Johnson & Maxwell WIN season-opener at Daytona for another historic 1-2 Finish for the Shelby GT350R-C
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida -- Kicking off a weekend looking to make history, Ford Performance celebrated a fast start to the 2016 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge championship with a victory at Daytona International Speedway on Friday. It was a 1-2 result for Ford Performance as the Rolex 24 At Daytona event weekend started with champagne showers.
The No. 15 Multimatic Ford Shelby GT350R-C of Scott Maxwell and Billy Johnson took a commanding win in the Daytona event on Friday after leading a race-high 29 laps, with the fellow Ford machine of young Paul Holton and Pierre Kleinubing coming home in second place with the No. 76 AERO Advanced Paint Technology / Children's Tumor Foundation / Spyder Active Sports entry.
The win is the third IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge victory for the Ford Shelby GT350R-C since making a dramatic debut midway through the 2015 season.
Starting from the front row for the two-hour, 30-minute race, the No. 15 Multimatic entry driven by Maxwell lined up directly ahead of the second row-starting No. 76 AERO Advanced Paint Technology/Children’s Tumor Foundation/Spyder Active Sports with Holton behind the wheel.
Maxwell raced in podium position through every lap of his 26-lap stint before turning the car over to Johnson as he took on four tires and fuel. Johnson remained the top-two for the remainder of the race, battling it out with the No. 13 driven by Matt Plumb. A long pit stop for four tires and fuel for the No. 15 on Lap 47 allowed for Plumb to take the lead but not for long.
Stealing the show from the pole qualifying team, the No. 15 Multimatic entry driven by Johnson was able to edge out Plumb with 30 minutes to go after chasing him down for several laps.
But the race for the win wasn’t over just yet.
Holton opened the race and pushed the Mustang Ford Shelby GT350R-C through the first half, with Kleinubing taking control through the final laps. He pushed all the way to the finish, coming up just over two seconds short of the win but still earning Ford a 1-2 finish.
“It was my first race in this car, and it’s a very different car to drive, for me,” Holton said. “I’ve driven both ST and GT cars, but 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, but the car is awesome. I can’t give the Mustang enough praise. It’s going to be a really good car for the (Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge championship) this year.”
After playing a key role in developing and winning with the Ford Performance Shelby GT350R-C in 2015, Johnson was ecstatic to open the year with a checkered-flag run and lead the Ford 1-2.
“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 (Maxwell) 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.”
The No. 57 Lira Motorsports/Ford Performance driven by Michael Lira and Cameron finished seventh after a well fought run to round out the Ford Performance stable.
Johnson & Maxwell return to GS for 2016 in the #15 Shelby GT350R-C
Billy Johnson and Scott Maxwell return to the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series for the 2016 season piloting the No.15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Performance Shelby GT350R-C.
This marks the duos second year as co-drivers having garnered 3 pole positions and a victory last year at Lime Rock Park for a historic 1-2 finish for the Shelby GT350R-C.
"It's an honor to be driving with Scott again this year" said Johnson. "His accomplishments speaks for themselves and I have learned a lot from him this past year. We have great chemistry both on and off the track, which is really important for moving with the team toward the same goal."
Over the past decade, Johnson and Maxwell account for almost every victory for the Blue Oval brand in the IMSA GS category driving the FR500C, Boss 302R, and now the GT350R-C.
Johnson & Maxwell WIN at Lime Rock for a historic 1-2 Finish for the
Billy Johnson is an American professional race car driver competing in the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge GS class for Multimatic Motorsports in the #15 Ford Performance Shelby GT350R-C with co-driver Scott Maxwell.
With 18 wins to his name, Billy is one of the most successful drivers in the CTSCC history. In addition, Billy has multiple GT class podium finishes for Turner Motorsports, driving the BMW M3 in the IMSA GTD Class as well as driving the #007 Aston Martin Vantage in the 12 Hours of Sebring for Aston Martin Racing in the GTE class with Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana in 2013.
Johnson is a test driver for Multimatic and Ford Performance and helped develop the GTE/GTLM classed Ford GT racecar, Shelby GT350R-C racecar, GT350 & GT350R street cars, and Ford GT street cars.
He has been called to drive in numerous endurance races including the 24 Hours of Daytona in the #77 Doran Racing Ford Daytona Prototype to the #64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 to the #97 Turner Motorsport Z4 GT3.
Johnson is also a road-course specialist in the NASCAR Xfinity series and is hired by Ford to teaching advanced techniques to Ford's Sprint Cup and XFinity drivers on road course racing.
Driving for Roush Fenway Racing with a career-best 8th place finish in the #60 at Montreal in 2012, Johnson made his oval racing debut at Loudon in 2013 in a Nationwide car finishing an impressive 15th position on the lead lap. He also led laps in the #16 at Road America.
Billy is an 8-time track record holder in Time Attack events driving an assortment of cars but most notable for piloting the FXMD Turbo NSX, the fastest Time Attack car in the country.
Billy currently resides in Wellington, FL.
SPEED Channel 2013 Race Broadcast:
1 - BMW Performance 200 (Daytona) WIN - (Click Here)
SPEED Channel 2012 Race Broadcast:
Video interview from the WIN at NJMP (2011):
Billy Johnson & FX Motorsports Development re-set the Buttonwillow Track Record by ~3 seconds (1:37.520) as confirmation of fastest time attack car in the country.
Billy Johnson & FXMD beat HKS Japan's long-standing track record at Buttonwillow. The only RWD car to do so!