Billy Johnson and Scott Maxwell drove the Ford Shelby GT350R-C to its first win at Daytona International Speedway on Friday in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race.
Johnson hunted the lead, trading spots for p1 several times in the closing stint. It’s the duo’s second win and third podium in the Shelby GT350R-C since the car debuted at Watkins Glen in 2015. They first won at Lime Rock last season. It was the Shelby GT350R-C’s third overall win in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.
After primary challenger Matt Plumb suffered a fuel pump failure in his Porsche, the battle was between two Shelbys – Johnson in the No. 15 Multimatic entry, and Pierre Kleinubing in the brand new No. 76 AERO Advanced Paint Technology/Children’s Tumor Foundation Shelby GT350R-C fielded by Compass360 Racing, the first customer team for the Shelby GT350R-C.
Kleinubing and co-driver Paul Holton finished p2 in their first race together in the Shelby GT350R-C.
“It was great to see two Ford Performance Shelby GT350R-Cs on the podium after all the hard work everyone’s done getting the car to where it’s at,” Johnson said. “It’s the first time the car’s competed at Daytona and we’re really happy to be in victory lane with the car and a 1-2 finish for the GT350R-C. Scott did a fantastic job on the first stint and I just can’t thank him and the team enough for all the hard work and good job they do.”
Maxwell qualified the No. 15 Multimatic entry p3, while Holton put the No. 76 AERO Advanced Paint Technology Shelby p4 on the grid.
The Shelby GT350R production car was unveiled January 2015, and is one of more than 12 new vehicles Ford Performance will bring to market through 2020. Both production and race car versions feature the first-ever production car V8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft. This unique layout – typically reserved for the world’s most exotic sports cars – helped create the most powerful naturally aspirated engine Ford has ever produced.
“It was my first race in this car, and it’s a very different car to drive, for me,” Holton said. “I’ve driven Street Tuner and GT cars, nothing with that kind of torque and that small of a tire. The Continental Tires are really good. We had a really green track because it was raining all week and this was the first dry day. I didn’t have a single dry lap going into that race, so as we went on, the track got grippier and grippier and then greasier and greasier, so it was quite a handful. The car changed a lot. The track changed a lot over the course of the race.
“The car is awesome. I can’t give the car enough praise. It’s going to be a really good car for the (Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge championship) this year.”
Source: Ford Motor Company