Ford Australia sees local future beyond Supercars
By Damion Smy
Saturday 17th September, 2022 - 6:00am
Ford Australia wants to see its products racing in more categories around the country, announcing a dedicated local motorsport division.
Following the reveal of the seventh-generation S650 Ford Mustang at this week’s Detroit show, the local arm of the company has expanded its commitment to Supercars while adding resources to extend itself beyond the series.
A three-pronged Australian motorsport division has been announced, comprising of Ford Performance’s SVE and Motorsport Manager Justin Capicchiano, Brendan McGinniskin, Motorsport Engineer – Ford Performance, and Product Communications Manager Ben Nightingale.
Trackside assistance will be provided to Ford Supercars Championship teams beginning at next month’s Repco Bathurst 1000.
The programme includes a level of factory support for the five Gen3 Ford squads – lead homologation team Dick Johnson Racing, Tickford Racing, Grove Racing, Walkinshaw Andretti United, and the Blanchard Racing Team.
A customer GT programme in Australia has also been earmarked once the GT3 and GT4 spec Mustangs hit the market.
“We’d love to see Mustang racing beyond Supercars in Australia,” Capicchiano told Speedcafe.com.
“There are many competitors running privateer efforts in production car racing already, and with GT3 and GT4 versions of the new car coming online in 2024, we’d love to see a customer racing program happening in Australia and will support that if we can find the right fit.”
Ford Performance branding has been used on Ford’s Supercars Mustangs since their on-track arrival in 2019, consistent with branding on its Mustang NASCAR, NHRA Funny Car, World Rally Championship Puma, and its F-150 Raptor in off-road competition.
Locally, however, Ford Performance hasn’t been seen beyond Supercars – but Capicchiano wants that to change.
“This is part of the reason why we are making these moves and making these announcements now,” he said.
“We see potential in many motorsport categories around Australia, and with the many racing versions of the new Mustang coming online in the future, there’s plenty of opportunity for us.
“The S650 Mustang will race in Supercars from 2023, as well as GT3 from 2024.
“As a part of this, we’ve made a commitment to put more resources into motorsport locally, with Brendan [McGinniskin] joining the team as a dedicated motorsport engineering lead for Ford Performance here in Australia.”
Supercars will remain the pin-up for the brand in Australia, where it has supplied category support vehicles, including the Supercars Safety Car, Medical Car and Recovery cars since Ford returned to Supercars in 2019.
While Ford has dropped the more affordable Fiesta ST and Focus ST from its line-up, it will continue to leverage motorsport for both Mustang and the recently released Ranger Raptor.
“Australians have always loved performance vehicles,” added Capicchiano.
“The popularity of Mustang is a case in point; we have 5000 pre-orders for the new Ranger Raptor.
“This is echoed and supported by our on-track presence in Supercars and more into the future.”