The new EcoBoost livery (Ford photo)

Ford EcoBoost one day out from record speed run attempt at Daytona

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Although the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Series season is in the books, preparations for 2014 in the merged Tudor United SportsCar Championship are well underway.

One new element of the merged series, in the Prototype class, will be the debut of Ford’s new 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost® racing engine for Daytona Prototypes. A direct-injected, twin-turbo engine may shake up the status quo in DP and Michael Shank Racing is the first team to confirm its use. Shank, a racing lifer, fielded two cars in 2013.

On Wednesday, the new engine will be put to the test from the off because the team is attempting a record speed run at Daytona International Speedway. Colin Braun will be on hand to pilot the team’s DP with the new engine and try to break the mark held by Bill Elliott, a 210.364 mph lap, in 1987. For reference, Braun wasn’t even born yet when that record was set.

“It’s really a privilege to have an opportunity to put your name in the record books like this,” Shank said in a release. “It is almost inconceivable that this record has stood for such a long time, so it’s pretty special to be involved. We worked a long time to develop our relationship with Ford to be in a position to take on projects like this. Anytime you can get in the record books, it is a great opportunity and just builds on what this company has done.”

Shank’s team won the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona in 2012 with Ford power, and drivers Ozz Negri, John Pew, AJ Allmendinger and Justin Wilson. The team will run at least one and possibly two DPs in the Prototype class in 2014.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”