It hasn’t been the best year for Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #67 in the FIA World Endurance Championship this year, with the team currently sitting fifth in the drivers Championship, behind their teammates in #66, but with a 31,5 and 28,5 points gab to climb respectively, to potentially pass AF Corse #51 for third. Porsche has already secured the World Championship.
Racing24-7.net sat down with Harry Tincknell yesterday, to talk about the season so far, and the weekend ahead, and a bit about the future too.
It’s the fourth year that the car is running now. Do you think that some of the missing pace this year is down to the age of the car, or have you just not hit it with the tires and setup this year?
“We have been quick. We have had three Pole Positions and podiums, and potential wins. We are constantly making improvements on the car. Obviously you can’t change anything aerodynamically or mechanically, but systems and electronics and stuff like that are constantly getting refining, and learning from previous year and strategy and stuff like that. I think the car has had three Poles and two seconds in qualifying, so the pace is as good as ever.”
So it’s just the long run pace where you have struggled a bit?
“Well, I don’t know. The wet pace for sure, but we’ve had three wet races this year. The dry pace at Spa was really strong, and Sebring we were there for 6 hours, so the pace was good there. Spa – Ford won the race, so that was good pace. Silverstone we led for about five hours, so the pace was good there. The pace has been strong. We were running second at times at Le Mans last year, so it’s just been the luck – it’s not all come together. It’s been a shame, but there is nothing wrong with the pace.”
2018/19 seasons has been tough for you as a driver, both in FIA World Endurance Championship, in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (with Mazda Team Joest) and European Le Mans Series (with Carlin).
“Yeah it’s been tough – it’s been character building. You build yourself up for every race, and sort of get knocked back a little bit. But it’s all part of it. As a driver, in your career, you go through some golden moments, where everything you touch just turns into gold, and you are just surfing a wave. Other times you just sort of can’t do anything right, it feels like.”
Tincknell was on such high in 2014-16 when he raced for JOTA Sport in the ELMS, winning the Championship in 2016, plus winning Le Mans in the LMP2 category in 2014 – his Le Mans debut.
“I remember in ’16, I won three races back to back, so it was like 18 hours undefeated. We have had bad luck, but if we have good luck this weekend, I’ll take all the bad luck for the previous 18 months or so – we’ll see. I’m loving the racing, and I’m in a good position. I’m super lucky to be racing in the States and in the WEC and other programs as well. So it’s been a whirlwind of a few years – really enjoyed racing the GT, and let’s see what happens in the future. I’m hearing some real positive things, so we will see.”
Some of those news could come tomorrow, when the FIA WEC 2019/20 entry list will be revealed.
“I guess there is a lot of questions at Le Mans, to be answered this year, compared to previous years. Obviously, what’s gonna happen with the future of the WEC, and what’s gonna happen with the future of Ford and Multimatic – everything like that. There is a lot of questions to be answered. I think that you’ll be one of the first to hear it. It’s exciting times going forward – I’m 27 and in the prime of my career, and it sounds like the future of sportscar is very exciting – I just hope that I’m a part of it.”
He returned to the ELMS again this year with Carlin, racing alongside Jack Manchester and Ben Barnicoat, so was that part of securing the future too, because of the uncertainty with the other programmes?
“Yeah definitely. With Jack Manchester and Carlin, it’s people that I’ve known for a long time, and I get on really well with. It was an opportunity to do the five races this year, so it’s cool to go back to the ELMS. Obviously there a lot of good memories from there with JOTA. And yeah, with all the uncertainty and what’s gonna happen, if there is an option to do another program, that compliments your main programmes… That’s one of the great things about Ford, that we’ve been allowed to go and do those extra stuff, which keeps us sharp. Coming into this weekend, I’ve got so much mileage under my belt, so I’m feeling fresh and ready to go. It kind of helps the main programme, and it means that I can go and do some different things, a few different cars, few different circuits. Whatever happens in the future, I’m in a pretty strong place.”
Harry Tincknell showed a lot of pace in yesterday’s qualifying session, where he banged in a provisional Pole Position lap right at the end, to have the top spot after the first of three qualifying sessions.
This interview happened before his qualifying performance, but he was still hoping to show some good things this week.
“I think Andy (Priaulx, editor) and I have been really strong for the last 4 years in the championship, and it’s great to have Boma (Jonathan Bomarito, editor) in the car as well. He was doing a great job at Sebring, coming straight in, and on the pace. I think that he compliments us perfectly, because he comes in and does a super good job, and he is laid back as well. I think that it can get very tense at times at Le Mans, so it’s good to have a calming influence in the car, and he is also very quick, obviously. He is a former winner in IMSA in the GT class, and super quick in the Mazda, so I think it’s a strong line-up, and hopefully we will have the edge – but as long as there is a Ford on top of the podium, that’s the main goal.”
Tincknell and Bomarito are teammates in the Mazda Team Joest programme too in the IMSA series, so the two already know each other very well. So that must make it easier, than a completely “random” guy joins the two regulars in the car?
“Yeah, he slides in really well, and the three of us are a really balanced car. He compliments what Andy and I have built up over the last few years pretty well. Our engineer in Ford also engineered our car at Daytona this year, so he already had some good relationships build up with different people in the team, so it was very seamless transition for him to come in, and that was why he did such a good job at Sebring, to get the third. He is kind of the perfect candidate to be here, and I’m sure that he is excited to be back at Le Mans.”
The second and third qualifying sessions will run today from 19.00 to 21.00 and 22.00 until midnight CET.