Ford cautious over V8 Supercars commitment

Gordon Lomas

Monday 14th October, 2013 - 4:14am

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Mark Winterbottom

Mark Winterbottom

Ford’s timely announcement of a contract renewal with its factory V8 Supercars team remains shrouded in secrecy.

The company confirmed on Saturday at Bathurst that it will continue its relationship with Ford Performance Racing beyond the current season, but is making no official comment on the extent of its new commitment.

Speedcafe.com understands that the new deal extends for just a single season, with an option to renew for 2015.

“We are not talking about the specifics of the contract,” Ford president Bob Graziano told Speedcafe.com at Bathurst on Sunday.

“It’s going to remain between Ford and FPR.”

The timing of the announcement proved an inspired choice, with Mark Winterbottom and Steven Richards lifting the the team to its maiden Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 victory on Sunday.

The result represented the first time that a non-Triple Eight Ford had won The Great Race in 15 years and the first factory Ford team victory since the 1970s.

Graziano said that the long wait before Ford announced the fate of its V8 Supercars spend was a result of the complexities of current situation in the Australian car market.

The Blue Oval boss stressed that continuing with FPR would mean that the racing program would be strongly linked to the Falcon road car’s marketing strategy until the nameplate disappears from the production line in 2016.

“This is an important relationship and it is one that required the due care of looking at,” he said.

“For 11 years, FPR has been part of the marketing strategy for Falcon and that will continue as well.

“We’ve had a lot going on this year talking about where we are going as a brand in future.

“We have got an increase of 30 per cent in nameplates from now until 2016

“There were just so many things that we had to deal with as a brand this year that we had to take them one by one if you will.

“Looking at the totality of our business. And looking at every one of the expenditures we have in our business.”

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