Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Seeks Third Straight Victory In Austin
Thursday, September 8, 2016

Joey Hand will be looking to continue a two-year winning streak for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas when he joins Dirk Mueller in the No. 66 Ford GT at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Lone Star Le Mans on Saturday, Sept. 17 (live, FS2, 12:30 p.m. ET).

The team has back-to-back overall victories in the event when it previously competed in the Prototype class. Last year, Hand joined Scott Pruett in the Ford EcoBoost Riley Daytona Prototype, successfully defending the victory for Pruett and Memo Rojas in that car from 2014.

Now, Hand and Mueller will be looking to continue that success in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class in the new Ford GT.

Hand and Mueller matched their season-best result from the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen with a second-place finish in the most recent event at VIRginia International Raceway. Teammates Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe have three victories in the No. 67 Ford GT and are only seven points behind in the battle for the GTLM championship. Even though the team is new to COTA with the Ford GT, Hand feels they will be ready when they unload next week.

“Last year with the DP car, we were dominant,” Hand recalled. “The setup from the DP doesn’t quite match up with the GT, but there are trends our engineers learn from different tracks that go a long way in preparing the car. To be honest, there are a lot of tracks we’ve been good right off the trailer in our first year there with the Ford GT, and that shows how good the team is with their homework. The preparation they do between races is really where they shine, and we had a good test at COTA last week.

“I believe COTA is a ‘new age’ driver’s track, unlike traditional circuits which use the topography of the land,” Hand continued. “I feel I’m pretty good at learning race tracks, and when I first went there it took me a while to learn. You have to find little idiosyncrasies of how to make speed there. Fortunately, I’ve got to spend a lot of time there with racing and car launches, and having a ton of laps at that particular place goes a long way towards finding speed.”

McCutcheon, Godstone Ranch Return To IMSA In Partnership With TRG-AMR

After sitting on the sidelines for three years to grow a new business, Texan John McCutchen will return to racing at Circuit of The Americas, driving the No. 007 TRG-AMR Godstone Ranch/On Time Electric/Order of St John/Upstream Engineering Aston Martin Vantage.

“I had to retire from racing for a couple of years after buying a company in Houston called On Time Electric,” McCutchen said. “When you buy a company, that instantly requires an unbelievable amount of time and effort that doesn’t allow you time to do anything else. Now I feel is the time to get Godstone Ranch doing what it wants to do. I’m looking forward to being involved in the new organization, and COTA is our home track – a track that I know.”

McCutchen will co-drive with an Aston Martin factory driver yet to be announced.

“I’ve never driven the car before, but I’m going to test it early next week at a local track,” McCutchen said. “All I’ve got to do is keep it out of the wall for 45 minutes or an hour. To do well, we need to have somebody who really knows the car. I’m not going to be the fastest Pro-Am driver – IMSA has some Pro-Am drivers who are incredible – but COTA is such a long track it’s possible to stay on the lead lap. To do well for the last part of the race, you need a guy who’s done some racing, because those pros in GTD are really good.”

Godstone Ranch promotes the two-step life-saving Hands-Only CPR technique, raising awareness and funds for the American Heart Association. Ally Babineaux – who has had two heart transplants and was dubbed the Bionic Bride by People magazine – will carry the fire bottle over the wall on pit stops.

“Heart health is so critical, that’s why we continue to do what we’re doing,” McCutchen said. “We’ve gotten a law passed in Texas requiring that Hands-Only CPR be taught in K-12 schools. We’ve got a great mission, and it’s great to have Aston Martin and TRG involved.”

Those wanting to join in on the cause can visit Godstoneranch.org or email Jmccutchen@godstoneranch.org

Partners