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Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Takes IMSA Win At Lime Rock Park

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Ford

LAKEVILLE, CT (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Richard Westbrook passed Earl Bamber with a tick over 6-and-a-half minutes remaining to win IMSA’s Northeast Grand Prix Saturday afternoon at Lime Rock Park.

The victory was the first IMSA WeatherTech Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) victory of the season for Westbrook, co-driver Ryan Briscoe and the No. 67 Ford GT of Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team.

“I had to pick my moment,” Westbrook said.  “I just had to be patient with the 912 and when the opportunity came, it was a matter of taking it.  There was a lot of marbles off-line.  I got it just right.”

The Ganassi team utilized a three-stop strategy whereas Bamber and his Porsche GT team opted for a two-stop strategy and for a large portion of the race it looked like it would pay off. The Porsche GT teams combined to lead 140 of the race’s 182 laps around the 1.474-mile circuit.

“We didn’t think we’d have the pace, so we went into the race with the goal of doing a three-stop strategy,” said Briscoe.  “We knew the tire life on two stops was going to be really difficult for everyone, so we just committed to it and knew we had to put the lap time in on fresh tires when everyone else was falling off and it worked out.”

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Ryan Briscoe (left) congratulates Richard Westbrook after the co-drivers win the IMSA race at Lime Rock Park.

Bamber and co-driver Laurens Vanthoor wound up second for their fifth podium result in seven races on the season.

The No. 66 Ford GT made it a double-podium for the Ganassi team as co-drivers Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller, the defending race winners, finished third.

“It was just an amazing race to be part of, fighting with two Porsches and my teammate, it was really close out there,” said Westbrook.

Bamber and Vanthoor’s second place finish extended their Championship lead in the GTLM standings to 8-points, 218-210, over their No. 911 Porsche teammates Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet, who finished fourth.

The next race for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the IMSA Road Race Showcase at Road America on Sunday, August 4th.

IndyCar

Chip Ganassi Racing Unveils Season 2 of Trading Cards Series

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Chip Ganassi Racing

ST. PETERSBURG, FL (March 7, 2024) – Sports fans have a great opportunity to get their hands on some cool Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) team-official collectables and help out a great cause in the process.

CGR unveiled Season 2 of their classic trading card series Thursday, benefitting The American Legion and their Be The One initiative, which is a national platform to reduce the rate of veteran suicide. The program destigmatizes asking for mental health support, provides peer-to-peer support and resources and educates people on how they can Be The One.  Everyone can Be The One by asking veterans in your life how they are doing, listening when a veteran needs to talk and reaching out when a veteran is struggling.

Fans are invited to make a $10 donation for a single pack of eight random cards, drawing from the collection of 36 unique designs. Bulk ordering options are also available again, with quantities offered at 5, 10 and 20 packs.

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“We are excited to see the return of the Chip Ganassi Racing trading cards,” said Dean Kessel, Chief Marketing Officer of The American Legion. “This project was wildly popular last season because it not only provides a remarkable product to race fans across the country, but it also directly impacts our mission to support the veteran community and save lives. We’re proud of this partnership that continues to make a positive impact on the lives of those who have served our nation.”

Season 2 of the #CGRCards feature standard cards, unique chrome cards and rare, autographed inserts from the current Chip Ganassi Racing NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver lineup.

The chrome cards feature notable achievements from this past season and throwbacks to Chip Ganassi Racing lore, including ‘The Pass’ at Laguna Seca by Alex Zanardi, CGR’s first championship with Jimmy Vasser in 1996 and the team’s first Indianapolis 500 win in 2000 with Juan Pablo Montoya.

The trading cards will be available exclusively at ChipGanassiRacing.com/CGRCards. Only 2,000 packs of cards will be available through the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season so be sure to make a donation today and collect all 36 cards.

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Sports Cars

Penske And Porsche Atop The Podium At Rolex 24 At Daytona

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IMSA

DAYTONA, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Porsche Penske Motorsports Felipe Nasr held off the hard-charging Whelen Cadillac of Tom Blomqvist to win the twice around the clock Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.

Nasr took the lead for the final time when the No. 7 Porsche crew gave him a quicker pit stop than the No. 31 Cadillac crew could manage for Blomqvist under a full-course caution with 43 minutes remaining. Blomqvist hounded Nasr for the last half-hour but could never get close enough to attempt a pass for the lead.  Nasr’s margin of victory was 2.112-seconds.

