Skip to content

Ganassi, Pruett excited for Ford future

Nov 7, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

Indianapolis 500 - Practice Getty Images

Tuesday’s announcement – a long-awaited and anticipated confirmation that Chip Ganassi Racing’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship effort would switch from BMW to Ford Ecoboost engines – changes the game in the merged series before it’s even run its first race.

How, you ask? The Michael Shank Racing team was likely to be Ford’s flagship team, and it has had the longest history with the manufacturer in GRAND-AM Rolex Series history. Ganassi, though, brings the championship pedigree (five GRAND-AM titles, the last three with BMW) and consistent week-in, week-out threat to win that Shank’s team has often struggled to produce.

That’s no knock on Shank, but when you’re the scrappy, plucky underdog compared to the “Goliath” that is CGR, it’s always more of an uphill struggle to achieve the same results on a regular basis.

If nothing else, Ganassi has given himself a new nickname as a result of the partnership.

“You can call me ‘Mr. Detroit,’ I guess, with having both Ford and Chevrolet now,” Ganassi told me Tuesday at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

“For many years we’ve been in different series, with IndyCar, sports car and NASCAR, and we’ve been under three manufacturers for a long time. So now, we’re down to two manufacturers. It’s exciting and it’s really no different than a car dealer with more brands under his belt.”

Indeed it’s Ganassi who has spread his wings to have two of North America’s “Big Three” auto manufacturers at once. But while the decision to not bring everything under the Chevrolet umbrella may come as a surprise, Ganassi explained that the Ecoboost platform, a turbocharged V6 built more for efficiency, was a better fit for his sports car operation.

“I’ve been a proponent of ‘economy car,’ mileage, ‘going green,’ renewable, all these sort of buzzwords over the last 10 years,” he said. “Somewhere along the line we lost ‘performance.’ With Ecoboost, we’ll have economy, and performance. I’ve been preaching that you can have that in racing. It’s about using the least fuel as you can to get to the finish, right?”

Lead driver of one of the CGR Riley Ford Daytona Prototypes is Scott Pruett, himself a five-time Rolex DP champion and a five-time overall winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

For Pruett, the switch to Ford marks a homecoming and an anniversary. He’s also driven for the “blue oval” in IndyCar and NASCAR.

“The last time was when Doug Yates, interestingly, was building the engines on the ’32 Tide ride,'” Pruett said. “And it’s pretty interesting, I was telling the Ford guys this story. 30 years ago this month was my first opportunity to drive a big car, and it was a Ford: a front-engined Mustang GTP, ’83, Elkhart Lake, Wis.”

Pruett explained the challenges the DP teams are facing with such a condensed timeline between making this announcement and upgrading the car with the necessary performance and aero adjustments, before the team’s first scheduled test December 14-15 at Daytona. One of the few constants is staying in Continental Tires, which P2 teams need to adapt to.

“We’re getting the engine fit, components organized; it’s a lot of reorganization to move from a normally aspirated V8 to a turbocharged V6, and do all the other updates,” he said.

“It’s unfortunate (all the rule news) is coming now, because realistically this should have happened in June and July. That makes it more difficult for the teams, considering the reality that this largely falls on the Daytona Prototype guys, not the P2 guys.”

Ganassi confirmed two DPs will run at the Rolex 24 and continues to pursue the second full-season car there. The team adds a fourth IndyCar for Tony Kanaan in 2014, and remains constant with two Chevrolets in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Latest Posts
  1. Porsche powers to 1-2 in final Nürburgring WEC practice

    Aug 29, 2015, 4:38 AM EDT

    © FIA WEC © FIA WEC

    Marc Lieb storms to the top of the timesheets in the no. 18 Porsche, heading up a 1-2 finish in FP3.

  2. Power sets the pace in Sonoma’s Friday marathon session

    Aug 28, 2015, 9:11 PM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    A long day on Friday ends with Will Power on top of the timesheets.

  3. Drivers reflect on Wilson at Sonoma (VIDEO)

    Aug 28, 2015, 8:11 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Quick series of interviews and tributes flow in for Justin Wilson on site at Sonoma.

  4. NHRA: Don Schumacher Racing releases Spencer Massey effective immediately

    Aug 28, 2015, 7:16 PM EDT

    AP AP

    The 10th place driver in NHRA Top Fuel standings gets released from his contract at DSR.

  5. Karam reflective, thinking of Wilson family upon heading to Sonoma

    Aug 28, 2015, 6:40 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Sage Karam speaks with reporters Friday at Sonoma Raceway.

  6. MotoGP: Marquez, Lorenzo lead the way in British GP practice at Silverstone

    Aug 28, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    BRNO, CZECH REPUBLIC - AUGUST 14:  Marc Marquez of Spain and Repsol Honda Team rounds the bend during the MotoGp of Czech Republic - Free Practice at Brno Circuit on August 14, 2015 in Brno, Czech Republic.  (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Marquez and Lorenzo continue their fight at the front of the MotoGP field in practice at Silverstone on Friday.

  7. Renault e.dams confirms Prost and Buemi for upcoming Formula E season

    Aug 28, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    E.Dams-Renaults Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi drives during qualifying practice at the 2015 FIA Formula E London ePrix championship at Battersea Park in London on June 28, 2015. AFP PHOTO / IAN KINGTON        (Photo credit should read IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Prost and Buemi retained by the defending teams’ champion for season two.

  8. Lieb: Porsche pumped up following Le Mans success

    Aug 28, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    Germany's Marc Lieb steers his Porsche 919 during the 83rd Le Mans 24-hours endurance race, on June 14, 2015 in Le Mans, western France. Fifty-six cars with 168 drivers participate on June 13 and 14 in the Le Mans 24-hours endurance race. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANT        (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Porsche will debut a new aero kit at this weekend’s 6 Hours of Nürburgring in Germany.

  9. Bottas expected more from Williams in 2015

    Aug 28, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 23:  Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Williams drives during the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 23, 2015 in Spa, Belgium.  (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Finnish driver admits Williams expected to be further ahead than it is.

  10. Audi on top once again in second Nürburgring WEC practice

    Aug 28, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT

    The Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro No7 of the Audi Sport Team Joest driven by Marcel Fassler of Switzerland, Andre Lotterer of Germany and Benoit Treluyer of France is seen in action during the first qualifying practice session of the 83rd 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. The race will begin on Saturday, June 13. (AP Photo/David Vincent) AP

    Benoit Treluyer shoots to the top of the timesheets late on in FP2.

  11. Hamilton unmoved by FIA Pole Trophy success

    Aug 28, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    xxxx during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 22, 2015 in Spa, Belgium. Getty Images

    Hamilton wrapped up the second annual FIA Pole Trophy last weekend in Belgium.

  12. Mallya targeting top-four finish for Force India in 2016

    Aug 28, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Hungary - Practice Getty Images

    Mallya expresses his delight in Force India’s form despite having a smaller workforce and budget than many of its rivals.

  13. Button tests World RX car, following in his father’s footsteps

    Aug 28, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    © World RX © World RX

    Button’s father John raced in rallycross during the 1970s and 1980s.

  14. Preview: IndyCar will race to honor Wilson, and to close its season, at Sonoma

    Aug 28, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    AP AP

    Montoya, Rahal the two likely contenders to claim Power’s crown, as IndyCar looks for solace and a great race to end the season and ease the pain after the loss of Justin Wilson.

  15. Audi quickest in opening WEC practice at the Nürburgring

    Aug 28, 2015, 7:44 AM EDT

    <> on June 13, 2015 in Le Mans, France. Getty Images

    First blood to Audi as its battle with Porsche is rekindled on home soil.

  16. Andretti to field No. 25 car at Sonoma; Oriol Servia to drive Wilson tribute car

    Aug 27, 2015, 6:14 PM EDT

    ServiaRLLreturn Getty Images

    Oriol Servia will race in what was Justin Wilson’s car this weekend at Sonoma.

  17. IndyCars cross the Golden Gate Bridge; pay tribute to Justin Wilson (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

    Aug 27, 2015, 4:21 PM EDT

    © INDYCAR © INDYCAR

    IndyCars cross the Golden Gate Bridge in a motorcade, for pre-title buildup and to pay tribute to Justin Wilson.

  18. Aleshin geared up ahead of IndyCar return at Sonoma

    Aug 27, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    TORONTO - JULY 18:  Mikhail Aleshin of Russia driver of the #7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara Honda during practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series Honda Indy Toronto on the streets of Toronto on July 18, 2014, in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Aleshin returns to IndyCar this weekend after a year away.