Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Michaud to Test ACT's New Ford Engine Tuesday

Northfield driver Cris Michaud will test a new Ford engine at Barre's Thunder Road in practice on Tuesday. The American-Canadian Tour announced in February that development of a powerplant designed specifically for ACT-type Late Model stock cars had begun at Ford headquarters in Michigan, and with further research and testing performed at Butler & MacMaster Racing Engines in Maine.

Following a successful winter of development with the engine, Michaud gave the engine its first on-track test last Thursday at White Mountain Motorsports Park in New Hampshire.

"They did a good job with it. My lap times were identical to what we ran last year at White Mountain with the Chevrolet motor," Michaud said.

Beginning in 1999, ACT introduced its first 'spec' engine, Chevrolet's 350 cubic-inch, V8 'ZZ4' engine. Ironically, it was Michaud to debut the engine. Over time, the 'spec' engine was mandated for all ACT-legal Late Models, and the concept has been adopted widely across North American race tracks and series.

"The power curve was different compared to the Chevrolet, and I think they designed it that way on purpose," said Michaud. "The Ford had more power down near the middle and end of straightaways, while the Chevy is better coming out of the corners."

Michaud said there will be a planned match-up test on Tuesday between his car and a top-tier Chevrolet-powered Late Model to compare the two directly against each other.

"I think there will be better side-by-side racing if the Ford engine continues like it did at White Mountain," said Michaud. "Right now, with everyone running the same engine, the cars are always together off the corners. I think if the Chevys can beat the Fords off the corner, but the Fords can catch up down the stretch, you'll see some really good racing. It should be interesting."

Michaud said if the test is successful at Thunder Road, he will use the Ford engine to compete in the ACT season opener at Lee USA (N.H.) Speedway on Sunday.

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