The victory was the first Rolex 24 At Daytona overall win for team owner Roger Penske in 55 years and the first for Porsche in 14 years.

“I’ll tell you, this goes down as one of the biggest wins we’ve had,” said Penske.

Penske’s last win at the Rolex 24 came in 1969 when Mark Donohue and Chuck Parsons drove a Lola T-70/Chevrolet to victory.  Penske also claimed a class win in 1966.

“When you think about 1969, when we won here with a Lola, things were a lot different in those days,” said Penske. “Just to see the competitiveness, where six or seven tenths of a second was the difference after 24 hours of racing, it’s unbelievable.”

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It was also the first Rolex 24 Daytona class victory for team owner Giuseppe Risi, whose Houston-based squad took victory in the Gran Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) as the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3 claimed the class victory with drivers Daniel Serra, Davide Rigon, Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado.

“Giuseppe deserves it,” Calado said of the team owner who started competing in sports car racing in 1998. “He’s wanted it for a long time. I’m happy for him, and I’m happy for us. It’s a great way to start the year and puts us in good stead for the rest of the year.”

Risi has claimed multiple class victories over the years at Le Mans, Sebring and Petit Le Mans. But until Sunday, it had not celebrated victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

“This is the race that I was missing, that I really wanted to win,” said Serra, who drove the final stint. “Today is one of the happiest days of my racing career.”

The No. 18 Era Motorsport took the victory in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class with co-drivers Dalziel, Dwight Merriman, Christian Rasmussen and Connor Zilisch.

The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3 claimed victory in the Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class with drivers

Winward Racing’s No. 57 Mercedes-AMG GT3 was victorious in the Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) class, the car shared by Russell Ward, Philip Ellis, Indy Dontje and Daniel Morad.

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Sports Cars

Debris Derails Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing Rolex 24 At Daytona

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Cadillac Racing

DAYTONA, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing’s Rolex 24 at Daytona started off on the front row and was going well until disaster struck just before half-way through the twice around the clock endurance race.

Sebastien Bourdais had just taken the lead in the No. 01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R when he ran over a piece of debris in the infield second of the speedway.  Moments later the car suffered a punctured tire, Bourdais slid off track and miraculously managed to stop the car just shy of hitting the tire barrier.

Bourdais limped the car back to pit lane for a tire change, but the No. 01 was two laps down. The No. 01 was still a lap behind the leaders at the 12-hour mark and was forced to retire with a mechanical issue in the powertrain.

“This end result is obviously disappointing because everyone at Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing has put in so much work to get to this point,” said Bourdais. “We showed that we had the pace to compete in this race, but things just didn’t fall our way. We continued to push until the very last minute.”

“I was really moving; I came through the field so easily,” said co-driver Renger van der Zande, who worked the No. 01 Caddy back to P4 before the issue. “The car was lightning fast and credit to Cadillac and the Ganassi team to give us such a big car to win a race like this. It’s just a shame it has to end like this so early.”

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Several other GTP competitors suffered issues that removed their chance to contend for the win or put that chance in peril.

Just more than eight hours into the contest, the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06 with driver Filipe Albuquerque slowed to a stop on track, bringing out the eighth full-course caution of the race. The car was carried on a flatbed truck to the garage area where it underwent a lengthy diagnosis before the team worked to replace the wiring harness. After a 90-minute repair, the No. 10 returned to the track but was nearly 100 laps off the pace.

“I started feeling something burning in the Bus Stop (Le Mans Chicane),” Albuquerque said. “I thought it was a GT (car) in front and said nothing, but then after I passed it the smell was the same. Then when I put it in seventh gear on the straight line, the engine died. I lost all the power in the car, all the systems.”

The No. 10’s sister car, the No. 40 WTRAndretti Acura, suffered what appeared to be a similar issue just before the 12-hour juncture when it came to a stop on track with Louis Deletraz at the wheel. But with help from the track safety crew, Deletraz restarted the car and lost just a lap.

The two BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8s were also still running, albeit several laps off the pace.

Porsche Penske Motorsports and the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac have been the dominant leaders in GTP and overall.

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