Briscoe thankful for Ford opportunity; still open to another Indy 500 run
SEBRING, Fla. - Although he won’t be back in the Verizon IndyCar Series full-time next season, Ryan Briscoe still has the option of running next year’s 100th Indianapolis 500 if he chooses.
Briscoe, confirmed Saturday morning as one of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Ford GT drivers full-time in the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, would be available for the month of May, as there are no IMSA or 24 Hours of Le Mans clashes.
“I’d like to be able to do that,” Briscoe told MotorSportsTalk in a phone interview. “I’m gonna try to keep the options open. It doesn’t conflict.
“If the opportunity is right, would love to be in the 100th.”
Briscoe was drafted in as a last-minute injury substitute for James Hinchcliffe at this year’s race at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, following Hinchcliffe’s serious accident in practice the Monday before the race. It turned into the balance of the season, save for Detroit and Toronto, when he had Le Mans commitments.
In theory, Briscoe would make sense in an extra Ganassi car - as he was for the team in 2013 - and while there are no restrictions on what car he could drive, he’d undoubtedly want to be in a car that has race winning potential.
“Yeah absolutely,” he said. “You would have to make sure it’s a smart decision.
“My main priority is taking this car (the Ford) to Le Mans, and making sure I’m well to do it. But the Indy 500 is the Indy 500. Next year is a big one.”
Briscoe was due to race in both the Indianapolis 500 and 24 Hours of Le Mans this year, but didn’t get the chance as his Corvette C7.R he was scheduled to drive with Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia sustained an accident in practice and was withdrawn from the race.
He did do the iconic race double in 2013, with Ganassi for the Indianapolis 500, then with Level 5 Motorsports’ HPD LMP2 chassis at Le Mans.
Briscoe, who was jokingly asked by Will Power’s brother and comedian Damien Power “what a Chip Ganassi is” during an interview earlier this year, now rejoins the Ganassi fold for the fourth separate time.
He raced the full 2015 and 2014 IndyCar seasons and as noted, the 2013 Indianapolis 500.
“There’s familiarity and familiality with the team, which is great,” Briscoe said.
“It’s an honor to be racing for Chip. He’s one of the best in the business. Being on this Ford GT program, is just massive.”