Michelin Double Stint No Trouble For Ford At CTMP
A perfectly timed pit strategy and the ability to effectively double-stint their Michelin tires helped Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook take their third consecutive GTLM class victory in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship here at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
“We didn’t have the fastest car so we went on an alternate strategy,” said Westbrook. “When we pitted with an hour and 20 minutes to go and the track getting hotter, the team engineers and our Michelin engineer made the call to go to the medium temperature range MichelinN tires,” said Westbrook.
“We expected to make another stop for fuel, but I knew that we were not planning to change tires again,” said Briscoe who drove the final half of the race on the historic 2.459 mile 10 turn circuit on the same set of Michelin tires.
“Having tires capable of performing at a high level for the final one hour and twenty minutes on a hot, fast, and technically difficult track gives teams a great tactical option and the Ford CGR guys played it to perfection,” said Ken Payne, technical director motorsports, Michelin North America.
When their top rivals pitted with just under one hour remaining in the two-hour forty minute race, the CGR team had Briscoe stay out and build a gap, then pit for a short splash of fuel with 48 minutes remaining. He emerged with a 10 second lead and more than enough pace to score the victory.
The win moves the No. 67 Ford team and Briscoe and Westbrook to within five points (192-187) of the WeatherTech GTLM Championship leading No. 4 Corvette and drivers Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin who finished second. They were followed by Corvette Racing’s pole winning Antonio Garcia/Jan Magnussen and BMW’s Dirk Werner/Bill Auberlen.
The victory, is the fourth consecutive major victory for Ford, including its milestone class victory at last month’s Le Mans 24 Hour Race won by Ford CGR’s Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais.
“Having the performance to successfully double stint here is a tribute to our Michelin tire developers, engineers and the collaborations with the teams,” said Payne. “The track temperatures progressed from 95F degrees at the start to 120F degrees at the finish of the two hour 40 minute race,” said Payne
Next stop on the 2016 WeatherTech Championship is the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park, CT on July 23. The race will be broadcast live on Fox Sports.