Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will switch to Ford EcoBoost engines for the inaugural TUDOR United Sports Car Championship.
The team, which has won seven of the last ten Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototypes Championship, will make the change to the new 3.5-litre V6 power plants offering both power and fuel-efficiency advantages.
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas will return to Ganassi for the 2014 season, getting behind the wheel of the team’s Riley Daytona Prototype. They will begin their championship challenge at the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona in January. Between them, Pruett and Rojas have scored 27 victories since 2007.
“We are very excited to be switching to Ford power for our sports car program,” said Chip Ganassi. “Over the last 10 seasons we have been able to experience a great deal of success in GRAND-AM and now with the dawn of the new United SportsCar Championship we feel that Ford power will be a key ingredient to writing the next chapter of our sports car program. I can’t wait for the 24 hours at Daytona to get here.”
Chip Ganassi Racing has a strong history in American motorsport, taking 17 championships in top level series, including five wins at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, including the 2013 race.
“Partnering with Chip and his championship-caliber organization in this new sports car series is a critical ingredient to our Ford EcoBoost program in USCC,” said a director at Ford Racing, Jamie Allison. “Chip’s team has a legacy of winning in endurance sports car racing, excellent technical capabilities, and race proven experiences– all elements we were looking for to field our Ford EcoBoost racing program.
“This new Ford EcoBoost race engine shares 70 percent of its parts with the 3.5-liter V6 engine that a customer can buy today in their Taurus SHO. This is Ford engine technology at its best — direct injection, turbocharging and high efficiency. And there may not be a better place to continue to develop and improve it than endurance sports car racing.”
The move also marks Pruett’s return to Ford, a partnership that began back in 1985 with two races in the IMSA GTO Series. He then went on to win four IMSA and SCCA Trans-Am championships in three years as a Ford factory driver before making his move to Indy Car racing. Pruett took two victories in Indy Car racing, both with Ford power, and drove a Ford Taurus in his only full season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
“Coming back to Ford is the perfect way to bookend my career,” said Pruett. “To be honest, without Ford, there is no Scott Pruett. Ford gave me the chance to drive my first real race car – the front-engine Mustang GTP in 1983 — and then they were willing to take a chance on me when no one else did in 1985 and 1986.”