Ford has announced that their new performance division is officially named Ford Performance….and they have big plans.
My last post was about the debut of the Shelby GT350 in L.A. Now, the industry is buzzing with rumors of what Ford has planned for the Detroit show.
For starters there is the Shelby GT350R. This one’s basically a lock. As good as you think the Shelby GT350 sounds, the best is yet to come. The 350R will be the Laguna Seca to the 350’s Boss 302. Look for the 350R to, at minimum, get better aero, better brakes, and better rubber. If the Laguna Seca was any indication, expect the back seat to get the boot as well, with additional bracing likely. The Shelby 350R will be the car that Ford puts up as the answer to the Camaro Z/28, regardless of how good the standard GT350 may already be.
Next is the potential appearance of a next-gen Raptor! Details are scarce but it would make sense with the new announcement of Ford’s new performance brand not so creatively named ‘Ford Performance.’ What’s the point of the ‘new’ brand….essentially it will unify SVT, Team RS and Ford Racing under a single global umbrella.
Next hot rumor is that a replacement for the Ford GT will likely be the big headliner in Motown. This ties in with the rumors on the racing side suggesting Ford is preparing a Le Mans GTE-class car for 2016, the 50th anniversary of the Ford GT40’s first Le Mans overall win in 1966. A road-car counterpart would go with that, and Detroit is the logical place to announce everything!
But wait, there’s more. Ford has confirmed a global release of the new Focus RS! We all know it’s coming, but the matter of where it’ll debut is the subject of conflicting reports. It will most likely appear debut at a European show, likely Geneva, which makes sense since the RS has historically been a Euro-market vehicle. If all the above goes down in the D, well, Ford needs to save something for Geneva. The guys at Car and Driver, however, hear it’s Detroit-bound.
Lastly, The Focus ST and Fiesta ST might be part of the picture as well. The Focus ST would simply be the US debut of the facelifted, revised car that was unveiled at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed. In addition, the guys at Car and Driver hear a Fiesta ST update may be announced as well.
The North American International Auto Show takes place in Detroit January 12-25 2015.