Jonathan Bomarito is the newest member of the Ford Chip Ganassi team at Le Mans, joining full season regulars Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx in the #67 car for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Racing24-7.net had a talk with him on Wednesday, about the programme, and a bit about his American programme as well.
Has it been tough for you to transition into a GT car again?
“Yes and no. The last time I was driving a GT car was in 2014, so it’s been almost six years. But the team has given me plenty of time in the car, before Sebring I had some testing with them. Sebring went well, I adapted fine, so then we decided to come here and do this, give it another go.”
So you tested the car for the first time between Daytona and Sebring?
“I did a two-day test to get to know the car at Sebring, did the Sebring race, and now back here. So I haven’t been in the car that much, really.”
But it must be an advantage to have Harry Tincknell in the car, because you are running with him all the time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship?
“Yeah, that has helped. As a full time teammate you develop a lingo. If he says the car has understeer, I know exactly, just from talking to him, the magnitude of it. So if you have completely new teammates, you don’t really know the magnitude of it, or if your driving styles are similar, but knowing Harry for one and a half years now, and driving with him full time on the IMSA side of things, we have developed that relationship, so when we talk about something, I know exactly how that is going to translate into the car. It’s a similar relationship that you develop with an engineer over time. But Andy Priaulx has been a huge help, too, we are all getting alone well. So I think as far as that is going, it couldn’t be any better. It’s just now that it’s race time and you have to get the job done.”
And you are hoping to have gotten all the bad luck out of the baggage before this race, with IMSA being so tough on you and Harry?
“Harry and I have had a lot of bad luck on the IMSA side of things. I think that, knock on wood, that we have been gotten all that bad luck out, and we all had a good race together for Ford at Sebring, and I’m expecting good things here too.”
You didn’t always have the pace in the American programme last year, but this year it’s just been irritating faults and mishaps.
“Yeah, we’ve definitely had the pace this year, no faults on the car performance – it’s been very fast. A couple of drivers mistakes on my part. At Daytona, we had a mechanical – at Sebring and Long Beach was driver – Mid-Ohio was fine, we were on the podium – Detroit we had a great race going, Harry got hit from behind. So it’s just been one thing after another. We have had the pace, we’ve showed well. We just need to put the last details together.”
And I guess it kinds of accumulates over time, that next time you are pushing a bit more?
“I would be lying if I said that the pressure wasn’t building, yeah. It’s super high pressure now – a lot of anxiety to get that first win, good results. I mean, it’s not like we haven’t had good results. We have had results – we had a double podium for the team at Mid-Ohio. If we had already gotten the first win, then any other weekend would have been happy. But because we haven’t gotten that yet, it was like a bummer, because we were so close, right? So we are definitely feeling the pressure, but that’s part of the business. When you are spending that kind of money, and you have a manufacturer involved, you NEED that win for them.
“We have got five more races, we have some really good tracks for us coming up, so I think that all the races coming up needs strong race cars. We just need to get it done. I’m confident that we will. We NEED to, but I’m sure it’s there – it’s definitely right there.”
Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #67 finished Wednesday’s qualifying as the fastest car, while they ended up with second starting position in the GTE Pro category, for the race tomorrow.