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Fast forward to 2011. With Govt. Motors on the ropes, and Chrysler’s brightest hopes resting on the (frail) shoulders of tiny, Italian micro cars that look more at home in a Chevron commercial than on a busy highway, Ford saw their opportunity to strike. Already having eleven new models in the pipeline, and no financial woes to speak of, they set out for world domination of motorsports. Not the way that others have done it, with special one-off competition specials, meant only for billion dollar race teams, and a few luck celebrities. But with ready built bruisers, available to the public at reasonable prices, and delivered straight from Ford.
Raptor XT- by now we have all had the opportunity to see Ford’s F-150 SVT Raptor, in either Supercab or Crewcab, in action. The SVT Team debuted the truck in spectacular fashion; by entering a pre-production rig in the most grueling of all races, the Baja 1000. Never before had a pre-production truck actually finished, and the Raptor finished third in class, and would have finished second if the track hadn’t been closed ahead of them just before the finish. The “street” version has done very well and has proven to be great for everyday truck stuff to boot. However, if you really want to see and feel what these beasts can do, the Raptor XT is your truck. For just under 100 grand you get 500hp, a chrome-moly roll cage, and a license to fly. The Raptor XT holds nothing back. Right out of the box, it is ready to win.
Boss 302R- “The Boss is Back!” How long have we waited to hear that? And it’s back in the showrooms, but don’t blink or you’ll miss them. Most of the first run Boss 302 Mustangs, based on the already capable (like M3 V-8 capable) 5.0 liter Coyote powered GT, were spoken for before production even began. Only about 700 dealers got them and very few got more than one (we got three). Originally called the FR500, likely to keep the “Boss” and the “302” both secret, the team at Ford Racing build FR500S, FR500C, and FR500GT customer cars for the Mustang Challenge, World Challenge, Grand-am and racing series. On track, real world development was ongoing, and in 2010, The FR500-BOSS was officially announced to the public. If street driving just isn’t your thing, the Boss 302R, and available M-BOSS302R-1 Grand-Am homologation package are also available, straight from Ford.
Everyone has seen what a 650hp Fiesta can do in the hands of the inhumanly talented Ken Block. If not, you likely haven’t been able to stay awake long enough to read this far. Want one of your own? Well, sorry, you can’t have one. But, you can buy an average, everyday, Fiesta from your wonderful neighborhood Ford dealer (me) and treat it to Ford’s R2 Rally Kit. No, it’s not a stopwatch, deck of cards, and 2-day supply of RedBull. That’s not Rally. We’re talking off-road Rally. Like FIA WRC, but here in the states. $30,000 gets you a 40% increase in horsepower, a five-speed Sadev sequential gearbox, fully adjustable rally suspension, and absolutely everything else you would need to wage war on the Rally America National Championship. Look out Block. Now you’re not the only twisted freak in a tweaked Fiesta.
If you don’t like playing in the dirt, or if you prefer to keep you competition closer (like really close) to you, then you might choose a turn-key Ford Focus ST-R for Touring Car Racing. In just its third outing Matt Jackson and Airwaves Racing got Ford’s new “global touring car” its first win. On August 8th, with his fourth win of the season, Matt takes over the lead in the British Touring Car Championship. This car should be available everywhere very soon, and again, straight from Ford.
In 1968, Ford unleashed an unstoppable force on the drag strips around the country. The 1968 ½ light weight Cobra Jet Mustangs, conceived by Bob Tasca, blessed by Henry II, and assembled by Holman-Moody, were winning races and breaking records from Pomona to Jersey. Today, the 2012 FR500-CJ Cobra Jet Mustang comes to you with a blown 5.4L 32v lump making an “undisclosed” amount of power. I guess if you can pull the front wheels five feet in the air and carry them through the 60ft mark, you don’t need to disclose the horsepower. They also get drag suspension, killer wheels with 10” slicks, and huge weight reduction. They’re available, you guessed it, straight from Ford Racing, for $92-$103k, and they run 9 second quarters right off the trailer. Once you dislodge your eyeballs from the back of your skull, get a clean pair of undies, and do a little tuning, I’ll bet you can get one into the 8’s.
So far, I’ve only highlighted the “over the counter” racecars that Ford is offering to the public. Across the board, they’ve stepped up their game. In NASCAR Sprint Cup, Carl Edwards, driving a Roush-Fenway Ford Fusion(ish) is just 39 points out of the lead with just 13 of their 36 scheduled races left. Matt Kenseth, his Roush teammate, is just one point behind him. If he can with the championship for Ford, it will be the first since ’05 and only the second one in ten years. In NASCAR’s second tier Nationwide series, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and his Roush-Fenway Mustang, are leading after a strong season. In Grand Am Continental Tire Challenge, Roush Mustang driver Billy Johnson trails Paul Dalla Lana’s Tuner Motorsports BMW by just 16 points.
This same scenario is playing out all over the world. Ford is stronger than ever, and has decided to prove it in the toughest arenas. At the same time, they are asserting their dominance in racing, truly developing better performance vehicles for the street, and making their top tier racing equipment available to the public. “Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday” is a proven formula. All I can say is,” make mine red, loud, and powered by Ford”.