BRUSSELS, November 2, 2004 - Ford of Europe today revealed a strong package of motorsport activities and support, which provides its customers with the opportunity to compete successfully at an affordable budget. Rallying, touring cars, Formula Ford and one-make circuit racing all feature in Ford's plans after a comprehensive review of its motorsport strategy.
Jost Capito, Director of Ford TeamRS, the organisation within Ford which co- ordinates the Company's European motorsport programmes, announced the details today in Brussels. Both the new Ford Focus and the Ford Fiesta feature strongly in the package, which has been designed to support the Company's brand strategy.
Ford Fiesta JWRC to M-Sport
World Championship Rallying, based around the Focus RS WRC, will continue to be Ford of Europe's headline 'works' motorsport activity through a strengthened partnership with M-Sport.
This commitment to rallying further extends to the two-wheel drive Ford Fiesta JWRC. In conjunction with the four-year WRC programme and M-Sport's WRC customer business, Ford's decision to transfer responsibility for the Fiesta JWRC to Dovenby Hall is intended to establish M-Sport as Ford's centre for international rallying.
"We will continue to provide the Fiesta JWRC and Super 1600 cars for private teams," Capito said. "To ensure that the Fiesta remains competitive and fulfils its full potential, M-Sport will take over immediate responsibility for the development of this programme and customer support. It will be fully integrated into Malcolm Wilson's activities to guarantee that our customer teams receive the best possible support for their Fiesta programmes."
New Focus Touring Car for Customer Teams
The new generation Ford Focus is the potential choice for an international touring car challenger to meet the needs of customer teams.
"Ford products have a long tradition in touring car racing, especially in Germany, where the abilities of great cars like the Capri, the Sierra, Mondeo and more recently, the Focus, have been showcased," said Capito. "We have been following the development of the Super 2000 regulations with great interest. We see this highly cost-effective category spreading quickly, to the extent of a formula for a world championship from next year onwards.
"Therefore Ford is developing a new Ford Focus touring car to meet the Super 2000 regulations. This car would allow our existing and potential customer teams to compete in that category at the highest level, with an affordable budget and a competitive car," he added.
"We plan to provide further details on this programme in the near future," Capito commented.
Grassroots Motorsport Commitment
Ford's strategy also extends to the roots of motorsport.
"Ford has not forgotten the grass root motorsport categories, where our products have been the choice of competitors for many years," Capito said. "We want to see Formula Ford return to the strength and popularity that this category had in the past. Therefore, we announced earlier this month that we will continue our support of the successful Formula Ford UK Championship into 2005.
"In Germany, the Ford Fiesta ST Cup also has enjoyed huge success, with grids of more than 30 cars for each race. This series will continue into 2005 for a third season. Furthermore, we are exploring interest elsewhere in this branch of motorsport, with a view to possibly taking the category into other countries, both within Europe and further afield."
"There are many more grass roots motorsport activities happening throughout Europe, via enthusiasts who realise the potential strength and competitiveness of our cars. Each and every one of those competitors has our appreciation. I encourage them all to continue with Ford, just as we continue to develop reliable and dynamic road cars which form such a great platform for the challenges that arise in motorsport," he said.