Few automakers have the deep history in motor racing as Ford. But these days the Blue Oval isn't fielding much in the way of factory works racing teams, opting instead to support independent campaigns and privateers. Plenty of race-ready packages are available for the Mustang, the Fiesta just joined the fold with a new rally package and now the new Focus is jumping in on the action as well.
Ford is using the upcoming Focus ST as the basis for an adaptable touring car program, working with teams that will be campaigning it in series around the world. First up will be the British Touring Car Championship, with further forays planned to follow in the China Touring Car Championship and the Nürburgring 24-hour race. Although development will be carried out largely by the participating teams, they'll have access to Ford technology and expertise, while Ford inversely plans to use the program to benefit the development of the Focus production car.
The touring car is being developed in accordance with the FIA's Super 2000 regulations, a platform from which Ford figures the Focus could easily be adopted for use in other categories as well, including the BTCC's Next Generation Touring Car. Few details on the car's specifications have been revealed beyond that, but you can read the full announcement after the jump while scoping out the pair of images in the gallery below.
NEW FOCUS BECOMES FORD'S NEXT TOURING RACE CAR, DEVELOPED GLOBALLY WITH PRIVATE RACE TEAMS
Ford's newest offering, Focus, will race as a touring car globally
- Ford's newest offering, Focus, will race as a touring car globally, building off Ford's history in engineering race-ready platforms. The first race appearance for the car is anticipated to be in the 2011 British Touring Car Championship
- Ford will coordinate with and provide technical support to private race teams around the world to develop one common race car capable of adapting to the major touring car categories globally
- Packed with more affordable technologies and features than ever before, the new global Ford Focus is the perfect base for the high-performance ST version and takes the Focus lineup even further onto racetracks around the globe
LAS VEGAS, Nov. 2, 2010 – Ford has revealed plans to leverage the all-new Focus for motorsports by supporting the development of a next-generation touring car for global competition – the latest indication of the company's comprehensive approach to leveraging its global product platforms.
The move, announced at the 2010 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas, extends Ford's reputation for offering race-capable, affordable platforms that can be converted into a race car, including Mustang and most recently, Fiesta.
That tradition will continue as the new Focus takes over as Ford's global touring car, to be developed with private race teams in cooperation with the company's global motorsports group.
"There has been tremendous interest from the racing world about the new Focus, and it's the perfect fit for a global touring car," said Jost Capito, director of Global Performance Vehicles and Motorsports Business Development. "Even more, by working with professional private race teams, we're ensuring Focus has the support it needs to compete and win."
The benefits of the Focus touring car will stretch beyond the track.
"Ford's commitment to using motorsports to influence high-performance vehicles will be highly evident, as the development of the Focus touring car will benefit the upcoming Focus ST production car," said Capito. "It's very similar to how the Mustang team was able to apply learnings from the Ford Racing Boss 302R to the 2012 Mustang Boss 302."
The first race appearance for the Focus is targeted for the 2011 British Touring Car Championship. Globally, the race car has the potential to run in many national and regional championships, such as the China Touring Car Championship and 24-hour endurance races like the classic Nürburgring in Germany. The global Focus race car will be powered by Ford's EcoBoost™ engine technology which will go into production in the Focus ST.
Professional private race teams are partnering with Ford to develop common technical specifications for the race car, which will conform to FIA Super 2000 regulations with potential to adopt to other regulations. The teams are being brought together by Ford to determine their strengths and define roles for the development of the race car. Ford also supports the race teams by providing data, advanced engineering tools, state-of-the-art testing facilities and production parts, resulting in teams racing more competitive cars that are developed with greater efficiency.
New global Focus has it all
The new Focus is the result of a global product development program bringing together Ford's best engineers and technology from around the world. The new Focus will be sold in 122 markets worldwide and manufactured in Ford plants in Asia, Europe and North America.
All Focus models sold in North America will be powered by Ford's most advanced naturally aspirated engine ever: a new, 2.0-liter gasoline engine equipped with direct injection and twin independent variable camshaft timing – two important fuel-saving technologies. A six-speed PowerShift automatic transmission will be offered.
A Focus ST version also will be available, boasting exhilarating performance and an addictive sound. Ford's first global high-performance model, scheduled for 2012 launch and developed by Ford's global performance vehicles team, will deliver a 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4 engine, lowered chassis, high-performance brakes and unique suspension tuning. The standard transmission for the Focus ST is a six-speed manual, optimized with sporting ratios matched to the performance characteristics of the engine.
Ford's North American engineering team is targeting fuel economy of 40 mpg highway for the most efficient Focus model, equipped with an automatic transmission. The new Focus will also offer North American consumers a full suite of Ford technology – including Ford SYNC®, MyFord Touch™, in-car Wi-Fi capability, active park assist and rear view camera.