Ford Fiesta Hits The Track With Speed
By Bernie Biernacki
For 2013, Ford is taking its racing efforts to the extreme.
With strong “Blue Oval” presence continuing on the ovals, drag strips and on sports car tracks worldwide, Ford will make strong challenges on the Global RallyCross Championship (GRC) and the X Games circuits.
And the car Ford Racing will field to contest these championships will be a variation of the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST production car, which will go on sale in the U.S. this coming summer. The Fiesta ST GRC cars will be powered by 2-liter, 16-valve, turbocharged EcoBoost power plants, similar to those used on the European rally circuits.
To support development of the Fiesta ST program, Ford Racing has formalized a manufacturer partnership with OlsbergsMSE, whose credentials include two consecutive GRC driver championships, and podium finishes at all six rounds in 2012. OlsbergsMSE also has helped Ford earn GRC manufacturer’s championships in 2011 and 2012.
Piloting the OlsbergsMSE Fiesta ST GRC cars will be Tanner Foust and Brian Deegan. Ford driver and 2012 X Games silver medalist Ken Block, driving for Hoonigan Racing Division, will also compete in the 2013 Global Rallycross Championship.
The OlsbergsMSE Fiesta ST GRC race car made its North American debut at the Chicago Auto Show. Also debuting at the Chicago show was a 350 HP+ Ford Focus St TrackStar that was built by the Fifteen52ProjectST with assistance from Block.
The introduction of the street and racing versions of Fiesta ST is part of an expanded Global Rallycross program for Ford as it capitalizes on the growing popularity of the series and its increased visibility through X Games and some larger-than-life personalities, including Foust, Deegan and Block
The Global Rallycross Championship will have a true global presence in 2013. In addition to five expected North American events, there will be four X Games in 2013 with RallyCross competition. Ford is sole automotive sponsor for all four 2013 summer global X Games, which will include events in Los Angeles, Brazil, Spain and Germany.
“Global Rallycross has been a great series for us to demonstrate what Ford’s small performance cars can do,” said Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing. “With great drivers and teams, and now a formal manufacturer partnership with OlsbergsMSE, Ford Racing’s commitment to Global Rallycross is quickly growing. We’re excited about the debut of the Fiesta ST GRC car this year, and it will be fantastic to see Ford’s global performance car compete in four countries around the world this season.”
“OlsbergsMSE has a good history developing extreme/RallyCross cars, and with the longer-term manufacturer relationship with Ford and its technical support, together we will develop even stronger RallyCross cars,” said Andreas Eriksson, OlsbergsMSE team principal. “The partnership is exactly what OlsbergsMSE needs to continue to be a winning team in the coming years.
“There are great teams and manufacturers coming to the series and the sport,” Eriksson continued. “We will have better and tougher competition, and I look forward to the challenge of staying persistent in the development of our cars.
“Outside of our technical development, we will also be very focused on providing our drivers with the information and input they need to be the best,” Eriksson added. “This is the way our entire OlsbergsMSE program moves forward, together with Ford. To be the best in this extreme sport, hard work and dedication is required from drivers and team.”
“I’m stoked to be able to say I’m going to be continuing to race Fords in Global Rallycross for the next few years, especially with the four X Games events this summer,” said Block. “For the upcoming 2013 season, my team is taking everything we learned during my rookie season last year and applying it to an all-new RallyCross car. It’s going to be a fun season.”
“Global Rallycross and X Games allow us to connect with the next generation of Ford customers and a very important group of performance enthusiasts,” said Allison. “They already know Ford for great products like Mustang and Raptor, but are becoming a real force helping drive the growing B- and C-car performance segments.”
Involved with Journalism since 1969. Through the years, worked at several daily and weekly newspapers in northeast Illinois and northwest Indiana. During 1976 was editor of NSSN in Ridgewood, NJ. I have done features on racers from Gary Gabelich to Cale Yarborough, Bobby Rahal to Leon "Jigger" Sirois, Bay Darnell to Jack Bowsher, and Ed Rachanski to Arnie Beswick. I am a personal friend of Fred Lorenzen and frequently visit him at his nursing home. During the 1980s I covered the Indy 500 for different daily newspapers. As I am considered a senior citizen, my racing tastes favor vintage/historics - stock, sports car, Indy, drag racing, old race tracks. I try to focus on individuals.