Priaulx targeting podium on Ford WEC debut

Ford Chip Ganassi racer Andy Priaulx says the American manufacturer can aim to finish on the podium during its first outing in the World Endurance Championship.

Priaulx, who will share the #67 Ford GT together with Marino Franchitti and Harry Tincknell this season, is in an optimistic mood ahead of this weekend's Silverstone opener.

"We're making good steps," Priaulx told Motorsport.com. "It's a new team, but they've done a phenomenal job in a short space of time to get the team up-and-running.

"We've got a lot to do for the first race, but the way this is coming together, the people we have on board – all of that stuff is pretty impressive.

"We're rookies, but we're really ambitious rookies. They've definitely given us the car and the platform to bring it all together; the fundamentals are there.

"For our first weekend it would be great to fight for a podium, and them build on our performance to Le Mans."

However, the Guernseyman remains realistic about the team's chances: "We'll only truly now how competitive we are when we've done a full race; when we've done pit stops, race and stints.

"We've not been to Silverstone before with this car, so there's still some learning to be done."

2016 marks the first time that the 41-year-old drives a mid-engined race car since his Formula 3 days back in 2001, having spent his entire BMW career in a front-engined machinery.

"A mid-engined car does everything better, it's more balanced," explained Priaulx, who at the same time believes that his vast touring car experience could play to his advantage in endurance racing.

"Max Papis, who was spotting for me at Daytona, said to me: 'You're mega quick in traffic'. I cut through traffic and it's probably because I raced so many touring car races where you have to be instinctive."

Franchitti: The target is Le Mans

Joining the Blue Oval on the 50th anniversary of its 1966 Le Mans victory, Priaulx's teammate Franchitti feels honoured to have a chance to write a new chapter in the success story of Scottish aces and the American manufacturer.

"As a Scotsman, following the footsteps of Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark and Colin McRae feels very special," he said.

"It was an amazing achievement back then [in 1966] for Ford to get a 1-2-3, and it would be really cool to have that at Le Mans this year. But as long as one of the Fords wins, that's the number one goal.

"The programme is young. We've done a couple of races in America, it's just a case of getting as prepared as we can for Le Mans and hoping that we can execute it."

Additional reporting by Jamie Klein

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About this article
Series WEC
Event Silverstone
Track Silverstone
Drivers Andy Priaulx , Marino Franchitti
Teams Ford Racing
Article type Interview