Ford has a long and storied racing past that dates back to 1901, when company founder Henry Ford beat Alexander Winton in a 10-lap race. Now, with an eye toward the company’s future motorsports endeavors, Ford has announced the creation of a new esports racing program.
Known as Fordzilla, Ford will use Gamescom, Europe's leading trade fair for digital games culture, to recruit gamers from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK. Another team will be made up of the best players from all those teams.
Fordzilla recruits will compete against one another in a number of video games, including "Forza Motorsports 7," which has one of the largest online racing communities. The Dearborn-based automaker said more than 1 million "Forza" players go racing with a Ford product every month.
Unlike other esports programs launched by other automakers, such as Nissan’s GT Academy, Fordzilla participants won’t be competing for a spot on one of Ford’s real-world racing teams, at least not initially. Instead, Ford says it will use the “passion and expertise of the gaming community” to help evolve the company’s “thinking around what future journeys will look like.”
“We at Ford have a racing pedigree that others can only envy. Now is the time to take that know-how and apply it to the world of esports—capturing the imagination of a new generation of virtual racing drivers, inspiring them to take a ride in one of our Ford Performance vehicles,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing Sales & Service, Ford of Europe.
Ford first hosted a stand at Gamescom in 2017, and become the first automaker to do so. Last year Ford used the venue to introduce its off-road focused Ranger Raptor pickup truck.
Gamescom runs from Aug. 20-24 in Cologne, Germany.
Thus far, Ford has announced no U.S. team. We have plenty of video gamers, too, and many would love a shot at racing professional, if virtually, for Ford.