Ford knows better than most that the way into an American car buyer's heart is through motor racing, so the latest step in Ford's North American "Fiesta Movement" is the deployment of the compact hatchback which we've driven and enjoyed on several occasions on America's most popular rally circuits.
Following its entry in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, Ford will be fielding a team of rally-prepped Fiestas in the upcoming X Games, the 15th running of the famous stunt competition and the first time Ford will participate. Piloting a trio of Fiestas prepared by the same Swedish MSE outfit that created Marcus Gronholm's rallycross car will be a star-studded line-up comprised of drift champion Tanner Foust, ten-time X Games medalist Brian Deegan and former Indy champion Kenny Brack. With that much talent behind the wheel, we'll look forward to the Fiesta Movement getting into motion at the games running in Los Angeles from July 30 to August 2. Details are available in the press release below the fold and a pair of sketches of the X Games Fiestas can be found in the gallery below.
FORD FIESTA TAKES ON ESPN'S X GAMES WITH ALL-STAR DRIVER LINEUP
* Ford Fiesta, which will makes its U.S. motorsport debut with the Olsbergs Motor Sport Evolution race team at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in mid-July, has added a second North American event heading to ESPN's X Games 15 on Aug. 2.
* All-star Fiesta driver lineup includes Kenny Brack, Tanner Foust and Brian Deegan.
* Ford makes its X Games debut in the new Ford Fiesta; production version set to hit showrooms in 2010.
DEARBORN, Mich., July 1, 2009 – The new Fiesta Rallycross cars have already created plenty of buzz in the enthusiast community with word of their North American motorsport debut in July's Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado.
Now, the anticipation will be even greater as the Swedish Olsbergs Motor Sport Evolution (MSE) team has announced it will compete in ESPN's X Games 15 in Los Angeles, Calif., July 30 – August 2. Olsbergs MSE is entering the race with the famous Swedish driver Kenny Brack. The team will also field two Ford Fiestas for ROCKSTAR Energy Drink with drivers Tanner Foust and Brian Deegan. All three Fiestas will comply with Rally America Open Class specifications.
Olsbergs Motor Sport Evolution will utilize BFGoodrich Tires at both the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and at ESPN's X Games 15.
"The new Fiesta is already creating headlines around the world," said Brian Wolfe, director of Ford North America Motorsport. "The announcement that it would compete at Pikes Peak was greeted so positively by enthusiasts everywhere. Now, to back it up with competition at the X Games will just create even more buzz for the car."
The X Games, considered the premier action sports event in the world, features athletes from across the globe competing in a variety of sports, ranging from skateboarding, motocross, BMX and rally car racing. X Games 15 will be covered live on ESPN's family of networks, including ABC, as well as across ESPN's many digital media assets, including Xgames.com (or you can use ESPN.com/action or simply ESPN.com) and ESPN360.com.
The three Fiestas will be driven by an all-star lineup, which includes an Indy 500 winner, a former X Games rally champion and a 10-time X Games medalist.
The 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner Kenny Brack, who will drive the 2009 Fiesta 3-door hatchback, is making his X Games debut. Brack was the 1998 IndyCar Series champion and was a factory driver for Ford Racing's Champ Car entry Rahal Letterman Racing (RLR). Brack sustained significant injures in a major accident at Texas Motor Speedway in 2003 while driving for RLR, but he returned to the car at the Indy 500 in 2005, subbing for the injured Buddy Rice and posting the fastest qualifying speed (227.598 mph) of the field. Brack has been retired since 2006, pursuing his music career, but still drives competitively in special events. Olsbergs and Kenny Brack have had a long-term partnership and at present Kenny and Olsbergs are acting as mentors for a new promising Swedish racing star, 17-year old Markus Eriksson.
ROCKSTAR Energy Rally driver Tanner Foust will drive a race-prepared 2009 Fiesta 5-door hatchback. He is a winning competitor in rally, drift, ice racing and time attack with a proven track record of multiple podium placements and national championships. Foust has seen success in Drift and Rally in the last few seasons. In addition to winning the both the 2007 and 2008 Formula Drift Pro Drift Championship, he also took the Silver medal as runner-up in the 2008 Summer X Games Pro Rally race.
Foust won the 2007 X Games Gold Medal in the Pro Rally for the ROCKSTAR Energy Rally team. He was selected to represent Team USA in the annual Race of Champions at Wembley Stadium in London, UK this past December. He teamed with Ford Racing NASCAR star Carl Edwards to do battle with the world's fastest drivers and riders from Formula One, World Rally Championship, Superbike and Touring Car racing.
