EU3: Silverstone: Ford Racing preview

Mustang returns to europe in defense of title Dearborn, Mich. - The Ford Mustang, the iconic American pony car that has a long pedigree of race victories and series championships in both North America and Europe, will once again take on ...

Mustang returns to europe in defense of title

Dearborn, Mich. - The Ford Mustang, the iconic American pony car that has a long pedigree of race victories and series championships in both North America and Europe, will once again take on the world's best on some of Europe's most historic race tracks in 2008. The FIA GT3 European Championship and the GT4 European Cup both begin their 2008 seasons at Silverstone Circuit in England this weekend, and Ford Racing's 5.0-liter Cammer-powered FR500 Mustangs will be competing for championships in both series.

"We have always said 'Mustang was born to race,' and the GT4 championship last year was just another in a long line of great race wins and championships the brand has been involved with for more than 40 years," said Jamie Allison, Manager of the Ford Racing Performance Group, North America. "We're thrilled that race fans worldwide have a chance to see Mustang race against the very best and we're even more pleased to be associated with Matech Racing, who is running a full line of Ford Racing 5.0-liter Cammer-powered competition Mustangs and Ford GT's in FIA GT3."

Eric de Doncker won the inaugural GT4 European Cup championship last season behind the wheel of a Mustang FR500GT4 and will again campaign the full season in 2008 to defend his title. However, de Doncker will also pull double duty as the co-driver of one of three Mustang FR500GT3's that Matech Racing has entered to run in the FIA GT3 Championship.

Matech is Ford Racing's exclusive distributor of FIA homologated competition Mustangs in Europe and also fields three Ford GT's in FIA GT3 that are powered by Ford Racing's 5.0L Cammer engine.

"It was really a pleasure to race the Mustang and work with Ford Racing and Multimatic," said de Doncker. "I think we started a good relationship, and my love for Mustangs is even bigger. The goal was to win the title, and to be able to achieve my goal made me very proud for my staff and for myself as a driver. But I have to thank Ford Racing and Multimatic for building such a great and reliable car for me to race."

The FIA GT3 Championship was launched in 2006 as a way to expand manufacturer involvement in motorsports as well as to help amateur drivers across Europe. The GT4 European Cup started in 2007 and was created to extend the concept of the FIA GT3 series to a less expensive second-tier GT category of racecar with an emphasis on reduced costs, high reliability and the use of production parts.

Ford Racing Mustang Competition Ladder

With multiple Mustang race cars available to competitors of varying skill levels, Ford Racing now provides customers a racing ladder - all within one manufacturer - to climb up through the ranks of professional racing.

"Throughout its history, Mustang has proven that it can dominate on every level of competition," said Jamie Allison. "The Ford Racing competition ladder offers race-prepared FR500 Mustangs available from any Ford dealership in the U.S. and helps enthusiasts become a part of the rich heritage of Mustang racing."

The Ford Racing ladder begins with the Ford Racing High Performance Driving School at Miller Motorsports Park, located in Tooele, Utah, featuring specially prepared school Mustangs. Designed for the high performance- driving enthusiast, the school provides professional instruction ranging from basic vehicle dynamics and car control to learning the fundamentals of high performance driving.

The next rung on the ladder is the Mustang FR500S, which is the heart of a new Mustang spec series, the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge for the Miller Cup, which will sanction its inaugural race at Road Atlanta on May 3rd. Targeting racers looking to compete in an affordable, challenging V8- powered rear-wheel drive car, the Mustang Challenge provides competitors with a base to hone their driving skills and an exciting year-long schedule to race against other semi-pro drivers.

Moving up the ladder puts racers behind the wheel of the Mustang FR500C, which competes in the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series, and the FR500GT4, which competes in the GT4 European Cup. Both cars are proven winners with each having won championships in its first year of competition; the FR500C the Grand-Am Cup championship in 2005 and the FR500GT4 the GT4 European Cup in 2007.

At the top of the ladder sits both the Mustang FR500GT and FR500GT3, which represent the ultimate race-bred Mustang. The FR500GT is currently being homologated for Grand-Am Rolex GT and other applications, while the FR500GT3 has already competed in select FIA GT3 European Championship races and will be campaigned full-time in 2008.

-credit: fordracing.com

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Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Eric de Doncker