Ford SA ‘realigns’ motorsport focus
Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa says it is now following the global model of supporting privateer teams and series for the 2016 season. “Petrol flows through our veins, and motorsport remains an important and successful proving ground for our products,” said Tracey Delate, Ford’s General Marketing Manager. “Motor racing is also an integral component of our exciting Ford Performance brand.
“However, we are realigning our focus by moving away from factory teams. Instead, Ford will be supporting privateer competitors, and crucially, the South African rally and cross-country racing commissions in order to help them build the sport further.”Globally, Ford has adopted a co-operative approach towards motorsport by providing sponsorship and technical support for independent teams, as is the case with the brand’s highly anticipated return to the Le Mans 24 Hour and the FIA World Endurance Championship with the Ford GT in 2016, a campaign run by Chip Ganassi Racing.
This new philosophy will be employed in South Africa, too. “The Ford Ranger is our core product in South Africa in terms of manufacturing and sales,” Delate said.
“Accordingly, we are continuing our association with cross-country racing as title sponsor of the two Neil Woolridge Motorsport Ford Rangers that will compete in the Class T Production Vehicle championship this year. “We are also bolstering our involvement in the National Rally Championship by extending the current incentive programme for Ford teams to include the both the S1600 and S2000 classes. This will provide much-needed financial support for the winning teams.”For 2016, competitors in both classes will be rewarded for top results in each of the seven rallies, and in the overall championship.
At each event, Ford competitors will earn R75 000 for an overall win, followed by R40 000 for second place and R25 000 for third.An additional R100 000 will be up for grabs for any Ford team that claims the overall 2016 championship title, in either S1600 or S2000. The runners-up stand to earn R90 000, while those on the final podium step will receive R80 000.
“This is an exciting new era for Ford Performance in the South African motorsports scene, and we look forward to sharing in the exhilarating and high-paced action of rallying and cross-country racing with our many fans across the country as the season unfolds,” Delate said.