The blue oval will cease all involvement with Ford Performance Racing (FPR) at the end of 2015.
In a shocking move which many had previously predicted, Ford Australia has confirmed that it is backing out of V8 Supercars racing at the end of the 2015 season.
Additionally, Ford will also be closing the doors on its Australian manufacturing plant no later than October 2016 which will effectively kill off the Ford Falcon.
Not about the money?
Citing that the company wishes to budget its limiting marketing funds to its growing product lineup and improve the overall customer experience, the move will be indefinite. As Ford Australia marketing chief, David Katic, said, “We are very aware of what some people will think but all I ask is that people understand this is not about cost saving. This is about investing in areas that we think consumers will value as well.
“We have tangible proof of those investments; it’s not just saving money and that’s it. It’s new products, customer experience, etc.
“We understand the passion but we think we need to make some of these difficult decisions – and they are difficult.”
Playing down any chance that the 2017 Gen2 regulations – which would allow engines other than V8s and body styles other than sedans into the series – Katic doubted that Ford would soon return.
Ford in 2015
FPR drivers Mark Winterbottom and Chaz Mostert will still race the FG X Falcons in 2015 along with Marcos Ambrose and the new Dick Johnson Racing (DJR) Team Penske entry.
However, there will be a reduced commercial involvement from the blue oval next season and will cease all involvement beyond that.
With 23 drivers’ championships along with 19 Bathurst 500/1000 victories – including the previous two years through FPR – Ford has been a cornerstone of Australian touring car history. Over the years, however, Ford has often waned in their support for V8 Supercars. With the final nail in the coffin for a factory-backed team, the controversial move has cast a cloud of uncertainty on the future of the sport.