Ford Multimatic claims Daytona Prototype class win. The No. 88 Multimatic Motorsports Focus Prototype with drivers Scott Maxwell, David Empringham and David Brabham survived numerous obstacles in the twice-around-the-clock race to claim the...
Ford Multimatic claims Daytona Prototype class win.
The No. 88 Multimatic Motorsports Focus Prototype with drivers Scott Maxwell, David Empringham and David Brabham survived numerous obstacles in the twice-around-the-clock race to claim the first class win in the new Daytona Prototype. The team overcame an early eight-lap deficit to close within 7.842 seconds of eventual overall winner The Racers Group on Sunday morning only to suffer an identical throttle spring failure that required another extended stay on pit road. The team would remain in second place overall until lap 629 when a broken header sidelined the team one final time. With the headers replaced, the Multimatic Motorsports Ford was able to complete the 24-hour race and took fourth place overall in addition to the class win.
SCOTT MAXWELL-88- Multimatic Motorsports Focus
"My feelings are sort of mixed right now. If you had told me before the weekend or before the race that this would be the result, I probably would be pretty happy. I think we were pretty close to winning the whole thing and we worked so hard through the night. We really pushed, and I thought it was going to pay off. Then all of sudden we had the same problem that we had earlier. All in all, I think it's been pretty successful."
NOW THAT THIS RACE IS OVER, DO YOU LOOK AT THIS AS A GOOD POINTS DAY? "I wasn't really thinking about points all weekend, even after we had our problems. Daytona is a big enough race that you just want to win it. Sure, the points will help us throughout the year, but the win is more important."
ARE YOU SURPRISED WITH GT CARS FINISHING IN THE TOP THREE? "I knew they would be tough. They're proven cars, they're not that far off of our pace and they're reliable. Before the race, we were all saying that a GT car could win it. I'm not surprised."
DO YOU EXPECT A RULE CHANGE TO PROTOTYPE CARS BEFORE THE NEXT RACE? "I wish we had a bit more power, but it's up to us a lot to sort out the cars more and make them quicker, and I think we will. All in all, this is still a four-day-old car in terms of development. It needs to have another 10 days on it before it's really where it needs to be. I think we'll make it quicker and this is the longest race. The shorter races, we should be able to get away."
WITH THE SHORTER RACES ON THE SCHEDULE, DO YOU EXPECT THE PORSCHE PROTOTYPES TO BE TOUGHER GIVEN THEIR PERFORMANCE AT THE START OF THE RACE? "That's exactly what I was saying about development. They have a lot of development on their cars and we haven't. I think if we get some good testing between now and the sprint races, we'll be a lot closer."
DAVID EMPRINGHAM-88- Multimatic Motorsports Focus
YOU DROVE THE CAR ACROSS THE FINISH LINE, BUT IT SEEMED LIKE A TEAM EFFORT THIS WEEKEND. "It certainly was. It was a great group of guys to work with. The crew did a fantastic job and persevered through the night with a few hiccups. The driver lineup was not only strong, but also a lot of fun. It was good to team to team up with David and long time friend Scott Maxwell."
HOW MUCH OF A LEARNING CURVE DID YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH WITH THIS CAR THIS WEEKEND? "It's a huge learning curve every time we hit the track. The develop that we've made since Thursday is incredible. The car off the truck wasn't that comfortable to drive and they gave us a fantastic race car. In fact, in the middle of the night, the car was just beautiful."
IS TIE GOING TO BE A CHALLENGE TO GET THE PROTOTYPES TO THE NEXT LEVEL IN THIS SERIES? "It could be. Maybe fuel capacity isn't enough. There a few things to tweak on, but they'll iron out the bugs and in the end it will be a really good class."
DO YOU EXPECT RULE CHANGES AS THE SEASON PROGRESSES? "It was very difficult for us to compete against the GTs. We have to fuel every hour and they can go an hour and 20 minutes. That's what made it very difficult for us."
