TrackWorthy - Mobil 1_#66_Ford GT_practice-2

Interview: Ford GT Race Car Driver Richard Westbrook

by TrackWorthy,

TrackWorthy - Mobil 1_#66_Ford GT_practice-2

The No. 66 and 67 Ford GT’s participating in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship are being campaigned by Chip Ganassi Racing out of Concord, North Carolina. Formed in 1980, Chip Ganassi Racing is one of the most successful racing teams of all time and participates in sportscar, IndyCar and NASCAR racing. They have won more than 200 races and 18 championships including 7 sports car championships, a record 7 wins at the Rolex 24 At Daytona as well as wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 12 Hours of Sebring. They have also won 11 IndyCar championships including 5 Indianapolis 500 races, and more than 30 NASCAR wins including the Daytona 500.

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Richard Westbrook (England) is partnered with Ryan Briscoe (Australia) in the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT and are currently in 2ndplace in the GTLM (Le Mans) standings. We spoke to Westbrook this summer on his trip to Canada for the Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, which is located about one-hour east of Toronto.


TrackWorthy: What’s it like driving our beautiful Canadian-built car?

Westbrook: It’s a special feeling knowing that we’ve got the factory just down the road where this car was born and where it’s being developed. We had a big, big crowd of Multimatic employees here last year which was a really special feeling. It reminds you of who started this project and where it all came from.
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TrackWorthy: How do you like Canadian Tire Motorsport Park?

Westbrook: It’s a lovely track. I’d say we’re struggling a bit right now to make the tires work on this unique surface but we’re getting better each run and hopefully we can have a good race. This tracks has been good for us. We had a win here on our debut year (2016) and a podium last year so hopefully we can repeat our success.
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TrackWorthy: Have you spent much time in the road-going Ford GT?

Westbrook: I’ve spend a bit of time in it enough to know how fast it is and how similar it is to the race car. It has the same characteristics. It has the same feel, it feels like a racing car. But then it will happily go to Canadian Tire and pick up your shopping or whatever. It has more power than the race car which is frustrating for us but they limit the power in our class obviously. It’s nice when you put your foot on the loud peddle on the road car.
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TrackWorthy: How similar is the road-going Ford GT to the race car?

Westbrook: They are similar, especially when you put it into track mode then the car goes into the torsion bar configuration which is how the race car is set up. You have to drive it the same way. You have to set the car up in a certain way going into the corner, then early on the power and the car really responds well to that, it squats down nicely. It’s a great car.
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Westbrook and Briscoe ended up winning the Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix in the GTLM (Le Mans) class beating both Corvettes which finished 2ndand 3rd. the sister car, the No. 66 Ford GT driven by Dirk Mueller (Germany) and Joey Hand (United States) finished 5th. The next race, which is the 12th race of the 13 race series, is the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans which takes place Saturday, October 13 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia. The final race of the season takes place on November 11th in Sebring, Florida.


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ARTICLE AND PHOTOGRAPHS © COPYRIGHT 2018 TRACKWORTHY GROUP LTD. AND GARY MAAVARA

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