As the new Focus ST makes its global debut in Frnakfurt tomorrow, Ford is giving a European welcome to a special motorsport counterpart – the production-based race-tuned Focus ST-R.
Despite its resemblance to the road car, the ST-R is purpose-built for the track by Ford Racing in North America as a fully prepared competition car. It features a powerful 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, FIA rollcage, uprated brakes and track-tuned suspension.
It will soon be available to North America teams to race in a variety of series, including Grand-Am ST, World Challenge TC and Canadian Touring Car Series. Ford also hopes teams will race the car in key European motorsport series and major national events such as the 24 Hours of Nürburgring.
“From the beginning, the Focus and Focus ST were designed to be driver's cars,” said Jost Capito, director of Global Performance Vehicles and Motorsport Development. “The road-going Focus features best-in-class brakes, handling and powertrains and the design and functionality of the various vehicle systems have helped us to develop a global specification for teams wanting to race the new Focus cost effectively. Ford Racing in North America has taken this effort and developed the new Focus ST-R and is a perfect example of how a great production car inspires a competitive race car for enthusiasts.”
Initially homologated for American and Canadian touring car racing, Focus ST-R will be available to order from Ford dealers in North America by seasoned professional drivers, amateur racers and track day enthusiasts.
“We’re thrilled to be taking the Focus ST-R from concept to reality for motorsport enthusiasts in North America and potentially around the world,” said Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing. “The previous turn-key race cars we developed for North American racing have been hugely successful, so we are hopeful that the ST-R will be the first such vehicle for global series and as a direct result of the company's global platform strategy.”
“Because the Focus ST-R is a production-based road race car, it features stock body panels and production parts where possible,” added Allison. “People who buy one will get will get a fully prepared racecar that will only need communications equipment and the customer's decals to go racing. We've already had significant interest in this vehicle from numerous established race teams."
For North American customers, the Ford Focus ST-R is the latest in a long-line of turn-key race cars offered by the company including the Mustang FR500C, Mustang FR500S, Mustang Cobra Jet, Boss 302R and Boss 302S.
Ford launched its global motorsport development program last year. At its core is technical support for privateers who chose to compete with global Ford vehicles with access to affordable, globally competitive hardware.
“We're delighted with the early success Team Aon has achieved with the new Focus in the British Touring Car Championship and we are looking forward to seeing the ST-R on the track soon in global race series," Capito said. "We expect to see the ST-R competing for wins on a global scale, extending the rich racing and rallying heritage Focus has already gained both on tarmac and on dirt.”
According to Capito, the growing success of Fiesta in motorsport is also a product of the unique global Ford motorsport strategy. The Fiesta Rallycross – powered by a 2.0-liter Duratec engine capable of more than 500hp – is another example of Ford’s global motorsport approach, as it competes in the Global Rallycross Championship, European Rallycross Championship and X Games.
This year, Ford and Fiesta dominated the inaugural Global RallyCross Championship as Ford captured the manufacturers' and drivers’ championships.
Fiesta drivers Tanner Foust and Marcus Gronholm finished 1-2 in the overall GRC championship as well as capturing the individual SuperRally and RallyCross championships. Last month at X Games 17 in Los Angeles, Brian Deegan led Foust and Gronholm in a Fiesta sweep of the RallyCross podium, a “3-peat” for Fiesta in the Rally competition at X Games.