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Auto blogThu, 10 Oct 2013 11:30:00 EST
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.
What you're looking at is the new Daytona Prototype being prepared by Riley Technologies for the new United SportsCar Championship. The car, released just last week, is powered by a new 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 from Ford's EcoBoost family, and just obliterated the top speed at the track with a blistering 222.971 miles per hour through the traps.
That's enough to annihilate the previous record that was set, also under Ford power, by Bill Elliott while placing his Thunderbird on pole for the 1987 Daytona 500 that he would go on to win. His 210.364 mph record had stood for 26 years until now.
The second-generation Ford Transit Connect is almost upon us, and to get work- and family-oriented customers ready for the new model, Ford has launched a configurator for both van and wagon versions. Both body styles will go on sale early next year with the base TC Van starting at $22,000, but customers wanting side windows and rear seats will have to pony up at least an extra $3,000 for the TC Wagon.
Ford is definitely looking to get back into the family van business with the 2014 TC Wagon offering three available trim levels, two engines and the choice between five- and seven-passenger seating (with two wheelbases). Like many recent Ford products, a fancy Titanium trim level is offered, and opting for it will cost you - this trim starts at $29,000, and we were able to spec it out with a panoramic roof, tow package and front and rear parking sensors for a little over $33,000.
Businesses looking for a small, fuel-efficient work vehicle now get more options on the TC Van like the choice of split, hinged rear doors or a liftgate (with or without glass), a long wheelbase ($1,000) and Ford's CrewChief vehicle tracking system ($925). Fully loaded, this van is still costs less than the fullsize E-Series. On both Van and Wagon, the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine is a $795 option, but it is only offered on short-wheelbase models and Ford has yet to release power or fuel economy specs yet. With the standard 2.5-liter engine, the TC will get up to 21 miles per gallon in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.
Mark Fields' travels on the friendly skies will soon be a relatively personal affair, as the new CEO at Ford will be required to resume air travel via the company's private planes. Fields caught plenty of flak in 2007 for flying on the company's dime to visit his family in Florida. He's since flown commercial.
According to Ford spokesperson Susan Krusel, who spoke to Bloomberg, Fields (pictured above right, with Bill Ford, Jr. at center and Alan Mulally at left) will switch to private travel "for safety and to maximize his availability for company business." In addition to his new travel arrangements, the 53-year-old exec's salary and bonuses have been revealed.
Regulatory filings by Ford revealed that Fields, whose first day in the big chair was July 1, will receive a base salary this year of $1.25 million and he'll be eligible for $3.5 million in bonuses, both of which are lower than Alan Mulally's $2 million salary and $5.88 million in bonuses received last year. That's also lower than General Motors CEO Mary Barra's alleged $1.6-million salary and considerably less than Sergio Marchionne's $3.19-million fixed salary from Fiat. Despite falling short of other CEOs, Fields' new pay still represents a 33-percent increase over his pay as Chief Operating Officer.