Dramatic Fightback from Empringham Brings Championship in Sight

PHOENIX, AZ (September 10th, 2005) – Ford Racing Technology and Multimatic Motorsports star David Empringham is now only one tenth place finish from claiming the 2005 Grand-Am Cup Championship.

After finishing 4th with Scott Maxwell at Phoenix last weekend, Empringham now only needs to finish tenth or better at Virginia International Raceway to claim the 2005 championship.

A tenth place finish would still give the Canadian the championship even if rival Justin Marks continues his winning run with BMW at VIR.

Marks and Bill Auberlen won their third race in a row as Empringham and Scott Maxwell pulled out a stunning comeback drive to fourth place after starting from pit lane.

Empringham and Maxwell were forced to start from the pits after race officials collected the engine electronic control units from all the Mustang FR500C entries and redistributed them randomly to all the teams.

However, upon their return just prior to the start of the race, none of the cars would start! Empringham and Maxwell were able to get their car fired just in time to join the race from the pit lane and begin chasing the pack from the rear of the field.

Team-mates Gunnar Jeannette and James Gue were not as fortunate, their #55 machine could not be started until 14 laps into the race.

“David did a brilliant job in the race to come from dead last all the way up to the top five before the pit stops. That was an amazing effort,” Multimatic Vice President and Technical Director, Larry Holt said.

“We didn’t have the best build up with an oil leak limiting our practice time, but we thought we were looking OK when we qualified on the front row.

“However, starting from the back of the grid was not something we had planned. David had to start with new brake pads, new rotors and sticker tires – the plan was to be able to bed those in during the form-up laps.

“We were lucky to get a yellow flag at the right time and our pit stops worked well. We were certainly looking for a better result, but we are still very well placed to clinch the championship at VIR.

“Anything can happen yet, but we remain in very good shape going into the final round.”

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

“The entire weekend was a bit of a disaster but we managed to salvage a good result for ourselves. We really didn’t have a fast car and the limited track time didn’t help. The competition is getting closer and closer but I think we should be a lot more competitive at VIR – that should be a circuit which should suit the Mustang a lot more. We have had some good races there in the past and the championship is really up to us now – we just have to finish with a good solid top ten. It is nice to be in control of our own destiny.” 

David Empringham

“We really didn’t have a car to do any better than around fifth but we certainly had to fight pretty hard after starting from the pit lane. It was a little tough in traffic because we had some temperature problems when we ran too closely behind other cars – but you had to run pretty hard chasing people to get a good run on them. That made it hard at the finish. We probably could have moved up a spot, but I had to keep an eye on temps. It was more important for us to finish and set our sights on the championship at VIR.”

Gunnar Jeannette

“We can’t seem to break our streak of bad luck – hopefully when we get the monkey off our back at VIR. I only did a couple of laps in the race before we had electrical problems again. Phoenix was not the best weekend for us but both James and I are keen to help David in the championship as much as we can. Our job at VIR will be to try to get as many points as we can and hopefully deny the BMW guys a few points. Personally, James and I have both had a rough couple of weeks, but it would be great for Dave to take the title at the final race.”

James Gue

“The weekend was a bit of a disaster for Gunnar and I, especially after the hood blew up in practice and smashed the windscreen. We only had about five laps under our belt before the race started. However, I was still pretty optimistic going into the race and we set some pretty competitive times. But starting so many laps down really put us out of contention and an electrical problem eventually put us out. It is a bit disappointing but the championship is still looking good for Scott and Dave.”