Ford wants Mustangs to race in Europe, will face the Ford GT
As we've said in the past, the Mustang is Ford's ace in the hole. The current model is a bonafide smash hit, being recognized and revered the world over. So it makes perfect sense that if fans in other parts of the world can't buy the reigning pony car king, then at least they should be able to watch it race. Ford is expected to officially announce that it's already begun the homologation process for both its Ford Racing Mustang FR500C "Boy Racer" and Mustang FR500GT "Man Racer" to race in FIA GT4 and GT3 competitions, respectively. The FR500C has more than proven its on-track prowess in North American motorsports, where it currently is being run by many private teams in the Grand Am KONI Challenge Series. The more powerful FR500GT has yet to officially go racing, but there are hopes for a spec series to be run in conjunction with the 2008 Champ Car schedule. The homologation of both vehicles to meet FIA regulations is being handled by Canada-based Multimatic Motorsports, which developed the FR500GT in conjunction for Ford Racing.
But wait, the FR500GT will see a familiar face in the GT3 class when it does finally touch down in Europe. Matech Racing has just announced that it will enter three Ford GT cars in the upcoming 2007 season of FIA GT3 racing. While Ford is not officially involved, Matech is hoping to get some assistance from Ford of Europe in the homologation process. The promoters of FIA GT3 are extremely happy the Ford GT will be joining its ranks, and we're happy we may get to see some sibling rivalry before too long.
[Source: Ford, Jalopnik, Automobilsport]
PRESS RELEASE (from Jalopnik):
FORD MUSTANG FR500 dominates tracks in usa; READY TO TAKE ON EUROPE *
Mustang, arguably with more racing wins than any other Ford nameplate in North America, may be ready to take on the best of Europe. * Ford Racing Mustang FR500GT and Mustang FR500C race cars being homologated for racing in Federation Internationale De L'Automobile (FIA) GT competition. * Interest from teams in Europe may have Mustang racing soon on some of world's great race tracks.
DEARBORN, Mich., March 16, 2007 - The world's most popular "pony car," the Ford Mustang may soon make its European road racing debut. Ford Racing Technology confirmed today that it has begun the process of homologation of both its Mustang FR500C and FR500GT race cars for FIA competition.
The Mustang FR500C, a championship-winning entry in the U.S.-based, Grand Am KONI Challenge Series, is being homologated for FIA GT4 competition, while the new Mustang FR500GT, which has not been in competition yet, is being homologated for FIA GT3 competition.
"Mustang has been a winner, both on the track and in the marketplace since it made its debut in 1964," said Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology. "We have always said that Mustang was 'born to race,' and it has been a championship-winning car for Ford in such places as IMSA, SCCA, NHRA and now Grand-Am."
The Mustang FR500C just started its third year of competition in the KONI Challenge Series, where it has already captured seven wins and the 2005 championship. Fourteen Mustang FR500C race cars lined up on the grid in the 2007 season-opening race at Daytona.
"With that kind of success, we're excited about the prospect of both our Mustang FR500 race cars being approved for FIA GT competition," said Davis. "Based on interest we've seen from teams in Europe, we see this as an excellent commercial business opportunity to sell additional complete, ready-to-race Mustangs."
The Ford Mustang is, and always has been, a uniquely American product that has worldwide appeal, and it has a proven racing heritage that makes it even more attractive to teams and race fans.
Davis emphasized that the homologation of the two Mustang products is a Ford Racing North America project, although Ford's European racing operations, led by Jost Capito, are aware of, and support, the program.
"Much like our successful Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series program, we see this as purely a customer program for private teams that want to race competitive Mustangs," said Davis, who noted that this is not a first step for Ford to go "factory" road racing in Europe. "The success of the Mustang FR500C has shown that we can design and build ready-to-win race cars for customers."
The homologation process is being handled by Ford Racing Technology's partner in the Mustang FR500 race cars project, Multimatic Motorsports of Canada. Multimatic currently has versions of each of the cars in Europe undergoing thorough testing, with a goal of final sign-off by the FIA in April.
FR500C - "Boy Racer"
The popularity of road racing at a grassroots level has soared in the last few years and to the Ford enthusiast few vehicles make better racecars than Mustangs. For those enthusiasts looking to take their first step into professional road racing, Ford Racing has your needs met with the new 2005 Mustang FR500C.
The FR500C features the following ...
* Ford Racing designed body, which has been seam welded, and Grand-Am approved roll cage that includes all the attachment points and enclosures specifically for racing.
* Ford Racing 5.0L "Cammer R50" engine, which is mounted to a unique Tremec T56 transmission.
* Ford Racing brake and suspension upgrades
* PRICE -- $125,000
FR500GT - "Man Racer"
Encouraged by the first-year dominance of its 420-horsepower stock Mustang race car in the Grand-Am Koni Challenge Series Ford Motor Company has developed what it describes as the ultimate Mustang showroom stock race car. Code-named "Man Racer," the new 550-horsepower Mustang follows on the heels of the highly successful FR500C, also known as the "Boy Racer."
"Man Racer represents the reincarnation of the Trans-Am Mustang from the 70s, which was the most powerful showroom-looking pony car at the time," said Dan Davis, director, Ford Racing Technology. "This car has amazing output from a normally aspirated engine, and the chassis is specially tuned for high-speed performance and handling."
This concept racer is outfitted with Ford Racing Performance Parts and was featured in the October issue of Car and Driver magazine.
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