We presume that people love seeing, hearing, and talking about world records. Regardless, records are meant to be broken, and Ford did just that at the Daytona International Speedway on October 9th, 2013 when Colin Braun drove a Riley Technologies Daytona Prototype race car powered by Ford’s 3.5 liter V6 EcoBoost race engine to a new single lap speed record of 222.971 mph. The new record was set during a planned record run attempt and surpasses the 26-year-old speed record of 210.364 mph set by Bill Elliott in a Ford Thunderbird during qualifying for the 1987 Daytona 500.
In addition to the single lap speed record, Braun and the Michael Shank Racing team set new world speed records for 10 miles from a standing start (210.018 mph average) and 10 kilometers from a standing start (202.438 mph average). While all times are still subject to homologation by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the results are nothing short of impressive for the turbocharged EcoBoost six-banger, which was prepared for the record run by Ford Racing engine partner Roush Yates Engines. The Daytona Prototype also wore special Continental tires that are lighter and had less rolling resistance than the standard race tire while featuring a harder compound than the tire used for a typical road course race.
Over A Quarter Decade Apart
Ironically, 25-year-old Braun wasn’t even born when Bill Elliott set the previous speed record. But that’s not say that he doesn’t appreciate the achievement during the day’s speed trials.
“Our first run this morning was 209 mph, and it was an edgy drive at that speed”, said Braun. “I can only imagine how edgy it was for Bill Elliott doing those speeds in his Thunderbird stock car. But our crew kept working and adjusting on it, and it was a great feeling coming down pit road after the record runs and seeing how happy everyone was.”
Both the EcoBoost-branded Daytona Prototype and the twin-turbo EcoBoost engine will take part in the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship that begins with the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January. Almost right after the record run, the team began preparing for the 2014 USCC season by switching the car from an oval configuration and taking the car on the Daytona road course for the first time ahead of the January debut.
“It’s a very proud day for all of us at Ford,” said Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing. “To take a Ford EcoBoost race engine that is basically production technology, and to beat speed records that have been on the books for decades really says something for our new engine and the program we launched last week.
“It’s a great way to kick off a new era of EcoBoost and sports car racing for Ford in the 2014 United SportsCar Championship, and we couldn’t have done it without Shank and his team, and the team at Roush Yates.”
“We’ve been working on this for probably nine or 10 months,” said team owner Michael Shank. “We did a first shakedown of the car and engine last January and we saw the potential even then of what it may do. For someone like me, to come from where I started in racing to be part of this today at Daytona, is just so cool.
“We’re so excited about the Ford EcoBoost engine. It’s relevant, production technology from Ford coming into a race program, and we need more of that in racing.”
“This is an engine project we started probably two years ago,” said John Maddox, road racing program manager, Roush Yates Engines. “There has been a lot of hard work by a lot of people to get it to where it is today, but this EcoBoost engine is relevant, state-of-the-art production technology in racing, and it brings with it power and high efficiency in the same package.
“When we broke the track speed record today with it, well, that was big. But to come back and set two world speed records that have been around since 1979 … well, that’s something you can tell the grandkids some day.”
The Motrolix Take
World speed records + EcoBoost = a great day for Ford and for enthusiasts of powerful and fuel-efficient engines. This should pay dividends for The Blue Oval and for the EcoBoost engine brand now and well into the future.