Photo: Ford Chip Ganassi Racing

Ganassi confirms third Ford GT for Sebring

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As predicted by Sportscar365 about a week ago, there will be three Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs competing at this month’s 65th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Between the two U.S.-based entries run out of Ganassi’s headquarters in Indianapolis and the two U.K.-based ones for the FIA World Endurance Championship run by Multimatic, there have been four Ford GTs at each of the last two 24-hour races in Le Mans and Daytona, both of which Ford has won with the trio of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais.

That trio continues in the team’s No. 66 car, with Scott Dixon again joining Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe in the No. 67 and the same No. 68 crew of Olivier Pla, Stefan Muecke and Billy Johnson continuing in a third car, set to be run by the WEC team.

“We wish we could send all four cars like we did at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, but the WEC cars will already be prepped for The Prologue test at Monza and the first race at Silverstone,” said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. “Even though it’s impossible to bring all of our Ford GTs, we didn’t want to see this important opportunity to continue our cross-development pass us by.”

Ford won overall at Sebring with its engine in the back of Ganassi’s Riley DP in 2014 with Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas and Marino Franchitti driving.

A win this month would see Ford hold the Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring titles in class all at once, a feat Corvette Racing achieved in 2015 and also into 2016.

Hamilton, Red Bull teammates both go to NASA before USGP

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool
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One of the more intriguing United States Grand Prix adventures occurred on Wednesday, as both Lewis Hamilton and the pair of Red Bull Racing teammates, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, all went to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston – in separate sessions – before heading onto Austin.

Hamilton posted on his Instagram story on Wednesday that he’d “quit his day job in a second” to work at NASA and become an astronaut, and the unbridled enthusiasm spoke to the three-time Formula 1 World Champion’s love of different life aspects entirely outside of racing.

“(I) had an incredible day yesterday, having a bit of a comedown today,” Hamilton said today at the FIA Press Conference. “I was just buzzed all day yesterday because it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do. It’s always something I’ve been fascinated about, space and space travel particularly.

“So to actually go there… and I had a million questions. I’m sure the guy got fed up with me. I asked a lot of questions and I got to see a lot of great things, some of the new technology they are working on and yeah, I want to go back.”

The Mercedes AMG Petronas team posted a gallery of Hamilton’s adventure on its website, linked here, and a few samples are below.

As for the Red Bull pair, the young duo of Ricciardo and Verstappen were equally awestruck by the experience.

“There really are a lot of similarities between this and F1, just the technology alone,” Ricciardo said. “I had a guest come to a race last year, when they got into the garage they were like: ‘this is like a space station’. We went to mission control here and it’s really like what we have in the Ops Room in Milton Keynes. Even the safety technology is similar. The astronauts go through the same measurements, a similar kind of HANS device etc. It’s really cool.”

Verstappen added, “There are quite a lot of comparisons, if you really want to talk about it we could go on for an hour! The control center looks pretty similar to ours. We share a lot of the same technology. It was really interesting for us to see that and I bet it would be the same if they could see ours.”

Here’s a link to Red Bull’s gallery and some teaser shots below.