Rolex 24 at Daytona GT Le Mans class winners Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, along with Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch were recognized during a Ford company-wide event Wednesday in Dearborn, celebrating the Blue Oval’s recent success at Daytona.
The No. 66 Ford GT claimed victory in January’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener, while Busch, in his return to Ford, picked up top honors in the Daytona 500, less than one month later, marking a notable feat for the manufacturer.
Ford employees from around the company attended the event, which included a formal program at the Product Design Center (PDC) and autograph sessions at the PDC and Ford World Headquarters.
It marked Hand, Mueller and Bourdais’ first trip back to Ford’s headquarters since an event celebrating their GTE-Pro class victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year.
“It’s great to be back,” Hand said. “When you get to come for a big Ford celebration and it’s your second time here in eight months, it’s a good thing.
“We got a little taste of it after the Le Mans 24 win, and now with winning Daytona, to be able to come back and celebrate again is a big deal.
“For me, knowing how many people have worked on this program, from the beginning until now, to be able to be here and do this little thing, just visiting and signing autographs, just being seen by everyone who’s done so much work, we get so much appreciation from this, you wouldn’t believe it.
“People pick up an autograph card and say ‘thank you for driving the car to the win.’ To me, you’re thinking ‘thanks for all the long hours, for making a car we can win with!’”
Busch added: “This is what it’s about – going out, winning and bringing home trophies, and to have a Daytona 500 win and a Rolex 24 At Daytona win with the Ford GT in the same year is pretty special.
“It’s so cool to have everyone’s passion for racing at Ford Performance behind us, and here we are, celebrating and taking pictures.”
The Le Mans and Daytona winning trio are pictured above with Joe Hinrichs, Executive Vice President and President, The North Americas of Ford Motor Company.
While having lost out on completing the endurance racing “Triple Crown” with victory at the Twelve Hours of Sebring, Hand and Mueller head into next weekend’s WeatherTech Championship round at Long Beach leading the GTLM drivers’ championship.