FORD RETURNS TO CIRCUIT RACING

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Ford Motorsport will make a welcome return to the Bridgestone Production Car Championship at Kyalami Grand Prix circuit on 15 March, 2008. Ford will take to the circuit this season with two identically prepared Ford Focus ST’s piloted by Shaun Duminy and former Le Mans driver Gary Formato.

The Ford Focus ST is powered by a 2.5 litre turbo-charged Duratec engine producing 166kW of power at 6 000rpm and an awesome 320Nm of torque at 1 600 – 4 000 rpm.

Class T, for forced induction cars, is set to be one of circuit racing’s most exciting categories this year with 17 confirmed entries represented by more than seven different manufacturers.

“All eyes seem to be on class T,” says team driver Shaun Duminy. “The class has really taken off and there is good representation from manufacturers and privateers alike. We will certainly have our work cut out for us.”

Teammate Gary Formato shares similar sentiments: “Class T will be very competitive this season. There are a lot of new teams and new drivers joining the fray and there is definitely an element of the unknown for everyone.”

The team has been working round the clock to get the two Focus ST’s ready for their debut outing. Although they have made a lot of progress with the development the team is the first to admit that there is still a long road ahead.

“We’ve been working hard on the development front,” continues Formato. “We’ve made a great deal of progress and are eager to get behind the wheel and run the cars in a competitive environment. Of course, as with any new team, there are likely to be obstacles along the way, having said that we are confident that we are up for the challenge.”

Ford Motor Company boasts a wealth of motorsport experience and history. Among the early successes was a well-publicised victory in one of the first 24-hour endurance races, held at the Detroit Fairgrounds in 1907, when the Ford Model K team drove a
30 kW vehicle to victory over vastly more powerful machinery.

A seasoned innings in the World Rally Championship and illustrious NASCAR background are some of Fords most famous motorsport endeavours, while Ford’s famous Ford’s mid-engined GT40 racing car is remembered for its four consecutive Le Mans victories from 1966 to 1969. Ford-engined AC Cobra sports cars won the World Sports Car Championship in 1965, while countless saloon car racing successes for Mustangs and Falcons all reinforced the image of Ford dependability.

In South Africa Ford’s racing heritage is just as impressive and one can still find many Ford vehicles competing in South Africa’s historic series. More recently Ford has supported the national Off Road championship, Formula Ford series, National Rally Championship and the Production Car series.

“We are pleased to once again be involved in the Production Car Championship,” says Jacques Brent, Vice President Sales and Marketing, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. “The Ford Focus ST is the perfect model for us to re-enter the circuit racing fray with and we are looking forward to seeing Gary and Shaun take on the opposition this weekend. “