Andy Priaulx might not have driven the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT before at the iconic Rolex 24 at Daytona, but this is far from a new event for the triple world champion, as he has competed in the Florida race for the past three years. This year he will be driving the number 69 car with his regular team mate and fellow Brit Harry Tincknell and Brazilian racing legend Tony Kanaan, who has a win at the Indy 500 to his name.
“To say I am excited about getting back there again to drive the car on that banking is an understatement. I was able to get used to it again when I was at the Roar earlier this month and the car handled incredibly well. Ford is making a huge commitment to the race with four cars entered and I am feeling very positive about our chances of the top step of the podium. I have experienced this race in various different cars and classes . I was in GTLM in 2014, when we finished second in class by just a second, GTD in 2015 and last year I had the thrill of driving the Chip Ganassi Prototype car and finished fifth,” explained the Guernsey driver.
This race is a one-off in Andy’s schedule, as this season he will again be driving the Ford GT in the FIA World Endurance Championship. He explained a bit about what he faces in this US race: “The IMSA rules are very different to those of the WEC, but I hope my experience in the past in the GTLM car will pay off in that situation. If we can have a smooth run and stay on the lead lap we have a great chance of winning this race.”
In the race there will be a four car contingent from Ford Chip Ganassi with the number 66 car driven by Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and Sébastien Bourdais, the number 67 by Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon and the number 68 by Stefan Mücke, Olivier Pla and Billy Johnson.
The event at the 3.56 mile Daytona International Speedway is the first round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and the first track action is on Thursday, 26th January with FP1 from 10.20 to 11.20. This is followed by FP2 from 13.30 to 14.00 and then qualifying for all classes – GTD, GTLM, PC and P – with each having a separate 15 minute session. The GTLM class qualifying is from 15.35 to 15.50 . Then FP3 is held in the dark from 19.00 to 20.30. On Friday there will be FP4 from 10.00 to 11.00 and finally the 55th Rolex 24 at Daytona will start at 14.30 on Saturday and finish at 14.30 on Sunday.
2017 FIA WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR
16th April – 6 Hours of Silverstone – GBR
6th May – WEC 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps – BEL
17th/18th June – Le Mans 24 Hours – FRA
16th July – 6 Hours of Nürburgring –DEU
3rd September – 6 Hours of Mexico City – MEX
16th September – 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas – USA
15th October – 6 Hours of Fuji – JAP
5th November – 6 Hours of Shanghai – CHN
18th November – 6 Hours of Bahrain – BHR