Ford quits V8 Supercars
Ford Australia has announced it will no longer support Ford Performance Racing beyond the end of the 2015 V8 Supercars season, effectively ending the legendary Ford Vs Holden battle.
FORD WILL EXIT V8 Supercars after the 2015 season, announcing it would no longer sponsor Bathurst-winning team Ford Performance Racing. The news broke yesterday when motor racing website Speedcafe published a leaked internal email from Ford boss Bob Graziano.
It said, “As we continue to transform our business, we would like to share with you news that will break soon on decisions we are making to ensure a bright future for Ford Australia,” Graziano wrote.
“This afternoon [yesterday], we will announce we will provide support to teams racing Ford Falcons in the 2015 V8 Supercars series but will not renew our sponsorships after the 2015 season.
“We are electing to invest our funds to continue expanding and refreshing our product lineup while delivering a leading consumer experience.”
He went on to write that Ford isn’t abandoning performance rather that with the death of the Falcon in 2016, Ford is going to concentrate on other ‘Ford experiences’. “Performance is part of our DNA, and will continue to be, as we increase our vehicle offerings and enthusiasts look for a wider range of performance models such as cars like Mustang, Fiesta ST and Focus ST.
“Ford is proud to launch the FG X Falcon, including building on our performance heritage by racing the new model in V8 Supercars in 2015.”
It’s believed that both Ford Performance Racing and Team Penske DJR might continue to campaign with their Ford Falcons into 2016, but would do so without factory support. That said, the internet is beginning to buzz with rumours that Nissan may throw ex-Ford teams a lifeline, and with regulatory changes coming in 2017 and hints by Lexus that it would be keen to enter V8 Supercars, who knows what could happen.
Read the statement from Ford Performance Racing:
Leading V8 Supercars team Prodrive Racing (Australia) has been informed by Ford Australia that from 2016 the car manufacturer will no longer support the team and its racing program.
Prodrive Racing (Australia) (PRA) has raced under the guise of Ford Performance Racing since the team’s inception in 2003, acting as Ford Australia’s primary manufacturer team throughout this period.
PRA Chief Executive Officer, Tim Edwards responded to Ford Australia’s decision.
“Ford Australia’s decision to not extend its commercial relationship with our team beyond the end of next season is extremely disappointing for our large and loyal fan base, but as a business this decision now allows us to concentrate on our long-term future,” Mr Edwards said.
“We have enjoyed a highly-successful relationship with Ford Australia with just shy of 50 race wins, 150 podiums and the last two Bathurst 1000 crowns together.
“This on track success, along with the engineering and commercial strength that underpins our racing activities, provides us with a very viable business and a strong platform for our future in the sport.
“We will run the new FG X Falcon next season as planned with support from Ford, and we’ll possibly campaign the car in 2016 ahead of the major regulation changes coming from 2017.
“Now that we know where we stand we can further develop other opportunities. We have a range of options, some existing and some that were awaiting this decision, so we can now begin to explore these further.
“Whatever happens, I know our loyal fans will support our team whatever direction we take.”
Team owner Rod Nash also expressed his opinion.
“When [fellow co-owner) Rusty French and I purchased the team two years ago we did so because we saw a strong and diverse business, filled with vibrant people and all with a desire to succeed,” Mr Nash said.
“That hasn’t changed today and nor will it based on the decision of one of our commercial partners. We have a broad revenue base and this decision does not weaken the viability of our business.
“Our team of people have been working tirelessly, with support from V8 Supercars, to ensure a blue presence in our sport so while we don’t agree with today’s decision, we have no choice but to accept it.
“While I sympathise with the legions of Ford fans, they are also fans of our team and our drivers, so whatever direction we take we firmly believe that support will continue.
“Our immediate focus is of course this week and finishing off the season strongly in Sydney. We want to secure Mark second in the points and try and top off Chaz’s Bathurst-winning year with more success.
“Once we’re done in Sydney we can begin working on the future and exploring our range of opportunities.”
The team will look to add to its Bathurst triumph and win tally this weekend at the season-ending Sydney 500 at Sydney Olympic Park.