CGRFS Wins in 12 Hours of Sebring Debut
SEBRING, Fla. (March 16, 2014) – Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) made its way to victory lane Saturday night in the 62nd 12 Hours of Sebring as the No. 01 Telcel Ford EcoBoost Riley with drivers Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, and Marino Franchitti finished first overall in the team’s first attempt in the 25-year history of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams. The No. 02 Big Machine Records/Comfort Revolution Ford EcoBoost Riley with drivers Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, and Sage Karam finished sixth and took top honors in the Patrón Endurance Cup for the Prototype (P) class and the season-ending $100,000 bonus.
Both CGRFS cars showed speed during the practice sessions on Thursday and Friday with at least one car finishing first in three of the four sessions. Pruett qualified the No. 01 Telcel Ford EcoBoost Riley ninth (1:53.456) and started the race by making a quick move up to the eight position in the first hour. Hour three produced another yellow that allowed Rojas to take over the wheel and jump to the fifth position.
Franchitti entered the cockpit in the sixth hour and advanced the No. 01 car up to the third position. Hour eight would show another driver change with Pruett stepping in again, until Franchitti would take back over for the team’s final stint in hour 11. Great strategy played out for the No. 01 team as Franchitti had the No. 01 car in fifth position before a yellow in the final hour allowed him to move into the lead, while the frontrunners all pitted. With only 22 minutes remaining, the field went green and Franchitti held off the No. 1 car in a battle for the lead. He then went on to secure the victory by 4.682 seconds, marking the closest-finish in race history.
The No. 02 Big Machine Records/Comfort Revolution Ford EcoBoost Riley qualified sixth (1:53.098) at the hands of Scott Dixon. The car showed strength early and jumped to the lead in hour three with Dixon at the wheel. He would hold onto that lead until he pitted in hour four, giving way for Karam to make his Sebring debut. Karam took the No. 02 car from the third position to the first position in his opening lap. Kanaan took control of the No. 02 car in hour six and moved up to the lead in his opening stint. Hour 10 saw the No. 02’s final driver change, as Dixon made his way up to the third position in hour 11 before another car forced him off track and back to sixth place, where the No. 02 Big Machine Records/Comfort Revolution Ford EcoBoost Riley would cross the finish line.
NOTES OF INTEREST:
CGRFS earned its first win in its first attempt at the race
Chip Ganassi Racing Teams is the first team to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Rolex 24 At Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring
This win marked Chip Ganassi Racing Teams’ 159th victory
Scott Pruett earned his second class win, the previous win being with former Olympian/television personality Bruce Jenner as a co-driver in a Ford Mustang (1986)
This was Pruett’s 57th victory in North American endurance sports car competition
Marino Franchitti set the fastest lap time of the three drivers in the No. 01 car with a lap time of 1:53.290 and Scott Dixon set the fastest lap time of the three drivers in the No. 02 car with a lap time of 1:52.968
The last overall win for Ford at the 12 Hours Of Sebring was in 1969
This was the first victory for new Ford EcoBoost turbocharged engine
There were 30 lead changes throughout the 12 Hours of Sebring (one shy of the event record)
The No. 02 car earned the most points from Sebring’s three segments toward the season-ending $100,000 Patrón Endurance Cup for the Prototype (P) class
Marino Franchitti – No. 01 Telcel Ford EcoBoost Riley:
“We’ve done a lot of hard work with the new rules, with the new engine and all of the development behind that. We’ve been working so hard, especially the team in Indianapolis. I was gutted not to get to the podium (at the Rolex 24). (This finish) was incredible. I just couldn’t believe we were in the position to go for the win. I knew it was ours to lose and I had to keep hitting my marks and getting my laps in. I’m sort of struggling to sit here and look at our names being at the top of the scoring charts, being victorious at Sebring. I’ve finished second overall here a couple of times. I won P2 last year, but to win overall, and know that we’re going to see the Ford banner up there in the pits when I come back next year. That’s pretty special. This was certainly the biggest day of my career and for Chip to win his first 12 Hours of Sebring, it’s just been amazing.”
Scott Pruett No. 01 Telcel Ford EcoBoost Riley: “It’s incredible after all of those victories you hope to get, this was still the one on my bucket list. I’ve won here in class but never won overall. It’s even more exciting to win it overall and to win it for Ford both times. I can’t say enough about the Ganassi group. We all worked together as a team and kept digging. To the see the two groups come together and what the future looks like for road racing, it’s a pretty special thing right now.”
Memo Rojas – No. 01 Telcel Ford EcoBoost Riley: “I am very proud to be among those who have won the race. Those last 20 minutes were tough. It was one of those races you hope to win and be in a position to win it shows how hard our Ganassi team worked to do it.”
Scott Dixon – No. 02 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Ford EcoBoost Riley: “It was a tough race, that’s for sure. I think overall our cars had the speed and we showed that throughout the weekend – both in practice and during the 12 hours. We had a few tough setbacks with the No. 02 car and issues with traffic or cars forcing us off track that we just couldn’t recover from in the end. I’m proud of the job the guys on the Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records team did and am looking forward to coming back here and running a Prototype the next time our schedule allows it.”
Jamie Allison – Ford Racing Director: “You read about stuff like this. The last time Ford won overall was in 1969 and what really makes it so sweet is that this is a win made possible by a production-based Ford EcoBoost. Literally it comes out of our production vehicle. It just makes it so, so sweet because it validates what we do at Ford, that the technology we have in our cars is good enough to power an all-out win here at the 12 Hours of Sebring.”
The next TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race for the CGRFS season-long effort in the No. 01 Telcel Ford EcoBoost Riley with Pruett and Rojas will be on the Streets of Long Beach in Long Beach, Calif. on April 12 (6:00 pm ET FOX Sports 1).
About Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
Chip Ganassi has been a fixture in the auto racing industry for over 25 years and is considered one of the most successful as well as innovative owners the sport has anywhere in the world. Today his teams include four cars in the IndyCar Series, two cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and one Prototype in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Overall his teams have 17 championships and over 150 victories, including four Indianapolis 500s, a Daytona 500, a Brickyard 400, five Rolex 24 At Daytonas and the 12 Hours of Sebring. Ganassi boasts state-of-the-art race shop facilities in Indianapolis and Brownsburg, Ind. and Concord, N.C., with a corporate office in Pittsburgh, Penn.
For more information log onto chipganassiracing.com