Joining Foust will be Moto X star Brian Deegan, a 10-time medalist at the X Games, including three gold medals for Moto X Best Trick (2002, 2003, 2005). Earlier this year, Deegan launched a Pro-Lite class off road truck team in Championship Off-Road Racing (COOR) under a newly formed ROCKSTAR/Metal Mulisha/Caffaro Motorsports banner. Named one of the Top 100 Action Sports Stars by ESPN in 2004, Deegan has competed at every X Games rally event and will drive a 2008 Fiesta 3-door hatchback.
This will be the first time a Ford race car has been part of the X Games' Rally competition.
"We are very excited to see the Fiesta competing not only at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, but also at the X Games in LA," said Jost Capito, director of Ford Global Motorsport Business Development. "The competition will be extremely strong in both events, but we've put together a strong team with the ROCKSTAR/BF Goodrich Tires Fiestas and our all star drivers. The Olsbergs Motor Sport Evolution race team is doing an outstanding job in preparing the cars for both of these world famous events."
Fiesta Movement in North America
Although the Fiesta production vehicle isn't slated to go on sale in the United States until 2010, 100 of the stylish European cars are already in North America in the hands of 100 internet-savvy individuals chosen to be part of the Fiesta Movement, an innovative social media campaign launched to build awareness for Ford's new small car.
The 100 young trendsetters are driving and living with their Fiestas for six months, traveling as "agents" on special "missions," and are documenting their experiences through a variety of social media sites, including Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and YouTube. "Pikes Peak and the X Games give our agents two more exciting events to attend and show off their Fiesta's," said Connie Fontaine, Brand Content and Alliance Manager for Ford Motor Company.
The "missions" are designed to be fun, take the "agents" to new places and let them experience new things – all while driving the new European Ford Fiesta and providing feedback to Ford on the product.
Early feedback has been extremely positive, and now there will be a chance for motorsport fans to take early interest in the Fiesta at the famous Colorado event.
Follow the Fiesta Movement at: www.fiestamovement.com.
In Europe, the Fiesta name has long been synonymous with outstanding driving dynamics, design and value. The all-new Ford Fiesta is taking that three-decade heritage to U.S. consumers for the first time.
The Fiesta already is a hit in Europe and Asia, where it went on sale last year and earlier this year, respectively. The all-new Fiesta is the fastest-selling Fiesta model ever in Europe, helping boost Ford of Europe's market share in 2009. In May alone, 39,200 new Fiestas were sold, with more than 191,000 delivered to customers since the start of the year. Fiesta is Ford of Europe's best-selling model in 2009.
In 2010, the Fiesta will be produced at plants in Germany, Spain, Mexico, Thailand and China for sale in markets around the world. The Fiesta for the North American market will be built at Ford's assembly plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico.
Olsbergs is a manufacturer of electro-hydraulic control systems for mobile application. The company-group has a high innovative ability and develops all hydraulic and electronics components themselves.
Olsbergs cast complex raw materials and machines it into hydraulic products and also manufactures their radio-systems within the company walls. Olsbergs ambition is a high technical level and a rational and atomized production which are some of the characteristics which these companies are known of.
About Olsbergs MSE
OlsbergsMSE is a co-owned company by Olsbergs and Andreas Eriksson's company MSE. In this common resource, Olsbergs MSE, develops and builds cars and engines for both rally as well as rally cross.
Andreas Eriksson finished second in the Swedish championship last year with a 2008 Ford Fiesta. With a similar engine the OlsbergsMSE team debuted with its new 2009 Fiesta Rallycross car in this season's Swedish and European Rally cross championships, and scored its first victory in just its second European event in Portugal last May.
The Olsbergs MSE Fiesta Rallycross car is based on the Fiesta hatchback model road cars. The all-wheel-drive Fiestas are powered by a 2.0-liter Duratec Ford engines capable of more than 800 horsepower.
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About BFGoodrich Tires
At the X Games, the Ford Fiestas will all race on BFGoodrich g-Force Rally tires. Using motorsports as a proving ground for more than 30 years, BFGoodrich Tires is involved in every type of racing, including oval, sports car, drifting, drag, desert, dirt, rally and extreme rock crawling. BFGoodrich Tires combines technological expertise with vast motorsports experience, delivering a high performance tire for every type of vehicle.
OlsbergsMSE has a close cooperation with the world-known company Öhlins. The company manufactures racing dampers and the products are used in innumerable motorcycle- and car applications for different racing-team over the world. The products are used during extreme competition conditions.
About ESPN's X Games Franchise
ESPN, The Worldwide Leader in Action Sports, first developed its X Games franchise in 1995. Part of ESPN Content Development, X Games, Winter X Games and All Access are just some of the original action sports programming currently shown on ESPN and ESPN2. In addition to the two U.S.-based events, ESPN has held X Games competitions and demonstration events around the world including Dubai, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, Korea, Malaysia, Spain and China. The global franchise has also expanded its reach to Xgames.com, the definitive site for action sports fans, and to consumer products such as X Games bikes, protective gear, skateboards and DVDs.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 205,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.