Braun Sets Daytona Speed Record

C.Braun

Colin Braun turned the fastest lap ever recorded on the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway oval on Wednesday afternoon in a Ford-powered Daytona Prototype sports car. (Photo: Ford Racing)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Colin Braun turned the fastest lap ever recorded on the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway oval on Wednesday afternoon, driving Michael Shank Racing’s Ford EcoBoost-powered Daytona Prototype to a lap of 222.971 mph (40.364 seconds).

Braun’s record lap topped Bill Elliott’s old mark of 210.364 mph that was set during qualifying for the 1987 Daytona 500.

"It’s special to hold the record here at Daytona," Braun said, "where I got my first professional sports car win in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series with a Ford-powered DP car.  It's always been a historic place for a lot of people.  This is hallowed ground.  To get to do it with a group of guys like Mike Shank, and with the new EcoBoost Ford motor, is special for sure."

The record run comes on the heels of last week’s announcement that Michael Shank Racing became the first team to utilize Ford’s new 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V6 EcoBoost engine in its Daytona Prototype heading into the 2014 debut of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.  It was the culmination of a process that began several months ago for Shank.

"I can’t believe, in my whole racing career, that I’d have an opportunity to do something like this," Shank said.  "If you think about how fast we went around here in a Daytona Prototype car, it's a little surreal.  This thing is extremely fast and I’m proud of it.  It bodes well for the future of sports car racing in the U.S.  Daytona Prototypes are not slow cars.  They are very, very capable cars and I think we proved that."

The record run was also a source of pride for GRAND-AM founder Jim France, who spearheaded the use of Daytona Prototypes as the top category for the Rolex Sports Car Series since 2003 and through the completion of the series last month.  France will serve as chairman of the new International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), which will sanction the TUDOR Championship.  The series, which results from the merger of the Rolex Series and the American Le Mans Series Presented by Tequila Patrón, will include Daytona Prototypes in its top class as well.

"It was a very special, exciting day to be able to set the track record with a Daytona Prototype," France said.  "It was appropriate.  For Ford, with its new EcoBoost engine; for Mike Shank, and everybody involved at Ford Motor Company and their engineers; and everyone who worked on the project, it’s wonderful to come to a great conclusion like this."

The new EcoBoost V6 engine represents a renewed commitment from Ford to North American sports car racing and the TUDOR Championship, in particular.  Ford Racing Director Jamie Allison was on hand throughout Wednesday's session and was thrilled with the performance of his company’s new powerplant.

"It’s a proud day for all of us at Ford," said Allison.  "To take a Ford EcoBoost engine that is basically production technology and beat speed records that have been on the books for decades really says something for our new engine.  Now, we’ll start getting it ready to make its competition debut in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in January."

The inaugural TUDOR Championship opens with the 52nd running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 25-26, 2014.

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