DEARBORN – Ford’s 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost® V6 engine powered a Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Riley Prototype to victory Saturday at Sebring International Raceway.
On one of the most storied and demanding racetracks in the country, Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas and Marino Franchitti took the Roush Yates-prepped Riley-Ford to victory lane in the 2014 Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring.
Franchitti piloted the No. 01 Telcel Riley-Ford across the finish line first to earn victory in his team’s first-ever appearance at the legendary endurance race. It is the first overall victory for Ford at Sebring in 45 years.
“You read about stuff like this,” said Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing. “The last time Ford took the overall win was 1969, and what really makes it so sweet is that this is a win made possible by a production-based Ford EcoBoost engine. It validates what we do here at Ford –that the technology we have in our production cars is good enough to power an all-out win in the Sebring 12-Hour.”
This victory is the culmination of intense preparation by the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team, Ford Racing, Ford Motor Company and Roush Yates engineers, who have worked together to prove that the heart of a production engine can stand up to the most intense demands of the rigorous Sebring track. More than 70 percent of the EcoBoost engine is production-based.
Three Prototypes compete with the Ford 3.5-liter EcoBoost: The No. 01 and No. 02 race cars of Ganassi, and the No. 60 car of Michael Shank Racing. The No. 02 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Riley-Ford finished sixth at Sebring after spending a considerable time out front. Also making the top-10 was the No. 60 Need for Speed Riley-Ford, which finished in ninth.
Before this season began – the first year for the unified TUDOR United SportsCar Championship – Michael Shank Racing teamed with Ford Racing and its 3.5-liter EcoBoost to break a series of closed-course speed records at Daytona International Speedway that had stood since 1987. Together, they set a new record average lap speed of 222.971 mph around the high-banked oval.
The overall win at Sebring, in only the second round of the new series, demonstrates that the partnership between the teams, Ford Racing and Roush Yates is already a winning one.
“It is an amazing feeling,” said Dave Simon, engine engineering manager for Ford Racing. “The last 10 laps of that race were the most stressful 10 laps I’ve ever had to live through. There’s a ton of hard work by a lot of people that went into making this win happen. All the guys at Ford Motor Company, everyone from Ford Racing, at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, and from Roush Yates – it’s just a huge sense of pride to be in victory lane at Sebring.”
Joining the Ford Racing family in victory lane was Raj Nair, group vice president, Ford global product development.
“It was a great day,” said Nair. “The first overall win for Ford since 1969, and at the same time, the first with our partners in Ganassi here at Sebring, in only the second race for the new engine. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and Michael Shank Racing, along with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, will run the full 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship schedule.