Editor’s Note: Ryan Briscoe is in the midst of his third stint with Chip Ganassi Racing. This time he’s driving the new Ford GT in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Briscoe was featured in the March issue of SPEED SPORT Magazine. Here’s an excerpt from that story.
Ford and Chevy have been engaged in a lively rivalry since the first Chevrolet was produced in 1911 as an alternative to Henry Ford’s Model T.
Briscoe has represented both car manufacturers. He was a factory driver for the Chevrolet Corvette sports car program for the last two years and now he’s a factory driver for Ford.
He also has V8 Supercar and A1 Grand Prix experience.
Briscoe wasn’t thinking about any of that when we spoke to him prior to the Rolex 24 At Daytona, however. Typical of a driver at his level, he wasn’t looking backward, but he was focused on the present. He’s concentrating on helping to develop Ford’s new car and make it as competitive as possible as quickly as possible.
“It’s a fantastic car and it’s on the cutting edge in design, technology and aerodynamics,” Briscoe said about the new Ford GT. “It’s really cool and it drives well. We’re yet to find out where we stand, but we should be competitive.”
With its low center of gravity, aerodynamic design and extensive use of carbon fiber, the car is a looker. Ford, of course, is also using it to showcase its EcoBoost engine technology.
Briscoe said preseason testing focused on the car’s consistency and reliability.
“We’ve been working on the mechanical and the aero balance, and doing a lot of miles,” he said. “We changed toes and cambers and worked on the spring rates to try to figure it all out. It’s a completely new car, and everyone has new tires and really everyone has a lot to learn. We’re just going to approach it one race at a time and try to adapt. Our focus is on trying to make the most of each track as it comes.”
Ford didn’t make a public announcement about its new car until last June at Le Mans, but Briscoe knew about it long before last summer.
“I have a long-term relationship with Ganassi and as soon as I heard about the program I asked Mike Hull (Chip Ganassi Racing’s managing director) about it,” he said. “He wasn’t able to give me anything concrete at that time, but I expressed my interest in the program and I kept in touch and waited patiently.”