Ford to power Ganassi TUDOR United SportsCar ride
November 05, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com
Announcement made at the Speciality Equipment Market Association Show in Las Vegas
Less than a month after Ford’s new-look Daytona Prototype car set a new closed course speed record at Daytona International Speedway, Ford roared Tuesday that its new EcoBoost sports car engine package will power Telcel/TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) next year in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
The Ganassi organization, winner of seven of the last 10 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Championships, will debut Ford’s 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost racing engine in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona. Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas will look to add to their 27 combined victories since 2007.
With NASCAR President Mike Helton and IMSA Chairman Jim France taking part, the announcement was made at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas as Ford continues its strategy of introducing product-relevant technology into racing.
(Photos courtesy of Ford Racing)
Pruett started his career with Ford in 1985, becoming a full-time Ford factory driver in 1986 and winning four IMSA and SCCA Trans-Am championships in three years. He also had Blue Oval rides for two seasons in Indy car and his one full season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, running the No. 32 Tide Taurus for Cal Wells in 2000.
"Coming back to Ford is the perfect way to bookend my career," said Pruett. "To be honest, without Ford, there is no Scott Pruett. Ford gave me the chance to drive my first real race car – the front-engine Mustang GTP in 1983 -- and then they were willing to take a chance on me when no one else did in 1985 and 1986."
Pruett’s car owner, Chip Ganassi, who runs two Chevrolet SS cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, looks forward to running Ford in the inaugural season of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
"We are very excited to be switching to Ford power for our sports car program," Ganassi said. "Over the last 10 seasons we have been able to experience a great deal of success in GRAND-AM and now with the dawn of the new United SportsCar Championship we feel that Ford power will be a key ingredient to writing the next chapter of our sports car program. I can’t wait for the 24 hours of Daytona to get here."
With CGRFS, Ford adds 17 championships at the top levels of North American motorsports and five Rolex 24 At Daytona wins, including its fifth this past January.
"Partnering with Chip and his championship-caliber organization in this new sports car series is a critical ingredient to our Ford EcoBoost program in USCC," said Allison. "Chip's team has a legacy of winning in endurance sports car racing, excellent technical capabilities, and race proven experiences -- all elements we were looking for to field our Ford EcoBoost racing program."
Michael Shank Racing was the first team to run the engine, and on Oct. 9, Colin Braun set a new closed course speed record of 222.971 mph, as well as FIA records for standing start 10-mile and 10-kilometer runs.
Watch interviews from the SEMA unveil with Allison, Ganassi and Pruett below: