ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. (March 26, 2002) -- At the recent season-opening doubleheader the new Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship engine package impressed both the drivers and fans with its performance and durability. Racing on the demanding ...
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. (March 26, 2002) -- At the recent season-opening doubleheader the new Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship engine package impressed both the drivers and fans with its performance and durability.
Racing on the demanding 3.7-mile Sebring International Raceway road course, 23 of the 25 cars entered ran the new 2.0-liter Zetec engine package.
From the very first time on track, during pre-event testing, the Zetec Championship cars immediately showed their potential. While very few drivers and teams had done any pre-season testing, the top-five were immediately three to four seconds quicker than the previous Formula Ford 2000 lap record. As remarkable as this was, the cars really made their mark during qualifying.
With its long straights, Sebring is widely acknowledged as a horsepower track and racing on the 12 Hours of Sebring race weekend were six different series, of which the Zetec Championship had the least horsepower. In qualifying the Ford Zetec engine promptly stunned onlookers, outperforming numerous other engine manufacturers. The 160 hp Zetec Championship polesitter was 20 seconds quicker than the fastest 385 hp Panoz GT Pro Series car, 15 seconds quicker than the 400 hp Audi S4 competing in the Speed Channel World Challenge GT Championship, five seconds quicker than the fastest 190 hp STAR Mazda Series car, three seconds quicker than both the 415 hp Ferraris and 420 hp Porsches racing in the American Le Mans Series and two seconds quicker than the quickest 260 hp Barber Dodge car.
"I think a lot of people were surprised by the performance of the new engine," said Cape Motorsports President Dominic Cape, whose drivers captured both pole positions and wins at Sebring. "The Zetec engine is the perfect compliment to the F2000 chassis and allows the driver to properly display his skills."
While the performance of the new Zetec engine package was both impressive and stunning, perhaps more significant was its durability. Over the course of five days of operation, not a single car suffered an engine failure. While some cars dealt with minor electrical problems throughout the race weekend, the majority ran trouble free. This is particularly notable, given in the past with the old Pinto engine, one or two engine failures were expected per weekend.
"The engine performed beyond our expectations at Sebring," said Elite Engines owner Steve Knapp, who along with Quicksilver RacEngines provides all the engines in the Zetec Championship. "There was some electrical issues, but that was expected, given a lot of teams have little to no experience with these motors. This engine is ideal for the F2000 chassis."
The 2002 Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship continues with Rounds Three and Four at Mosport International Raceway, May 18-19, as part of the Victoria Day Trans-Am Weekend.