The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team have let it be known to MotorMartin that they head east again this week for the penultimate round of the FIA World Endurance Championship. After a difficult weekend at Fuji, Japan, the team will have to pull out all of the stops to get back into contention for a championship win.
The team have previously shared with MotorMartin that the 6 Hours of Shanghai was the scene of a memorable 1-2 finish for the Ford GTs in 2016, but WEC team principal, George Howard-Chappell, knows that one good result doesn’t guarantee another.
"More than anything we would like to have a drama free race after the trials of Fuji," Howard-Chappell Explained to MotorMartin recently. "It all unravelled for the #67 car after the pit lane penalty, but the guys in the #66 Ford GT did an outstanding job to race with very little visibility (due to an issue with the car’s wiper). Shanghai was a good event for us last year. We have two more races to go and we are prepared and ready to give it everything we’ve got."
Andy Priaulx (GB) and Harry Tincknell (GB) took the win for Ford in Shanghai in 2016. Last year was their first visit to the Shanghai International Circuit, but practising on a simulator before heading to China paid dividends for the pair. After losing their lead in the driver’s world championship at Fuji they need to have a strong weekend in China.
"For Harry and me it’s all about having the perfect weekend and getting back in the fight for the championship," Priaulx said. "Shanghai was a good track for us last year so hopefully we can produce the same result this time around. Fuji was a strange one for us with very unusual conditions, so now we need a strong race with no drama. There are two more races to go and we’re still in it and still feeling positive. Shanghai is a circuit that suits our car so we need to be going there to score maximum points. It’s win or bust!"
Incredibly, Stefan Mücke (GER) and Olivier Pla (FRA) had the unenviable task of driving in the rain with no wipers in Fuji, but despite this they finished a very creditable fourth. After securing second place at Shanghai in 2016 the drivers of the #66 Ford GT would love to go one better this weekend.
"I’m looking forward to this race as Shanghai should suit our car," Mücke said. "The weather will hopefully be better than Fuji and the warmer temperatures are always better for us. We go there to fight for the podium or a win, and I really hope we can be competitive. It’s a good track with a good mix of corners, including a very long straight and a special 100 degree Turn One. It’s unique and I like it. Let’s hope we have a clear race and clear weather."
The first free practice session gets underway in Shanghai on Friday, Nov. 3 at 11:00 local time (03:00 GMT) with further sessions taking place on Friday at 15:30 (07:30 GMT) and Saturday, Nov. 4 at 09:00 (01:00 GMT). Qualifying is on Saturday at 14:00 (06:00 GMT) and the lights go green for the 6 Hours of Shanghai at 11:00 (03:00 GMT) on Sunday, Nov. 5.
MotorMartin can’t wait.
Where will you go?