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times in the “Roar Before the 24”, and

looked to be very competitive. The

number 66 Ford GT, driven by Joey

Hand, was actually in the lead for a

few laps at the beginning of the race

(lap #13 and #43). Twenty minutes

later, though, the car pulled into the

pits, stuck in sixth gear. Raj Nair’s

worst fear had come to light, as shift-

ing problems with electro-hydraulic

shift actuators that control the Getrag

transaxle began to plague both Ford

GTs. Hours of testing at Sebring and

Daytona had failed to make this issue

surface, so here they were at race

time, with a transaxle that “


did THAT before

.” Apparently some

transducers were added to the cars for

the race that had not been there in

testing, and they were creating electri-

cal havoc with the shift actuators on

both cars. You really can’t get the best

performance out of the car on the

track when it’s stuck in sixth gear, or

when it gets stuck in reverse coming

out of the pit garage.

There were way too many pit stops

to fix transaxle issues for the new Ford

GTs to make up the time. When the

transaxles were performing properly,

their lap times were quite consistent

with those of the race leaders. To my

amazement and delight, both cars

were still running on track after

twenty-four hours, but they were just

too far behind to catch the two

Corvettes leading the GTLM class.

So the Rolex 24 was not the re-

sounding success that Ford GT fans

had hoped for but, nonetheless, the

event provided Ford and Ganassi Rac-

ing with valuable input on what needs

to be done with the new cars to pre-

pare them for Ford’s return to LeMans

this coming June. Since the Rolex,

Ford has announced that they will

field a four-car team at LeMans. The

cars will be numbered 66, 67, 68, and

69…how cool is that? Hopefully, they

will be able to perform like their

grandfather GT40s did on the Sarthe

course back in 1966, 1967, 1968, and



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