In July 2011, Ford announced a program called “Octane Academy,” targeted to action-sport fans. The premise was simple: film a video showing why you should be picked, and get a chance to learn driving from instructors like Ken Block, Tanner Foust, Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Brian Deegan.
With stars like that, it was pretty clear that parallel parking and K-turns wouldn’t be part of the curriculum. Ford received over 6,000 applications and 850 videos from fans eager for a shot at attending an Octane Academy camp, which gave Ford another idea: why not turn Octane Academy into a reality TV series?
Season one spanned 13 episodes, which aired on Fuel TV in early 2012. It was enough of a success that Ford is filming a season two, which will air on the NBC Sports Network beginning in June 2013. The finale, set for Sunday, July 28, will air on NBC, giving it the potential to attract even more viewers.
All four star drivers will return for season two, with Vaughn Gittin Jr. back in the Mustang GT, Tanner Foust again driving the Focus ST and Brian Deegan climbing behind the wheel of the F-150 SVT Raptor for an encore. Only Ken Block gets a new car, stepping up from last year’s Fiesta to this year’s newly-announced Fiesta ST.
As before, contestants will face a series of driving and action-sport challenges, with the winner of each camp eventually competing against the winners of the other camps in the show’s finale. The grand prize is a racing scholarship and a new Ford, giving the winner the potential to be the next Foust, Block, Gittin Jr. or Deegan.
Perhaps overstating the obvious, Ford’s car experiential marketing manager, Mary Ellen Abraham, said, “The show is geared toward a millennial audience, but is certainly entertaining for anyone who loves competition, action sports, and has a passion for cars, trucks and driving.”
Given that season two will air on the NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus), it certainly has the potential to draw a broader audience. More viewers also adds up to a stronger potential for season three, as long as Ford is still doing all it can to attract Millennial buyers.
Want to see if you've got what it takes to be a contestant? Head on over to the Octane Academy website for complete details.