Fords GT Takes Top Two Spots in Japan

Steve Cole Smith
Fords GT Takes Top Two Spots in Japan

The Europe-based Ford GT team – like its American counterpart, also operating under the Ford Chip Ganassi banner – has been overshadowed by the U.S. team, with the biggest affront being the class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans by one of the Indianapolis-based cars, a slap in the face for anyone European.

This weekend, the British Ford GTs came into their own with a strong one-two victory at the FIA WEC Six Hours of Fuji in the GTE-Pro class, the equivalent here of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Le Mans class.

The No. 67 Ford GT of Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell, replacing the apparently-dismissed Marino Franchitti, went to the lead early over the No. 66 entry of Stefan Mucke Olivier Pla, and that’s how they finished 212 laps later.

The two AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTEs were third and fourth. Not to take away from the Fords’ victory, but there were only seven cars in the class.

In LMP1, it was Toyota, Audi, Porsche and Toyota, with all four on the lead lap. In the largest class, LMP2, the G-Drive Racing’s Oreca-powered Nissan won. Fourth and fifth were the U.S.-based Extreme Speed Ligier-Nissans, with Ryan Dalziel, Pipo Derani and Chris Cumming in the fifth-place car. When Extreme Speed returns to full-time IMSA racing next season, Dalziel is expected to rejoin the team full-time.

And in LMGTE Am, Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda took the apparently unstoppable Aston Martin Vantage V8 to another victory. The Larbre Chevrolet Corvette was en route to a podium with guest driver Ricky Taylor when a mechanical issue dropped the car to sixth.

The FIA WEC has two races left in its season.