Mustang FR500C Facing Tough Battle in New Specification at Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, NY (June 8th, 2005) – Multimatic Motorsports face an even tougher fight at this weekend’s latest round of the 2005 Grand Am Cup Championship at Watkins Glen with new restrictions imposed by race officials to curb the speed of the Ford Mustang FR500C.

Reacting to the success achieved by Multimatic and customer entry Blackforest Motorsports, Grand-Am has forced all of the new Mustangs to run a taller rear diff ratio – virtually eliminating the use of sixth gear.

In addition, Porsche and BMW rivals have been given concessions which will improve their performance.

Although Multimatic and Ford lead the driver’s, team’s and manufactuer’s championships in Grand Am Cup in 2005, the Mustang FR500C has only set the fastest lap in one race in 2005 and has never sat on pole position.

BMW has set the fastest race lap in three of the four races. The German make’s run on pole positions has also only been beaten once by a Nissan 350Z.

Multimatic tested the new differential specification recently at Mosport and Multimatic Vice President and Technical Director, Larry Holt is concerned about the impact of the new change.

“Looking at the result of the test, I am certainly not very optimistic for this weekend,” he said.

“Looking at fastest race laps and qualifying performance, the BMW is clearly the fastest car out there, but now they will be even quicker and we have been slowed.

“All the Mustangs have been penalized because ourselves and Blackforest have done a better job in the races. We have top line drivers and our strategy has been perfect. It is also a little unfair for the other Mustang customers who also receive the same penalty.

“We come to two of the fastest circuits in the championship over the next two weekends – races where the Mustang should be expected to do well. Unfortunately, I think we could be looking at the back end of BMWs disappearing into the distance.

“However, we will just have to continue to fine tune our cars even further and try and do an even better job. There is not a lot we can do but do the best we can to hold on to our lead for Ford.”

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 new specification change is going to hit us really hard which is disappointing because Watkins Glen is really one of my favorite tracks. Despite the set-back, I am still really looking forward to the race this weekend. The entire circuit flows really well and it is all high speed stuff – it really is a lot of fun to drive and very challenging. The usual suspects will all be strong this week especially the BMW. We will need to keep an eye on the Cadillac here as well because this circuit should suit them as well.”

David Empringham

“We fought back for a fantastic win at Laguna Seca but this weekend is going to be a lot tougher. With the rear gear we have now in the car, we will never get anywhere near top gear. Unless we run on the Bonneville Salt flats – sixth gear is a thing of the past for us. But we are not about to give up without a fight. Defending our championship lead is going to be a challenge but we are going to push as hard as we can. Hopefully, Grand-Am will bring the opposition back to us a little or let us run a bit lighter when they see the impact of the new change.”

Gunnar Jeannette

“I tested the car in its new configuration and I am a little disappointed, but there is not much we can do about it. All the Mustangs have been penalized simply because we have done a better job in the races – it really is a bummer. I have done lots of races here at Watkins Glen before including some really cool historic stuff like 917 and 962 Porsche prototype cars. We tested the Mustang here last year during the development phase and although we have made great strides forward since that test – the new diff ratio now puts us back a couple of steps.”

James Gue

“Hopefully the change is not going to put us too far back in the pack because there are 76 entries for this weekend – it is going to be tough out there. Traffic could really play an impact if you catch it in the wrong spot. Our strategy has been the key to our success this year – we have made the right calls at the righ time in every race – that is why we are leading the championship. Hopefully we can defend the lead – this is one of my favorite tracks – the section going up the hill through the esses is a great fast and flowing section.”