Ford GT Struggles In First Endurance Race—But Don’t Panic Yet
Building a proper endurance car takes time. Even though Ford has has a breadth of historical experience, that doesn’t mean the new Ford GT won’t go through some growing pains this year in its first full season on the track. This year’s Rolex 24 in Daytona was the world debut for the all-new GT racer. We were on hand to see the two cars would compete…and the result wasn’t exactly what Ford had hoped for. But that’s ok—here’s what happened. RELATED: See More of the 2016 Ford GT LM Race Car
Within the first hour of the race, GT no. 67 found itself with some transmission issues. The car wouldn’t budge from sixth gear. That meant some time for the GT in the garage while engineers figured out exactly how to fix the issue.
Just a few hours later, the no. 66 GT too found itself behind the wall in the garage. Brake and traction control issues were plaguing the vehicle, parking it for a long while. For a majority of the race, the two cars were some 20+ and 30+ laps behind the overall leader, and 15+ and 25+ behind the GTLM leader.
At the end of the day (literally), the two cars finished towards the back of the pack.
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It’s definitely not the result Ford was looking for on their first outing. But it’s no reason for them—or anyone else, for that matter—to panic. The cars actually ran pretty good while they were out, staying towards the front of the pack before the struggles.
The fastest lap time was 1:44.391, which would have been at the top of the pack. Taking into account a lead Ferrari in the same class didn’t crack 1:44 the whole race, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Ford has talented drivers and two cars capable of being competitive, if they can work out the kinks. Plenty of races to go, plenty of learning to do.
The next circuit gets slightly more difficult with Sebring, meaning they need to perfectly tune the car to adjust to the more difficult track, and make sure it lasts at the same time. Drivers know what to do. Here’s to hoping the new GT gets sees better results at Sebring.
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Photo Credit: Jeff Perez for BoldRide