DEARBORN -- Victories are validation of successful engineering, and at Ford Performance, it allows for a testing ground in extreme conditions for future product improvements.
"The engineering depth that we have in our motorsports program internally is making a difference,” Mark Rushbrook, Ford Performance Motorsports Global Director said. “Focusing in the areas of aerodynamics, vehicle dynamics and powertrain, we are truly leveraging the same engineering tools that we use for our road cars.
“One of the charters of this team is to win races and championships that matter by sharing the technology that is available between our road cars and race cars to ultimately make both better.”
Racing also provides a point of pride, not only for consumers and supporters of Ford Motor Company, but for the employees that pour countless hours into vehicle development every year.
“Success in racing is a point of pride for many of our employees around the world,” Rushbrook said. “Our success in NASCAR, the biggest form of motorsport in North America and the reach that it has and what it means to the fans beyond the company, is significant.
“The amount of work and time that it took to reach that success in 2018, that work all started back in 2014 to get to this point. It takes a significant effort and long-term commitment to get to the level where we are today in NASCAR. With the engine program, the aerodynamics, the body program, simulation, tire modeling, drive line, everything. You've got to have strength in every area to perform on track.”
Immediately after Team Penske’s Joey Logano crossed the finish line to close out Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway and claimed Ford’s 19th victory of the season, and with it the driver’s and manufacturer’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championships, the passion and excitement was felt throughout the company
"The number of text messages, emails, phone calls that I received in the minutes after the checkered flag was amazing,” Rushbrook said. “The genuine excitement from people knowing that we won and knowing that Joey and his team were coming to Dearborn to celebrate a NASCAR championship was overwhelming. That’s a great representation of how strong the passion is from everybody at Ford Motor Company regarding on-track success.”The NASCAR championships came on the heels of several other championship moments during the season, including a pair of championships in IMSA. The Ford GT claimed its first championship, bringing home the manufacturer’s championship in the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship GTLM series, while the Ford Mustang GT4 also claimed the manufacturer’s championship in the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge."To me the best part about IMSA is that we are racing the street cars, or slightly modified versions of the street cars,” Rushbrook said. “It has even more meaningful, deeper product relevance to the cars that people are driving every day. That’s where the pride really shows through, to be able to showcase the innovation and tech transfer is a leader on the track."The championships in 2018 weren’t limited to North America. The Ford Falcon claimed its 17th championship in the Virgin Australian Supercars series when DJR Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin crossed the finish line in 2nd to close out the season in New South Wales, ahead of his fellow championship contenders. It marked the final race for Falcon before the new Mustang debuts in the series next year.
"I think the significance of the success in the Australian Supercars series is expanding the global reach of our global motorsports programs,” Rushbrook said. “There is so much passion around the Blue Oval racing around the world.”Australia was also the site of Ford’s second-consecutive championship in the FIA World Rally Championship, as Sebastien Ogier completed a late-season surge to claim another title for the Ford Fiesta WRC.
“The WRC title was the result of a great team effort throughout the whole season and something everyone at M-Sport and Ford should be immensely proud of,” Rushbrook said. “The fact that we can win in NASCAR, win in IMSA, win in Australia with Supercars and win in WRC, it showcases how strong the Ford brand is around the world."2018 Championships
● NASCAR Cup Driver’s Championship
● NASCAR Cup Manufacturer’s Championship
● IMSA Weathertech GTLM Manufacturer’s Championship
● IMSA Continental Tire Manufacturer’s Championship
● FIA WRC Driver’s Championship
● Australian Supercars Driver’s Championship