Ford Daytona Prototype sets mark at namesake track
October 09, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Colin Braun blazed the fastest lap in Daytona International Speedway’s storied history on Wednesday afternoon turning a lap of 222.971 mph (40.364 seconds) in a Ford Eco-Boost-powered Daytona Prototype for Michael Shank Racing.
Braun's lap around the 2.5-mile Daytona high-banks easily eclipsed the former record of 210.364 mph set by former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Bill Elliott while qualifying for the 1987 Daytona 500.
"This is hallowed ground here at Daytona, so it's really special to hold the record at this place," said Braun, a former NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series competitor before running sports cars full time.
"To get to do it with a group of guys like Mike Shank and with the new EcoBoost Ford motor, it’s a special day, for sure."
The 25-year-old Texan also established new record marks -- subject to homologation from the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) -- in 10 kilometers from a standing start (202.438 mph) and 10 miles from a standing start (210.018 mph).
The historic day comes just a week after the 2012 Rolex 24 winning Michael Shank Racing team announced it would field Ford's new 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V6 EcoBoost engine in the inaugural 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship -- which is a much-anticipated merger between the GRAND-AM and American LeMans Series sports car circuits.
"I can't believe, in my whole racing career, that I'd have an opportunity to do something like this," Shank said. "I never thought we could. If you think about how fast we went around here in a Daytona Prototype car is a little bit surreal.
"This thing is extremely fast and I'm extremely proud of it. I think it bodes well for the future of sports car racing in the U.S.
"Daytona Prototypes are not slow cars. They are very, very capable cars and I think we proved that here today."
Jim France, a founder of the GRAND-AM Series and chairman of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) which will sanction the United SportsCar Championship, was on hand for the historic achievement Tuesday.
The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship opens its inaugural season on these very high banks with the Jan. 25-26 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
(Left to right) Ford Racing Director and GRAND-AM founder Jim France, who spearheaded the use of Daytona Prototypes as the top category for the Rolex Sports Car Series since 2003 and through the completion of the series last month, and chairman of the new International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), shake hands in front of the Ford EcoBoost Daytona Prototype to set the Daytona International Speedway speed record. (Brian Cleary/Daytona International Speedway)