Stefan Mücke
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P11 for Stefan Mücke in 1000 Miles of Sebring after being in strong position on grid

• Technical problems force Ford Chip Ganassi Racing to come in again for repairs • P3 in qualifying: Stefan Mücke and team-mates are on the pace • Stefan: "P11 is a real shame, because the car got better and better during the race and was always fast throughout"

Stefan Mücke had already shaken off the cobwebs from the winter break with the 24-hours of Dubai in January. After a break of almost four months, his season in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) also now began continued. The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing driver switched from the Audi R8 LMS to the Ford GT for the 1000 Miles of Sebring. After being in a promising position at the start, a technical problem dropped Mücke and team-mates Billy Johnson and Olivier Pla way down the field. Their Ford GT with start number 66 finally crossed the finish line in eleventh place.
 
The three drivers set the stage for a top result early on. 37-year-old Mücke and his crew had collected important data for the race at the famous circuit in Florida during testing last weekend, so qualifying for him and his team-mates went according to plan. They secured a really promising position on the grid with third place, were just under two tenths of a second down on pole position in the LMGTE Pro class and on target to secure a good finish. However, Mücke lost a position at the start in the Ford GT prepared by Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, because his opponents had an advantage as regards top speed. Still, he soon managed to reconnect with the drivers up front.
 
However, a technical problem cropped up early in the race. Despite that, Mücke was involved in a four way scrap for the lead just before the first change of drivers. Shortly after team-mate Johnson had taken over, it became apparent that a stop for repairs would be unavoidable. As a result, they lost almost 20 minutes in the pits, putting an end to all hope of a finish up front.
 
The ADAC GT Masters will open at Oschersleben 26th - 28th April before Mücke heads off to race in the next round of the WEC, the 6-Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, in early May. Mücke and new team-mate Nicolaj Rogivue will contest the season in the Super Sports Car League for BWT Mücke Motorsport, racing the next-generation of the Audi R8 LMS. SPORT1 will broadcast all ADAC GT Masters races live.
 
Five questions for Stefan Mücke
 
Stefan, P11 must have been a bitter disappointment for you after doing so well in testing and qualifying high up the grid
Yes, unfortunately. We were in Sebring last weekend and tested quite extensively. Our car improved and felt better all the time. We were well placed for the 1000 miles of Sebring in the end, and the race weekend itself got off to a great start. We did well in qualifying. Securing a good position on the grid was paramount, because we're at a big disadvantage as regards top speed thanks to our current BoP classification.
 
Things went quite well for you from the start
I took the first stint and lost a position, as we were down on top speed due to the issue I just mentioned. However, the car got better as the race progressed. I was able to quickly catch up with the leading group and set the fastest lap of all the drivers taking the first stint. The Top Four were bumper to bumper as we came into the pits for the first change of drivers.
 
But then the problems started. What happened?
Our first pit stop went really well. My team-mate Billy took over and it looked like we would still be in a position to contend for a podium if not a win. But even during my stint, the voltage meter on our Ford GT had indicated a drop in power at times, and I'd had to turn off the air conditioning to save energy.
 
Ultimately, you were forced to come in again for repairs
Yes. The problem got worse during Billy's stint and eventually, he had to pit early to change the alternator. The whole team made a terrific job of that and were very quick. Nevertheless, we lost valuable time, which dropped us well down the field. It's absolutely impossible to achieve anything from P11 with a deficit of almost 20 minutes in such a close field as in the WEC. It was a big pity, because the car got better and better during the race and was always fast throughout. It rained a bit towards the end, so the race finished behind the safety car, but unfortunately, the change in weather didn't give us much of an advantage.
 
The next thing on your schedule is a home race at Oschersleben with the season opener of the ADAC GT Masters. How do you hope to do there?
Well, of course, it's not easy to say at this stage. We'll get some idea of where we stand initially after the official tests shortly before the start of the season at Oschersleben. We are well placed with our crew of drivers. I've got a talented new team-mate this season with Nicolaj Rogivue, who I really rate. I'm looking forward to racing with him, for sure! Of course, I hope we'll do well in our home fixture. I had a chance to drive the next-generation Audi R8 LMS earlier this year in Dubai and am really looking forward to getting started.

Copy: Ford Chip Ganassi Racing