Multimatic and Ford Racing take the Grand-Am Cup Triple Crown Multimatic Motorsports and Ford Racing Technology completed a perfect sweep of the Grand Am Cup Championship trophies at a rain-soaked Virginia International Raceway today. The ...
Multimatic and Ford Racing take the Grand-Am Cup Triple Crown
Multimatic Motorsports and Ford Racing Technology completed a perfect sweep of the Grand Am Cup Championship trophies at a rain-soaked Virginia International Raceway today.
The Toronto-based squad clinched the driver's championship for ex-Formula Atlantic and Indy Lights star David Empringham as well as the team's championship for the #05 Multimatic Mustang.
Multimatic's efforts combined with the strong performances of the 2005 Mustang FR500C customer cars also clinched the manufacturer's championship for Ford.
Empringham and Scott Maxwell finished third today after charging through the pack from 18th on the grid. The Multimatic squad mis-judged the weather prior to qualifying and tried wet tires. Unfortunately the track dried, leaving the #05 and #55 cars struggling for grip. Changing tires during qualifying is not permitted.
Gunnar Jeannette and James Gue finished 6th after starting from 26th on the grid. Ford's championship success was aided by the race victory by the Blackforest Motorsport FR500C customer car of Ian James and Tom Nastasi.
"We finished the season the same way we started it, with a Mustang in victory lane," said Dan Davis, Director, Ford Racing Technology.
"From winning the first race of the season in Daytona, following it up with four more wins and capping off the season with the Grand-Am Cup driver, manufacturer and team championships is just an incredible accomplishment by everyone involved. It has always been said that Mustang was made for racing - and once again, it has proven true."
Today's championship victory is the second by a Multimatic-run team in Grand Am Cup - repeating Scott Maxwell's 2002 driver's championship. Maxwell was teamed with Empringham that season, but finished with the driver's title on his own after Empringham missed a race.
This year it was ironic that Maxwell missed the driver's crown by missing a race due to racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans - switching roles with Empringham this year.
Empringham's championship winning season including two victories, three second places and two thirds.
"It is very rewarding to come away from this weekend with all three championships but I have to say today was another great performance from our drivers," Multimatic Vice President and Technical Director, Larry Holt said.
"Maxwell at the start was just incredible - to come from 18th on the grid to be 4th after the first lap was amazing. Our cars were pretty strong today and we came away with the result we needed.
"We may have had a car capable of winning - but in conditions like this we couldn't afford to push too hard.
"For everybody at Ford Racing Technology and my team at Multimatic it is very rewarding to take this great American muscle car - a piece of Detroit iron and beat the likes of BMW, Porsche and Nissan in the championship.
DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP: David Empringham 322, Scott Maxwell 287, Justin Marks 277, Bill Auberlen 249,Tom Nastasi, Ian James 232, Gunnar Jeannette 230, James Gue 225,
MANUFACTURER CHAMPIONSHIP: Ford 357, BMW 349, Porsche 322, Cadillac 198, Nissan 151, Pontiac 4
TEAMS CHAMPIONSHIP: #05 Multimatic Motorsports 304, #96 Turner Motorsport 277, #55 Multimatic Motorsports 243, #5 Blackforest Motorsports 202, #09 Automatic Racing 198,
"We didn't have the car to win today, but it was a good car and it got us not only the team championship, but David was able to clinch the driver's championship. The Blackforest guys had the Mustang to beat today, and our main objective was to win the driver, team and manufacturer championships, which we did."
"The weather was the hardest thing for everyone today. The conditions were definitely slippery out there and you just needed to try to keep your line. It made it tough to pass, but we knew we had a car that was good enough to run up front as long and we didn't get off course."
"The guys did a great job on the pit calls today to make sure I was on the right tires at the right time.
"That was really important to help us come through from so far back.
"At the finish we didn't quite have the grip we wanted when it was really wet.
"In half-wet intermediate conditions, the car was really quick, but it wasn't quite hooked up enough when it was really pouring down.
"I made a couple of mistakes which cost me a bit of time but at the end the track began to dry a little and I was catching back up but simply ran out of time."
"We had a great year, and Scotty and I have certainly enjoyed racing together. We got the championship; I wish we could be co-champions but it's a little bit of a points problem there because Scotty missed a race for Le Mans.
"Multimatic won the team championship and Ford the manufacturer, and it couldn't be better.
"I'm 41 years old and I'm still able to race and win with one of my best friends - that's great.
"It's been quite a season and we've overcome a lot, and to bring Ford and Multimactic the championship in the first year with the new Mustang is quite an accomplishment."
"It really has been an amazing year and the Mustang FR500C has been so much fun to drive."
"Racing with Gunnar has been great we have both learnt a lot from the experience of Scotty and David as well.
"We made the wrong tire choice in qualifying and went out on wets and the track began to dry. That put us in a tough spot starting from 26th on the grid.
"But the car was really good in the race and we ended up with a reasonable finish.
"I am really pleased to see David take the take and to have played a part in winning the manufacturer's championship for Ford and the team's championship for Multimatic."