Close Shave at Barber with the Weather for Mustang Duo

BIRMINGHAM, AL (July 29th, 2005) – The Multimatic Motorsports Ford Racing Technology Mustang FR500C entries of Scott Maxwell/David Empringham and Gunnar Jeannette/James Gue managed to squeeze in a quick time this afternoon at Barber Motorsports Park before the Alabama venue was struck by a heavy thunderstorm.

The 45 minute afternoon practice session was halted after only 19 minutes with spectacular lightning illuminating the dark clouds above.

The session began with a drying track before the session was cut short. Scott Maxwell managed to set the second fastest time of the session at 1:38.964 in the #05 Mustang FR500C he is sharing with David Empringham.

Gunnar Jeannette stopped the clocks at 1:39.680 in the #55 car he will race tomorrow with James Gue.

During the dry morning session, the Maxwell/Empringham entry was third fastest while Jeannette and Gue were 10th.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t get to learn anything in the afternoon session as the track never really became dry enough to get a read on the set-up before the storm hit,” Multimatic Vice President and Technical Director, Larry Holt said.

“It probably turned out to be a bit of a waste of fuel. Scotty was chopping about half a second a lap as the track got drier and he probably would have been on the pace of this morning’s session within another couple of laps.

“It is a bit inconclusive at the moment. I think we are OK so far – this morning we ran around on 40-lap old tires and were still third fastest so that is a good sign.

“We bolted on some new tires for the afternoon session, but we never got the chance to find out where we are in relation to the opposition.”

The Multimatic Motorsports crew managed to return to the shelter of the paddock at the end of the session just before the downpour struck – leaving the track awash. 

Ford Racing Technology embarked on this program to return the Mustang to the race track, and unveiled the new Mustang FR500C racer at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturer’s Association Show in Las Vegas in November last year. Ford Racing worked closely with Multimatic on the design, development, and build of the race car to Grand-Am specification.

Ford Racing Performance Parts will offer the Mustang FR500C in Grand-Am Cup specification, as well as all the racing components necessary for race team support and for those enthusiasts interested in enhancing their own Mustangs.


Scott Maxwell

“It would have been good to actually try a wet set up out there but the danger of lightning for the race officials had to taken into consideration. I have never been here before, so I would have liked to find out where the grip is in wet conditions. On some tracks like Mosport you end up using completely different lines in the wet – the chance to experience a little and drive on different parts of the road would have been handy. The cars seems to have good balance and I think we fairly happy with it. I don’t believe we have nailed the set up perfectly just yet, but it appears we have at least a top five car so far.”

David Empringham

“This is my first time here and it is certainly a beautiful racetrack – very challenging and quite technical. I didn’t think the Mustang would go well on a track like this but we certainly appear to be very competitive so far and we should be in good shape for the race tomorrow. If it rains in the race, it will present all sorts of challenges for us. Both Scotty and I like the wet, but we have to keep an eye on the championship and be careful that we don’t slide off or have somebody hit you. We are certainly not interested in having that happen, but if it does rain, we will fight them hard.”

Gunnar Jeannette

“I was actually surprised we managed to get as many dry laps as we did in the afternoon session. You could see the dark clouds rolling in as we were putting on the dry tires and getting ready to go out. I didn’t the track would suit the Mustang that well, but the FR500C continues to surprise us wherever we go. We are closer to the BMWs than we thought but in qualifying I think those guys will be tough to beat. However, our race package is very strong and we continue to show the Mustang has a very impressive all round package for whatever track we go to.”

James Gue

“It really is a magnificent venue here – great racetrack and great facilities for the teams as well. We had a pretty strong day out there – but there is always room for improvement. However, I am fairly happy with the way the day worked out. There is still a bit of time for us to find – particularly in the slow speed stuff. The new rear-end final drive gear mandated by Grand-Am for the FR500C is hurting us a little and that is starting to show up at some of these slower tracks. If it rains tomorrow there will obviously be a lot of yellow flag periods, but the surface is pretty smooth so the grip level may not be too bad.