News

Empringham a Step Closer to Championship as Young Guns Hit Hard with Penalty

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LEXINGTON, OH (August 28th, 2005) – David Empringham continues to lead the 2005 Grand-Am Cup Championship for Ford Racing Technology and Multimatic with only two races remaining after finishing in second place with Scott Maxwell last weekend at Mid Ohio.

The Canadian duo qualified their Ford Mustang FR500C in third place and completed a strong race to grab the runner up spot with Empringham now holding a healthy 22-point advantage over race-winner and championship rival Justin Marks (264-242).

Both Maxwell and Marks’ co-driver Bill Auberlen are out of the chase for the championship after missing the Mosport round of the championship earlier this year when both were competing as team-mates for Panoz at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Young US stars Gunnar Jeannette and James Gue had their race destroyed after Gue was given a five minute penalty by race officials after contact with the Nonnamaker Porsche.

Gue was challenging the Porsche on the run down to the “key hole” at Mid Ohio when his rival moved over on the Mustang, resulting in minor contact.

“Grand Am have obviously decided to be very strict on contact last weekend and James was unfortunately the first car to be hit with such a penalty,” Multimatic Vice President and Technical Director, Larry Holt said.

“We certainly support the fact that we don’t want this series to be a demolition derby, but there seems to be a bit of a lack of balance between the punishment and the crime.

“The fact that there was no video evidence of the contact makes it pretty tough to swallow. It was our word versus theirs and this time they won. The report came from a flag point which was a very long way away.

“If James had punted him off we would have been more than happy to cop that kind of penalty, but it seems a little harsh for what happened.

“The good thing is David is still holding the championship lead and we will be doing everything in our power to help him defend that in the final two races of 2005.

“For us, Scotty Maxwell was the star of the day. He did a extraordinary job to climb from 17th back to second in the final hour of the race. I put him in a bad track position because our fuel economy is not as good as the BMW, but he drove brilliantly in run to the flag.”

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.

Quotes

Scott Maxwell

“It was a tough one for us today. We lost out on fuel mileage and ended up 17th after the caution, so it was hard work to come back to the second. The Ford Mustang FR500C was strong. The brakes worked well, the engine worked well, and we’ll take the points. We were pushing hard, but (the No. 96 BMW) was a long way up the road when we came across, so we’ve still got some work to do. The BMW is very fast so David and I will be out to grab as many points as we can in the last two races to defend the championship lead.”

David Empringham

“It ended up as a good points scoring weekend for us but it was a lot of hard work. It would have been nice to win, but the championship is our goal here. We can’t afford to take unnecessary risks with only two rounds remaining. The yellows didn’t really fall at the right time for us which didn’t help at all. But Scotty did a brilliant job in the last half of the race. He worked really hard to move from 17th up to second. The points gap from first to second is pretty small so we just have to concentrate on getting similar results in the final two rounds.”

Gunnar Jeannette

“Saying I am disappointed with the result is a bit of an understatement. We had a good car and could have ended up with a solid top five or even a top three finish. Unfortunately, our championship hopes are probably ruined now – a five minute penalty is pretty severe. I have never seen a penalty like it – especially considering there was no television footage to back up the report. James and I have no choice now but to do our best to score as many points as we can and protect David’s championship lead.”

James Gue

“Grand Am came down on any contact pretty hard and obviously it is very disappointing. We happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and the officials hit us pretty hard. I went to pass the Nonnamaker Porsche and I saw him look in the mirror and chop over on me. We had a little bump but there was no harm done. I followed him through the turn and pulled off the pass at the next corner. They had no TV footage and just went off a flag marshall’s report which was from a long way away.”