Ford will celebrate its long-standing support for the historic Le Mans Classic at this year’s event by bringing together the Ford Model T Montier which participated in the very first Le Mans race of 1923 with the much sought-after and limited edition 2010 Focus RS500.

A partner in the event since 2004 and racing under the historic colours of Ecurie Ford France since 2008, the Blue Oval will once again be lining up to demonstrate Ford’s ceaseless passion for performance technology and competition.

Ford’s passion for applying technology to performance has never dimmed since the first Ford vehicle made its racing debut at the inaugural Le Mans 24 Hours in 1923 with a Model T, specially prepared by Charles Montier.

This very car returned to the scene of its earliest exploits in the 2008 Le Mans Classic, managing an impressive 49th place in its category.  Despite its age, the Model T Montier looks set to repeat this performance again in 2010 in front of the large number of spectators expected in Sarthe between July 9 and 11.

Alongside the iconic “Car of the 20th Century” *, the very latest Ford performance model, the Focus RS500 is destined to play a different role as the opening vehicle for the event’s “Plateau 5” races.  These are sponsored by Ford France, and feature only Le Mans cars that raced between 1966 and 1971. It is no coincidence that this was the period in which Ford won its now legendary, consecutive victories in the most famous endurance race in the world as the GT40 dominated over the four years between 1966 and 1969.

Production of the RS500 has been limited to just 500 units, 56 of which are destined for the French market.

Delivering 350PS, this compact 3-door hatchback offers the most powerful traction on the market, reaching a target top speed of 265 km/h and achieving 0 to 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds.

The Focus RS500 is based on the acclaimed 305PS Focus RS which has been remarkably successful commercially since its launch in 2009. This model illustrates the full extent of Ford’s know-how in the design of top-level sports cars, which over time has included such timeless classics as the Escort RS and the Capri RS from the early 1970s.

Ecurie Ford France: from race track to rally
Although Ford only officially launched its assault on Le Mans in the early sixties, Ford France had already been involved in automobile racing for some time. It played a pioneering role most notably by launching Ford Jeunesse in 1964, an operation aimed at selecting the most promising drivers from each region in France, which led to the discovery of former Grand Prix and sports car drivers Henri Pescarolo and Patrick Depailler. Around the same time, Ford France was also supporting one of the greatest French drivers of all, the multi-talented Jo Schlesser, whose skill in a wide range of racing categories is rarely seen today.

Since its renaissance at the Le Mans Classic in 2008, Ecurie Ford France also partnered with the Ronde du Ventoux in 2009.

Despite its attachment to the past, Ecurie Ford France even has an eye on the future. In March this year, Ecurie Ford France took the Ford Focus ECOnetic to the Monte Carlo Alternative Energy Rally, an event reserved for the most environmentally friendly vehicles. The Focus ECOnetic dominated its class, following in the path of the Fiesta ECOnetic which was victorious on the same event in 2009.  In both cases, the Fiesta and the Focus performed impressively, consuming less than 4 litres of fuel per 100 km in a race run over genuinely testing mountain sections!

Ecurie Ford France also has an official Facebook page, offering fans exclusive information on everything relating to the passion evoked by the American car maker through its greatest sports cars, its original advertising campaigns or its most famous competition-related exploits.

Information about Ecurie Ford France’s preparations for the Le Mans Classic 2010 and its participation will be regularly posted on these pages of the most popular online social network.