Chip Ganassi Racing’s hopes of returning to IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in support of a privateer Ford GT program have come to an end. Intensive efforts by Ford Performance to sell its factory GTs to independent owners, with CGR co-drivers, pit crew, and Blue Oval technical support attached, took place throughout the 2019 season, but did not find the requisite buyers.
Owner/driver Ben Keating purchased a GT and used it to compete at Le Mans in June, but did so with Riley Motorsports running the car on the Texan’s behalf.
“Chip Ganassi Racing has represented three manufacturers: Lexus, BMW, and Ford, in its 16 straight years of Grand-Am and IMSA racing, and we’ve won the biggest races and championships for all three,” CGR managing director Mike Hull told RACER. “But our team, without continued manufacturer support, will not be racing in the 2020 IMSA series, which includes the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.”
As some of the former FCGR drivers received their racing gear and personal belongings in the mail in recent weeks, the chances of reuniting at Daytona in January for the season opener and again at Sebring for Round 2 appeared to evaporate.
The Rolex 24, in particular, will run for the first time since 2004 without a CGR entry. It scored the first of three consecutive overall Daytona victories in 2006, and added three more in 2011, 2013, and 2015. Daytona class wins in GT Le Mans with the Ford GT were added in 2017 and 2018 prior to the four-year program reaching its end in October.
Although its participation in IMSA has come to an end, CGR’s name continues to be mentioned as a potential partner for a number of manufacturers who’ve expressed interest in building and entering cars for the series’ 2022 Daytona Prototype 2.0 regulations.