Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa is set to become a dominant force in South African motorsport with factory participation in the South African ABSA Off Road Championship, the Sasol National Rally Championship and the South African Bridgestone Production Car Championship.
“We are looking forward to being involved in the top three national championship motorsport categories in South Africa,” Jacques Brent, Vice President Sales and Marketing, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. “Globally Ford has a rich motorsport heritage and we would like to continue this tradition in South Africa.”
Team Ford Racing will be looking to mount a strong challenge in this year’s ABSA Off Road Championship. The team will this year boast a pair of 4-litre Ford Rangers in Class SP with a single diesel powered Ford Ranger contesting Class E.
Once again Neil Woolridge and Kenny Skjoldhammer will head the attack in their class SP Ford Ranger. Piloting the second Ford Ranger SP vehicle will be Mark Ferguson with Craig West at his side. The duo got their first taste of National Championship Off Road racing in the final rounds of last year’s championship and are now looking forward to completing their first full season as part of the Ford Racing team. Rounding out the team will be reigning Class E champions Jack Peckham and Lucio Santoro who will return to Class E to defend their title for Ford. The works team will be supported by a strong privateer group.
Also competing under the Ford Racing banner will be three national rally championship cars. Tony Barbosa and navigator Ian McKenzie will pilot a 1.3-litre Ford Ka in the ultra competitive Class A5. Competing in Class N3 in a Ford Fiesta ST will be former circuit racing ace Martin Steyn together with navigator Van Aardt Schoeman.
The team also welcomes the addition of Etienne Lourens and Elvéne Coetzee. Moving across from Toyota, Lourens is among South Africa’s best known rally drivers and brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge.
Ford will also take to the circuit this season, competing in Class T of the Bridgestone Production Car Championship. The two identically prepared Ford Focus STs will be piloted by Shaun Duminy and former Le Mans driver Gary Formato.
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 six different manufacturers.
“We are looking forward to an exciting motorsport season,” continues Brent. “We have an extensive line-up spanning South Africa’s three major racing formats, showcasing various Ford models.
“Our focus is a long term one. We have recruited an exciting line-up of drivers and navigators combined with expert behind-the-scenes knowledge, which will allow us to build a strong grounding in South African motorsport,” he concludes.