Ford WRC

Ford Fiesta RS WRC ready for Finnish start

Ford Fiesta RS WRC

There aren’t many better sights in the automotive world than a WRC weapon in full tarmac trim. The low ride height, big wheels and flared body kit. All finished off in race paint. This Fiesta RS WRC is no exception, it looks fantastic!

Ford’s latest WRC hope will make its competition debut at the Arctic Lapland Rally in Finland next week. The event will cap off four days of testing in Sweden starting later this week. Timely, as the WRC season kicks off at the Rally Sweden in February.

More pics after the break. Do yourself a favour and make sure you download the 2000px super image versions, okay.


The new Caterham-Lola SP/300.R

Caterham-Lola SP/300.R

So the wraps have come off the new creation from Caterham, it’s called the Caterham-Lola SP/300.R.. And rather than being a reproduction of a former classic, this is something altogether new.

As the name suggests legendary chassis makers Lola have had a fair say in what’s what, while power is provided by a tasty 2.0 litre supercharged unit from Ford, which should be good for 300bhp. It’s a Caterham, so it must weight three-tenths of sod all as well. Probably why it’s predicted 100km/h sprint time is just 2.5 seconds.

The car is actually still undergoing final development, which explains why there is currently little in the way of technical specifications. Never mind that, though, she’s a pretty snazzy looking thing and should make for a ripping drive.

The chassis has been designed to meet relevant safety requirements for racing. Which is a good thing because Caterham is planning to use the SP300R for its own one-make series beginning in 2012. Initial sights are set on a UK series, with expansion across Europe to follow.

Those hoping to turn heads on their local roads need not give up just yet. A road-legal version of the SP300R has not been ruled out. Although, with a planned production capacity of just 25 cars per year you might need to wait for a while.

More pics, video and Caterham’s official presser after the break.

Ford Motorsports Video

Ken Block Gymkhana Grid invitational

Ken Block v Tanner Foust

On the weekend Ken Block and his mates were living it up at the Gymkhana Grid invitational. The event even carried the name of the internet’s Sultan of Sideways. Promising to be a donut, rubber-burning fuelled festival of spin where “your mind will be blown the f@#! away” it looks like the lads had fun.

After the break you can see the promo clip advertising the event, followed by footage of the final race showing Ken Block and Tanner Foust ripping it up in a pair of Ford Fiestas.

[Thanks to Saad for the tip]

Ford Motor Shows WRC

Paris 2010: Ford Fiesta RS WRC

Ford Fiesta RS WRC

Ford has made it a trifecta of WRC reveals with these new images of their race-prepped Fiesta RS. The car has undergone 3000km of limited testing in Britain and France already. Next week the Fiesta RS WRC will be in Spain for more test sessions, the first with full 2011 specs.

Gerard Quinn, Ford of Europe’s Motorsport chief, says, “We’re delighted to preview the Ford Fiesta RS WRC in such a prominent Motor Show as Paris. There are significant visual differences from the Fiesta S2000 base car as well as major changes under the skin. The biggest, of course, is the 1.6-litre Ford EcoBoost turbo engine -the original version of which was developed by Ford’s Powertrain Engineering team.”

More pics and details after the break. Unfortunately the last three pics are only available in 1024px sizing. The first three can be viewed as 2000px super images and if I stumble across full versions of the other pics I will update them accordingly.

Ford Subaru

Ken Block – Gymkhana Threepeat

Ken Block - Gymkhana Threepeat

It’s been a week since Ken Block’s Gymkhana Three video hit the tubes. Now, for your viewing convenience you can can watch all three Gymkhana videos in the one place. The YouTube clips for Gymkhana One, Two and Three are available after the break.

Following an average of 1 million hits per day since last week’s launch Ford has finally woken up and issued a press release to piggy back off Block’s internet success. Also included are three wallpaper sized images from Gymkhana Three.


Ford Video

Ken Block – Gymkhana Three

Ken Block: Gymkhana THREE

As previewed earlier in the month Ken Block is back. The location for his latest rubber burning escapade? L’autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry in France. Why there? Perhaps the 51° banked corners had a fair bit to do with it.

Sit back, turn up the volume and enjoy as Kenny rips his Ford Fiesta to shreds. Quite literally.

[Thanks to Todd for the tip]


Ford Focus RS confirmed for Australia – $59,990

Ford Focus RS

Ford Australia have just confirmed they will be bringing the Focus RS down under. If you want to play with Ford’s extreme hatch you will need to pony up $59,990 plus on road fees and charges. It will be available in three colours; Ultimate Green, Performance Blue and Frozen White. The introduction of the Focus RS to Australia will be limited to 315 cars. All signs currently point to an October release date.

Marin Burela, Ford Australia President, expressed his excitement at today’s news, “Customers, the motoring press, Ford enthusiasts and hot hatch fans have all been constantly asking us about Focus RS and when it might be coming to Australia, so we’re very pleased and incredibly excited to be able to confirm for everyone today that it’s on its way and will be here soon.”

In case you had already consigned the hype about the RS as yesterday’s news, it is powered by a 224kW 2.5 litre turbocharged five cylinder Duratec engine. There’s a gobsmacking 440Nm of torque on offer, as well. Powered by the front wheels only, Ford have tried to reign in that power by fitting the RS with a fancy “RevoKnuckle” MacPherson strut set up in conjunction with a Quaife limited slip diff.

At its launch early last year the Focus RS was attracting plenty of attention from the UK motoring journos, including Jason Plato from Fifth Gear and Steve Sutcliffe from Autocar. Even Mark Webber has had his say.

So, what do you think; has the moment passed for the two-year old RS? Is it’s $10K premium over the all-wheel drive Golf R too much to ask? Is that Ultimate Green paint job having a laugh, or could you see yourself behind the wheel of this extrovert?

