Ford has announced the launch of Ford Performance sub-brand in Australia, backed by the news the 2018 Mustang will be homologated for the 2019 Supercars season.
The first Ford Performance-branded models to touch Australian soil will be the 2018 Mustang and hotly-anticipated Ranger Raptor. The company says its performance arm is focused on "developments in aerodynamics, light-weighting, electronics, powertrain performance and fuel efficiency".
Along with the existing range of ST, RS and Raptor products, the announcement doesn't mean we'll get cars like the Mustang GT350R offered in the USA. Unfortunately, they're reserved for left-hand drive markets. Instead, the Ford Performance moniker will be used as a halo for the brand's local performance offerings.
"Ford Performance’s diverse line-up of vehicles reflects customer feedback that Australians are looking for advanced, efficient, performance models across all types of vehicles,” said Ford Australia president and CEO, Graeme Whickman.
"Ford Performance is about technology, innovation and product performance and to showcase our confidence in our performance range, we are bringing Mustang and the Ranger Raptor to the Supercars series in 2019."
That's right, the Mustang will line up on the Supercars grid next year. Ford Performance is teaming up with DJR Team Penske and Tickford Racing to homologate the legendary Pony Car for racing, as the Supercars series welcomes two-door entrants for the first time since its foundation in 1997.
"We’re proud to announce that Ford Australia, with our Ford Performance global team, is working with DJR Team Penske and Tickford Racing to homologate Mustang for 2019,” said Graeme Whickman.
“There’s been a lot of speculation and calls for Mustang to be on the track, and as a Ford Performance model that’s raced around the world, it’s fitting that Australia’s most popular sports car should be on our race tracks.”
Above: the Ford Performance Mustang GT4 racer. The Supercars offering could look something like this...
Ford also confirmed the racing 'Stang will use a V8 engine, despite availability of a twin-turbo six in the overseas Mustang line-up, and the allowance for such options in the Supercars 'Gen 2' rules.
Whickman wouldn't describe the deal as a 'factory team', but stressed that it is a partnership. As such, the bulk of the work will be done by the teams and their team branding will dominate the vehicle livery.
There is also no set limit on Ford's re-commitment to Supercars in Australia, but Whickman added: "Given the Musrang is a model that's been around for a long time, we'd expect to carry on for the foreseeable future."
On hand at today's announcement, racing legend Dick Johnson was asked what the deal means for him as a long-time Ford man: "I dunno mate, but could you see me working down pit lane with another badge? I doubt it," he joked.
The Mustang won't be the only Ford Performance vehicle on track next year, with today's announcement including the news the Ranger Raptor will be used as a recovery vehicle.
One last thing...
2019 Ford Performance range
- 2019 Fiesta ST (Q2, 2019)
- 2019 Ranger Raptor (Q4, 2018)
- 2019 Mustang, Convertible and Fastback (mid-2018)
- 2019 Ford Mustang GT Bullitt (confirmed, launch TBA)