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Ford Teams Confident Heading into Rolex 24

Chip Ganassi Racing tests at Homestead to iron out Roar issues…

Photo: Darren Pierson

Photo: Darren Pierson

One of the biggest stories from the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test was the early departure of the two teams running the new Ford EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 engines.

But both Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and Michael Shank Racing feel confident with improvements made since the Roar, after Ganassi undertook a one-day test earlier this week at Homestead-Miami Speedway to iron out the issues.

The teams packed up from the Roar after Saturday because of teething issues, not related to the motor itself necessarily as much as components that hang on it.

Ganassi team manager Tim Keene confirmed the team ran 265 miles on Monday at Homestead with Scott Pruett and made several key adjustments. One of the issues to overcome, according to Keene, was the engine mapping.

“The mapping was causing a lot of it, with it being new was the turbo, with traction control, problems, and really that was the main thing,” Keene told Sportscar365. “Aerodynamically we’re having some porpoising issues with the new splitter and things, which is really finicky. There’s a very small window to get it right.”

Adjusting to the turbo, too, continues to be something the team works on when it comes to power delivery.

“You’re trying to get a new balance of a different engine, and the way the power comes on with the turbo, you get a little bit of lag,” Keene said. “It comes on all at once. We tried to soften that up a bit.”

The Ganassi team seeks its sixth win in the last nine runnings of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and a win for Scott Pruett in the No. 01 entry would be his record sixth overall.

Meanwhile Mike Shank, who was not at Monday’s test, still said he felt pleased with the updates Ford has made since the Roar.

“We’ve made huge gains. If the public knew what we had to go through to make this thing race-ready, they’d be blown away,” he told Sportscar365.

“We had to take care of some procedural things over the last two weeks, and that was better done at the shop than at the track. We could have run (Sunday at the Roar), but if we damaged anything it would have been bad.”

Shank also confirmed that the team asked if Marcos Ambrose, who joined the four-driver lineup of Ozz Negri, John Pew, Justin Wilson and AJ Allmendinger last year when Negri was limited due to a leg injury, was available for this year’s race to come back.

However, Shank said Ambrose had a commitment in Australia to tend to and was unavailable.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony


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