Ford’s full press release is available after the break. Further information can be found in the UK sales brochure, which can be downloaded in PDF format HERE (724kb).


Dark art

Ford Focus RS500

Local fans of the Blue Oval’s finest hot hatch will have to endure more misery with the announcement of this cooking Focus RS500 model. Ford Australia, in their wisdom, have decided that we cannot buy Ford Focus RS. Sure we can get the Focus XR5 (ST), but if Volkswagen is willing to offers  its top-end Golf R in addition to its iconic GTI, why won’t Ford play ball also? Of course, that means there is virtually no chance of ever seeing the hot RS500 down under.

In fact, its so damn hot it has chargrilled itself into a very stealth, and very awesome, matt black finish. It’s a combination of Panther Black duco and a specially designed film, described by Ford as being a”foil” finish and has been developed in conjunction with 3M.

It used to be said that 200 horsepower was the maximum amount you could put through a front-driver before things got a bit hectic. Ford have already thrown the rule book out with the 2.5 litre Duratec inline five cylinder found in the regular RS. But this 500 model, throws the rule book even further away with peak power of 350PS. That’s an impressive 15 per cent gain over the “garden-variety’ RS, if there could ever be such a thing. Torque has been boosted as well, up 20Nm to a new peak of 460Nm.

Gains have been made via the usual route for hi-po turbocharged engines, with tweaks such as a more free-flowing exhaust system—including larger downpipe, uprated intercooler, better air intake, revised high-pressure fuel pump and a new ECU tune to maximise those mods. Gunnar Herrmann, Ford’s global C-car vehicle line director says, “The engine’s improved breathing has allowed us to increase power without having to raise turbo boost pressure significantly. This has made it possible to enhance peak performance while maintaining the excellent driveability, fuel consumption and emissions of the standard Focus RS.”


A closer look at the 2011 Ford Focus

2011 Ford Focus

It’s now a couple of weeks since Ford presented the 2011 Focus at the Detroit Auto Show. With the dust settled, let’s take a closer look at the funky sheet metal carving a new direction for Ford. They call it “kinetic design” and there’s a real hint of Chris Bangle flame surface going on. Not that this is entirely new, as the current Fiesta is also cut from the same cloth.

Look closely at the pic above and the way the rear light cluster extends towards the front of the car. At first glance it looks okay, but picture it on a silver or light coloured car. Is that forward extension going to look just a bit too much?

The fuel cap slotting in underneath is also an interesting solution. Again, at first glance it’s a nice way to tuck the lid away. But would a more conventional round lid, as shown on the Focus sedan, have been a better result? Is “kinetic design” trying a bit too hard?

In the last image below, which shows the sedan version from the rear three-quarter angle you get a great look at the creases extending over the wheel arches and the shoulder line along the doors. In theory, the way they run past each other simply shouldn’t work. Maybe it’s the choice of the silver paint and the studio lighting, but there’s something pleasing about the craziness going on there.

The new Focus and the “ONE Ford” global car platform strategy holds great hope for the US carmaker. Despite some reservations I think thew new Focus is a good step forward (on the outside at least). But will this bold new direction pay the required dividends?

Fifth Gear Ford

Fifth Gear drives 2009 Ford Focus RS

Jason Plato from Fifth Gear has been handed a set of keys to the new Focus RS. It’s a pretty wild looking thing, and with 300bhp (225kW) powering the front wheels it sounds like a recipe for disaster. However, thanks to its tricky RevoKnuckle suspension system, which maximises grip, Ford seems to think everything will be okay.

So, it loses marks for lime green paint. It loses marks for hamfisted naming of its technology. But does the Focus RS lose any marks for the driving experience? Not on Jason Plato’s shift, it doesn’t.

Find out more about the Focus RS by downloading this PDF (724kb) or by checking our the website.


1970s Ford GT stash uncovered in South Africa

Ford Fairmont GT stash in South Africa

Many readers will have great memories of the Australian muscle car era. The best years were the 1970s and one of the best examples of the age is the XW/XY Ford Falcon GT. Not as many of you will remember that during that era a whole bunch of Falcon GT parts were exported to South Africa where they were assembled into Fairmont GTs. Recently (or perhaps not), a large haul of Fairmont GTs was unearthed making Ford enthusiasts across the country go weak at the knees.

There were a few cosmetic difference between the Fairmont and Ford GT models, but essentially they are the same car. Indeed, in the areas that matter, these were fair dinkum Falcon GTs.

There appear to be scant facts around about the way this collection was built, but interweb rumour suggests the cars were purchased individually in South Africa with the sole intention of exporting them back “home”. The idea being, of course, that the home grown collecter market would gobble these GTs up at some profit to the importer.

Ford News

Ford names Geelong local Marin Burela as new President and CEO

Ford CEO Martin BurelaFord today announced Marin Burela its new President and CEO. The appointment comes after the shock resignation last month of former president Bill Osborne. Raised in Geelong, Burela started working with Ford Australia in 1984. An engineering graduate of Ford of Australia’s graduate program, he has held positions in Manufacturing, Sales and Marketing, and Product Development areas.

His time with the Ford Motor Company has taken him around the globe, with stints in Asia, Europe and North America, including senior management and board level roles within Land Rover and Jaguar. Most recently he has been working with Ford Europe and he will commence his new role on 1 October. As head of Ford Australia Burela will report directly to John Parker, Executive Vice President, Asia Pacific and Africa.

“Burela’s strong leadership and broad experience within Ford Motor Company will be vital to driving the successful future of Ford Australia’s operations. As a Geelong native, his return to Ford Australia allows him to lead not only one of Ford’s more strategic global markets, but one for which he has such a strong affinity,” said Parker.