Multimatic entered two Ford Mustang GT4s into the final race of the 2019 Michelin Pilot Challenge for three of Ford’s NASCAR drivers and British GT star Seb Priaulx. The youngster got proceedings off to a great start by qualifying on the front row of the grid; an incredible feat considering it was his first visit to Road Atlanta.
Priaulx started the two-hour race and stayed in touch with the leader throughout his run, successfully negotiating US-style caution periods, which are new to him. He handed the #15 Multimatic Mustang over to Austin Cindric in second place and with just 30 minutes left to run, Cindric grabbed the lead and kept it all the way to the chequered flag!
“That was so much fun!” said Priaulx after the race. “To race in America for the first time and win the race is an incredible feeling. As always, the Mustang was great, Austin did an awesome job and everything was perfect in the pits so this result is a great bit of teamwork. I have loved racing at Road Atlanta; it’s a very cool track as it’s tight, twisty and fast!”
The sister #22 Multimatic Mustang of Chase Briscoe and Cole Custer came home just inside the top ten in ninth position.
The headline race at Road Atlanta was ‘Petit Le Mans’. The final race for the factory Ford GTs and the last race of a breakthrough season for the Mazda RT24-P, built, developed and performance/race engineered by Multimatic.
The Mazda DPi cars had a tough Petit Le Mans and despite leading a large part of the 10-hour race, both cars had mechanical issues that put them out of contention for the podium. This has however been a fantastic season for the Mazdas with three wins, eight total podium finishes and three pole positions so the team will now go into its winter testing programme in readiness for January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The #67 Ford GT of Richard Westbrook, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon managed to grab one last podium finish for the factory Ford programme, finishing in second place.
Farewell to the factory Ford GT race programme
The Ford GT race programme was announced to the world at Le Mans in 2015. Ford would celebrate the 50th anniversary of its historic 1-2-3 finish at the 1966 race by creating a new Ford GT that would take on the world’s best GTE cars from the likes of Ferrari, BMW, Porsche and Aston Martin.
With the commitment from Ford, engineering expertise of Multimatic and racing expertise of Chip Ganassi Racing and Multimatic Motorsports, the Ford GT race car hit the track for the first time at Calabogie (Multimatic’s test track near Ottawa). The car was good straight out of the box, so good that the development driver, Scott Maxwell, was soon asking for set-up changes so he could go faster.
The Chip Ganassi Racing-run IMSA Ford GTs took their first victory at Laguna Seca in early May 2016. Just a few days later the Multimatic-run WEC cars took their first podium finish at Spa-Francorchamps but also suffered a huge crash at Eau Rouge. The fact that Stefan Mücke walked away unscathed was testament to the fact that the Ford GT had been built tough as well as fast.
Le Mans 2016 will never be forgotten as Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and Sebastien Bourdais took victory, 50 years on from Ford’s famous 1-2-3 finish in 1966. This also started a fantastic run of wins for the IMSA squad throughout that summer.
The first victory and pole position for the WEC team would follow later that year at Fuji in Japan.
The rest, as they say, is history.