Waterbury, VT–The American Canadian Tour (ACT) has successfully completed the first two tests on a new Ford crate engine program. The tests were conducted at the White Mountain Motorsports Park in Lincoln, NH last week, and during a test and tune session at Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre, VT on Tuesday, April 14, 2009.

     Veteran ACT driver Cris Michaud, of Williamstown, VT, along with his crew chief Kendell Legendre, was asked to do the testing.  “It took a bit of work to convert our existing GM-equipped car to the Ford, but we managed to accomplish it.  We were pretty happy with the first test, and yesterday at Thunder Road we felt we might be a little short on gear, but the FORD motor never skipped a beat.  The times were certainly in line with what the GM crates average at White Mountain and Thunder Road”, said Legendre, who is a former Late Model racer at both facilities.

     ACT has been interested in having a Ford engine compete with the GM crate motor from the very beginning of the program in 2000.  GM has been the staple of the ACT crate program for nearly a decade. There are approximately 350 GM ZZ-4 crate engines in the overall ACT markets, which are located throughout New England and the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. 

       Ford Motor Company engineers have worked with ACT’s primary engine builder, Butler and MacMaster of Hallowell, Me, for the past year in developing a compatible motor. “It has been a challenge to come up with an engine package that will be comparable with the GM program. We had a lot of co-operation from the Ford factory engineers to meet our goals”, said Dave MacMaster.

       The president of ACT, Tom Curley, attended both sessions and said, “ We were very pleased with the results of both tests this past week. We really have a ‘spec’ motor with this Ford project.  Dave MacMaster made a lot of changes to make the Ford engine compatible with the GM.  I am very excited that we might be able to have an old-time Ford versus Chevy rivalry in the near future on our various ACT programs.”

       “We did a two car closed compatibility test with Cris in the Ford and Thunder Road defending Champion Eric Williams in his Chevrolet. That test was very positive, and then the Ford practiced at Thunder Road with all the other Late Models in the first test and tune session of the 2009 season”, said Curley.  With a satisfactory test session at White Mountain in New Hampshire and good results from the Thunder Road effort, Michaud will be allowed to race the Ford engine this coming weekend in the New Hampshire Governor’s Cup 150, at the LEE USA Speedway, Sunday, April 19. If successful, there will be a determination whether the Ford will then be optioned into the ACT 2009 rulebook.

       There is a great irony in that it was Cris Michaud who tested the original ACT GM crate motor when it was under development in 1999.