Pace vehicles are as hot as race vehicles during Ford Championship Weekend.
MIAMI, Florida, November 13, 2002 - When NASCAR's cars and trucks get ready to race in the inaugural Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, they'll be led to the green flag by some of Ford's hottest performance cars and trucks.
In fact, it may be the ultimate visual display of the new Ford Performance Group, announced by Ford just two months ago and comprising Ford Racing Technology, Vehicle Personalization, and Special Vehicle Team.
The new Mustang Mach 1, a product of Ford's Vehicle Personalization group, will pace the field in Sunday's Ford 400 NASCAR Winston Cup finale.
The Ford SVT Focus, one of the hottest sports compact cars in the market and a product of Special Vehicle Team, will lead the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division cars in Saturday's Ford 300.
And the world's fastest production pickup truck, the Ford SVT Lightning, will take the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series competitors to the green flag in Friday's Ford 200.
"It makes sense that we'd want some of our hottest performance products to be featured prominently in what might be the biggest race weekend of the year," said Burt Diamond, global motorsport marketing manager, Ford Racing Technology.
"The Mustang Mach 1, and the SVT Focus and Lightning are the type of products that we know both driving enthusiasts and Ford race fans watching this weekend would love to be driving. And we know that they're the type of vehicles that will certainly provide the kind of on-track performance that NASCAR needs to pace these fields."
The Winston Cup and Busch Series races will feature race-prepped Ford Tauruses, and the Craftsman Truck series finale will feature Ford F-Series race trucks, all done with the engineering assistance of Ford Racing Technology, the racing arm of Ford.
The three feature races will provide exclamation points to a year in which, for the first time in history, NASCAR's top touring divisions will crown champions on the same weekend at the same venue.
Here's brief information on all three official pace vehicles for the Ford Championship Weekend:
* Ford 400: The 2003 Mach 1 is a limited edition, 305-horsepower Mustang, featuring the signature "shaker" hood scoop, and reminiscent of the 1969 model that carried the same name. It's the latest vehicle from Ford's Living Legends Studio, and only 6,500 will be made.
* Ford 300: The 2003 SVT Focus gets 170 horsepower from its 2.0L Zetec four-cylinder engine, all of which is fed through a dual-mass flywheel and into a Getrag six-speed manual transmission. The SVT-tuned suspension includes unique spring rates, dampers and bushings.
* Ford 200: The 2003 SVT Lightning continues to set the standard in acceleration, handling and attitude. It's powered by a supercharged and intercooled 5.4-liter Triton SOHC V-8 producing 380 hp and 450 ft.-lbs.of torque. In order to provide stopping power, the SVT Lightning features 12-inch brake rotors up front and 13-inch rotors in the rear.