In light of declining global sales and the increasing cost of motorsports, many manufacturers have cut back on racing involvement. BMW has pulled MINI out of the WRC
, and Ford announced it was ending its WRC efforts
Dodge cancelled its NASCAR program
after losing Penske for the 2013 season, which is ironic since Penske driver Brad Keselowski is a leading contender to win this year’s championship in a Dodge-branded car.
Ford’s retreat from the WRC doesn’t mean the brand is done with motorsports; in fact, it recently announced that it would expand its support for the Formula Drift series, in an effort to target the demographic drawn to action sports.
In the words of Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing, “Our involvement with Formula DRIFT is not new, but we are taking it to the next level... Formula DRIFT is a major part of our action motorsports program targeting new audiences for Ford.”
The series is a bit more low-key than most professional racing, with plenty of interaction between fans and drivers. It’s also an ideal showcase for the Ford Mustang
, especially in the hands of drivers like Vaughn Gittin Jr.
and Justin Pawlak. In fact, Gittin just missed taking home the 2012 title at last weekend’s season-ending event in Irwindale, California.
Since joining the Formula Drift series in 2005, Ford has racked up 22 podium finishes, 10 Formula Drift wins and one series championship with Vaughn Gittin Jr. in 2010. We have no idea how many Mustangs it’s sold as a result of its ties to Formula Drift, but we’re sure the short answer is “plenty.”