Ford Australia will revive its factory involvement in Supercars next season through a remarkable new programme that includes bringing the Mustang bodyshape to the series.
The brand completed its withdrawal as an official Supercars manufacturer at the end of the 2015 season, its involvement since then based on licensing agreements with Tickford Racing and DJR Team Penske rather than genuine funding.
But that’s set to change next season, with Ford Australia tying the introduction of the Ford Performance brand to its local arm with a renewed investment in Supercars.
“We’re proud to announce that Ford Australia, with our Ford Performance global team, is working with DJR Team Penske and Tickford Racing to homologate Mustang for 2019,” said Ford Australia President and CEO, Graeme Whickman.
“There’s been a lot of speculation and calls for Mustang to be on the track, and as a Ford Performance model that’s raced around the world, it’s fitting that Australia’s most popular sports car should be on our race tracks.”
Making Ford’s return to the series even more sensational is confirmation that the two-door Mustang will debut next season.
The current Ford teams have been evaluating the Mustang as a replacement to the FG-X since 2016, this new Ford deal clearing the funding and IP permissions hurdles to allow the muscle car plan to go ahead.
It will be the first two-door model to make use of the Gen2 regulations and be powered by the five-litre V8 engine.
The car will developed as a joint venture between both of the current Ford outfits, which opens the door for DJRTP’s aerodynamics guru and superstar race engineer Ludo Lacroix to have an influence on the development of the new car.
The Mustang will be a welcome change for the Ford teams, with the now four-year-old FG-X struggling to match the pace of the brand new ZB Commodore.
It will also provide a direct link between Tickford’s racing and road car operations, with the brand currently selling street-legal tuned Mustangs.
It’s already been a rollercoaster ride for the Mustang in Supercars. Back in 2016, the Ford teams began heavily investigation it as a possible replacement to the FG-X, with the understanding that 2018 was the target for a change.
By early 2017 there was pressure being put on Ford to help fund a new model, with hopes that Roger Penske could use his contacts in the US to get Ford Performance backing. However, at that stage Ford was unmoved on the idea at a Global level.
This new deal locks the front-running squad into the Blue Oval for the foreseeable future.
Ford hasn’t put a timeframe on its new commitment to Supercars.