CHAMPCAR/CART: Ford Racing looks back at Long Beach

Although Ford teams struggled from attrition this past week in Long Beach, the Ford-Cosworth XF engine showed that it is one tough competitor. Two of Ford Racing's CART rookies turned in impressive performances this weekend in Long Beach. Team...

Although Ford teams struggled from attrition this past week in Long Beach, the Ford-Cosworth XF engine showed that it is one tough competitor.

Two of Ford Racing's CART rookies turned in impressive performances this weekend in Long Beach. Team Player's driver Alex Tagliani drove a smart, patient race to capture a career best fourth place finish. Dale Coyne Racing's Takuya Kurosawa, who led seven laps, became the first Japanese driver to lead a Champ Car race.

On the engine side, Ford teams constantly topped the trap speeds charts, especially on the front and backstretch of the track, which tests the engine ability to make raw horsepower. Most of the weekend, the Ford teams were able to put the power down and out drag their competitors on the long straights.

Ian Bisco, vice president, Cosworth Racing -

ALTHOUGH THE FORD TEAMS DIDN'T FARE QUITE AS WELL AS HAD HOPED, YOU HAVE TO BE HAPPY WITH THE ENGINE'S PERFORMANCE, ESPECIALLY WHEN LOOKING AT THE SPEED CHARTS . . .

"Yes, it was nice to see the Ford-Cosworth teams atop the speed charts all weekend. Those numbers back up what we have been saying all along - the XF is the most powerful engine in the paddock. Our drivers were also very complementary of the driveability of the engine. Last year with the XD, the drivers would tell us they could get into the throttle about 20-percent before the rear wheels would break loose. This year, even before we began to refine the XF, our drivers couldn't believe the improvement, saying they could use 80-percent of the throttle without any problems. Since then, the work we have done on the Transient Dyno has improved that even more. It is too bad we didn't have the chance to show it as much as we would have liked. But in racing, sometimes you have those kind of weekends."

DURING THE RACE, THE NEWMAN-HAAS CARS SEEMED TO SUFFER ENGINE PROBLEMS. HOWEVER, AFTER EXAMINING THE CARS, IT WAS A NON-ENGINE RELATED PROBLEM WHICH CAUSED THE FIRES DURING SUNDAY'S RACE IN LONG BEACH. CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT HAPPENED?

"It looks like a bellows expansion joint (located between the exhaust and turbo) failed on both cars in the same place burning the high pressure cylinders controlling the oil to the rear shock absorbers. That shock fluid in those canisters is pressurized, so as you can imagine, if they were develop a crack or a hole with their location so close to the engine, it wouldn't take long for a fire to begin. We also think that was the cause of Gualter Salles early exit as well. He was complaining of boost problems too, but he came early and the problem didn't have the time to develop to the stage it did on the Newman-Haas cars."

SO WHEN CHRISTIAN WAS COMPLAINING OF A LOSS OF POWER THAT WAS THE CAUSE?

"Yes. The exhaust was leaking before the turbo causing a loss in turbo boost."

WHY DID THE PROBLEM SEEM TO DEVELOP ONLY ON RACE DAY?

"Well, there is nothing that simulates a race like a race. This was the first time we have run race distance on a street course, with simulated pits stops and things like that, with the new XF engine. We did some warm weather testing in Phoenix, but the temperatures never got as high as they do on a street course."

ALTHOUGH IT MAY HAVE SEEMED LIKE THE FORD CAMP SUFFERED SEVERAL ENGINE RELATED FAILURES DURING THE WEEKEND, IN FACT, WASN'T ADRIAN FERNANDEZ' ENGINE THE ONLY ONE THAT SUFFERED PROBLEMS?

"Yes, the only engine failure we had all weekend was in Adrian (Fernandez) car. It was a fairly dramatic failure because it locked up on him. It was an isolated internal failure and we don't believe it is something that is due to the design of the engine."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gualter Salles , Alex Tagliani , Takuya Kurosawa , Dale Coyne
Teams HART