Racing fans at Sebring are plenty used to seeing Honda powering into the winner's circle, the Japanese motor company having claimed class victories at the endurance race in Florida in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Those were all in the LMP2 category, but with the Twelve Hours of Sebring now part of the combined United SportsCar Championship, Honda is branching out into another class: Daytona Prototypes.
Honda is following Ford's lead and debuting the second twin-turbocharged V6 to be used by Daytona Prototypes in the United Sports Car Championship. The wait won't be long to see it on track because the new engine will debut with the Starworks Motorsport team in a Riley Gen3 prototype chassis at the 12 Hours of Sebring from March 12-15.
Bringing two racing series together is good news for racing fans, whether it's the re-merger of the IndyCar and Champ Car series, the reconciliation between the FIA and the ACO to form the World Endurance Championship or the joining of forces between Grand-Am and the American Le Mans Series.
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced yesterday at Ford's SEMA press conference that it will field a Ford-Riley Daytona Prototype with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 in the 2014 United SportsCar Championship (USCC). CGRFS is the second team to commit to the new Ford-Riley car, behind Michael Shank Racing (which has already used the racecar to break a 26-year-old top-speed record at Daytona International Speedway).
Some mighty machines have lapped the banks of the Daytona International Speedway over the years: thunderous V8-powered stock cars, Le Mans-conquering Group C prototypes, open-wheel Champ Cars, knee-dragging superbikes... heck, the infield lake has even hosted powerboat racing. But this – this is the fastest car ever to lap the legendary raceway.
Ford Racing just unveiled the Riley Daytona Prototype that will make its racing in the United SportsCar Racing Championship Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, and now it has released a video showing development of twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that powers the car. Using the same block and heads that can be found on a production Ford Taurus SHO, this new racecar benefits from the collaboration between Ford Racing and Ford powertrain engineers.
It's not the first time Ford has participated in the Daytona Prototype class as an engine supplier, but in revealing this new EcoBoost V6-powered Riley Technologies prototype for the new United SportsCar Championship, Ford is making a statement: "We want to show Ford EcoBoost's capabilities as an engine that provides both performance and fuel economy, on and off the track," says Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing.
The factory-backed Porsche RS Spyders of Penske Racing have been leading the ALMS LMP2 class and even captured some overall victories this year. In the competing (well, kinda) Grand Am series, the official Porsche engine in the Daytona Prototype class is a 3.8-liter flat-six. The Spirit of Daytona team, however, wants to take a different approach.