DAVID BRABHAM-88- Multimatic Motorsports Focus
YOU'RE NOT SCHEDULED TO COMPETE IN THIS SERIES FOR THE ENTIRE SEASON, SO WAS IT AN ALL-OR-NOTHING SCENARIO FOR YOU THIS WEEKEND? "For me, it's not the same as David and Scott, but this is a great result for our team to get to the end. It's a brand-new project and the car really hasn't done very many miles; this is the longest that it's ever run. It ran pretty flawlessly except for two or three things, and until you do these distances you don't know every little piece that will be stressed and will break. We remained in contention all the time and I think they should be pride of what they achieved today."
YOU HAVE VAST EXPERIENCE IN PROTOTYPE RACING. WHAT WERE YOU ABLE TO CONTRIBUTE TO THIS TEAM EFFORT? "I don't bring anything specific expect for my experience. These guys have done 24-hour races and the combination of my experience and the team's experience has really helped us out. The drivers, we all got along really well. Scott and Dave are fantastic drivers and they're great to work with. The team has been really good to work with along with the Robert Yates people."
DO YOU EXPECT TO COMPETE IN ANY MORE GRAND AMERICAN RACES THIS YEAR? "Not at this moment."
HOW WAS THIS YEAR'S RACE DIFFERENT FROM PAST YEARS WITH THE NEW CLASS STRUCTURE AND NEW REGULATIONS? "It's certainty a lot more competitive. There were so many cars that were able to win this race, and we were one of them. We got very close, and I haven't seen this hard of a fight all of the way to the end. I've done this race a few times and it's always two or three teams that have a chance to win, but it was 10 to 20 people that could have won the race this race; it was quite competitive."
YOU'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN AMERICAN ROAD RACING OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS. IS THIS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION? "This type of car that I drove, the Focus Daytona Prototype, it's a new class and it's a way of trying to generate more people to come into racing, which is a fairly affordable way of doing it. The cars are not too sophisticated and the economy is not like it used to be, so I can see that they're doing a good thing."
LARRY HOLT, Team Manager-88-Multimatic Motorsports Focus
YOU HAD SEVERAL OBSTACLES TO OVERCOME THIS WEEKEND. WHAT WAS THE TURNING POINT IN THE RACE FOR YOU? "We had a setback early with a throttle spring breaking which put us back right at the beginning, but we just battled all night. We caught it up one lap at a time. And really, the drivers and the crew did that for me. Just when we were in striking distance, we had another small problem that set us back again, which was disappointing from the standpoint of not getting the overall win. From a manufacturer's perspective, which is what I am, for this new car in its first time out, I couldn't be more happy."
WILL THE RELATIONSHIP WITH ROBERT YATES CONTINUE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR? "Undoubtedly. One of the jokes about this car is that it has great straight-line handling and that's all coming from the back of it."
WILL THIS CAR CONTINUE TO BE COMPETITIVE WITH THE OTHER PROTOTYPES IN THE SHORTER RACES? "The car that we were running here was a very conservative iteration of the design. We designed a car to be run with different configurations. What we brought here was a very conservative version. It was overweight; it was built to run in a 24-hour race. The sprint version of the car will be significantly faster in sprints. With what we learned here, I would have to say that we know now that pretty much on that car will last, like the gearbox which was trouble free."
IS THE CLASS WIN SATISFYING ENOUGH FOR YOU FOR THE FIRST TIME OUT WITH THIS CAR? "The car manufacturer in me is satisfied, and the Ford guy in me says 'yes' because I want to sell cars and we spanked the other manufacturers that are selling cars, but the racer in me, no, I'm going home disappointed because I like winning races."
DAN DAVIS, Director, Ford Racing Technology
"If you look at the competitors that we went against this weekend, they all had a lot more time on track and quite a bit more time in terms of the number of months that their cars have been complete. I think this car did a wonderful job. Everyone seemed to have problems except for one car, and that's throughout the whole field. To come in fourth overall and first in class is pretty spectacular, especially seeing where this car was during testing in January. It was quite interesting that the problems that Focus Prototype had were ones that could have been prevented if we had more time, but we didn't. We learned those problems in the race, and that's kind of the way it is when you're developing a new car and a new class of endurance racing. Some of the issues like the spring, it failed twice so the same issue twice bit you, and that's pretty hard to have to out up with. Just looking at this race and what went wrong, and doing a little bit more long-distance racing in the future, this is a fantastic start."