Andy Priaulx Heads To Le Mans For FIA WEC Super Season Finale
It is the highlight of the FIA World Endurance Championship season and so Andy Priaulx can’t wait to get to Le Mans for next weekend’s iconic 24-hour race.
The number 67 Ford GT he is sharing with Harry Tincknell (GBR) and Jonathan Bomarito (USA) is of special significance as it has a livery celebrating Ford’s success at the race and also marking the manufacturer’s ‘au revoir’ to its factory Le Mans programme. “This will be quite an emotional event for all of us as it is the last one for Ford. I have had four amazing seasons racing in the WEC and will certainly miss this great group of people. I can’t thank them enough for their professionalism and friendship. This will be my sixth time at Le Mans and I have had some memorable races. I have been on the podium twice before, have led the race and so hope to be able to go out on a high,” he said. Looking at the significance of the car’s livery Andy said: “When I first saw the livery I was absolutely blown away. The one on our car pays homage to that on the Ford GT40 that won the race in 1976 with Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt driving. I don’t think it gets much better than paying tribute to such amazing drivers and such a fantastic car. Each of our Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs has a different livery representing landmarks form Ford’s participation in Le Mans. I like ours the best, but the other drivers have also become quite fond of theirs!” Andy was last at the track a week ago for the test and now can’t wait to get back for the real thing, as he explained: “I often think the word iconic is over used, but that is not the case with Le Mans. Every time I go out on that track I feel I am part of history. So many amazing races have taken place there and just to survive a 24 hour race round there is an achievement. I was on the second step of the podium in 2017 and nothing would give me more satisfaction than to give Ford a win when it is stepping away from this programme. The car has proved to be reliable and quick and we had a very good test, so I can’t see any reason to doubt that my aim can become a reality. We have some great opposition, so beating the other five manufacturers would give me great satisfaction.” At Le Mans, Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche, the usual five manufacturers in the WEC LMGTE Pro class, are joined by Corvette making it a 17 strong field for the race. While the track action doesn’t start until Wednesday, the fans can see the cars on Sunday and Monday in the centre of Le Mans where scrutineering takes place. For Andy’s car this technical inspection is on Monday at 16.20, although the drivers will have to present their documentation at 16.10. The cars will be on the 13.629 kilometre (8.469 mile) long track for the first time on Wednesday (12thJune) for free practice from 16.00 to 20.00, and then Qualifying 1 will be from 22.00 to 00.00. On Thursday Qualifying 2 will be from 19.00 to 21.00 and Qualifying 3 from 22.00 to 00.00. There is no track action on Friday, although the drivers are taken on a parade through the streets of Le Mans at 17.00. On Saturday warm-up is from 09.00 to 09.45 and the race starts at 15.00. All these times are local so CET and an hour ahead of BST.