Priaulx ended his run as a BMW factory driver to join the new for 2016 Ford GT program. He brings experience from the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship, European Le Mans Series, and the FIA World Touring Car Championship (three-time champ). Priaulx is a great asset to the Ford GT program. It will be interesting to see him race in GTE-Pro. BMW is definitely going to miss him.
Stefan Mucke brings his experience from Aston Martin Racing to Chip Ganassi Racing. Having run many races in the FIA World Endurance Championship, it was smart to sign him for this program. He is definitely going to bring speed to this program. I am looking forward to seeing him go head to head with his former teammate, Darren Turner.
Marino Franchitti is finally getting the factory drive that he deserved a very long time ago. He joins Chip Ganassi’s Ford GT program after previously helping the team win the 12 Hours of Sebring in the Number 01 Ford DP in 2014 with Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. It will be exciting to see how he races against the best GT drivers in the world. I commend Chip Ganassi for giving Marino this fantastic opportunity.
I believe that Chip Ganassi’s debut season in the FIA World Endurance Championship will be a memorable one as they have four drivers with fantastic credentials. Each driver will bring something special to the organization as Ford returns to international GT racing. I look for the team to contend for wins in their inaugural season.
Also, Chip Ganassi Racing confirmed that Sebastien Bourdais and Stefan Mucke will be their endurance drivers for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Bourdais, an IndyCar driver, joins the Ford GT program after spending the past few seasons with Action Express Racing. Mucke will race in the Rolex 24, in addition to his full-time drive with the team in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Sebastien Bourdais will drive the Number 66 Ford GT with Joey Hand and Dirk Muller. Stefan Mucke joins Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe in the Number 67 Ford GT.
Chip Ganassi Racing is going to be dangerous in GTLM this season. They have a strong lineup with drivers who bring speed and experience. I am so excited to see the renewed rivalry between Ford and Corvette. Two American manufacturers battling it out with the likes of Porsche, BMW, and Ferrari.
For more information on this topic, go to: http://www.chipganassiracing.com