Ford expects its all-new Focus to make its competitive racing debut in the 2011 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).
Although the firm will offer no financial or full works support to the championship, it is planning to allow private teams access to Ford’s technology and is willing to offer technical support.
The arrangement is likely be one similar to that seen in this year’s championship, where privateers Team Aon ran two current-gen Ford Focuses without any financial support from Ford, but did have access certain resources and technology.
The BTCC is entering a transitional phase from 2011, where it will begin the switch from the current S2000 regulations to new cost-saving Next Generation Touring Car (NGTC) rules. Many components will be common, including the front and rear sub frames, and cars will not have to be homologated to compete in the championship.
No homologation rule opens the door to many new cars being able to compete in the championship, including the already-announced Toyota Avensis and the Ford Focus itself.
In a statement, Ford said the Focus would become its new global touring car and it “would be developed with private race teams in co-operation with the company’s global motorsport group”.
“There has been tremendous interest from the racing world about the new Focus, and it’s the perfect fit for a global touring car,” said Jost Capito, Ford’s global performance vehicles and motorsport boss. “Even more, by working with private race teams, we’re ensuring Focus has the support it needs to compete and win.”
Ford said that teams “are being brought together to determine their strengths and define roles for the development of the race car. Ford will also support the race teams by providing data and production parts, resulting in teams racing more competitive cars that are developed with greater efficiency.”
Other championships the Focus, which will homologated to S2000 spec and “with potential to adopt to wider specifications”, will compete in will be the China Touring Car Championship, as well as the Nurburgring 24 Hours.