COLOGNE, Germany/DEARBORN -- In 1901, Henry Ford sped to victory in his one and only outing as a racing driver. 110 years later, Ford racing teams and drivers around the world have brought home victories and championships in Ford’s 110th anniversary motorsport season.
Ford Fiesta RS WRC drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala of the Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team finished second and fourth in the World Rally Championship after a spirited battle that went down to the final event. The Ford WRC duo captured three wins during the season. In all, Fiesta had its most successful year in rally, capturing 16 regional and national championships worldwide.
In Rallycross, Ford Fiesta driver Tanner Foust captured the inaugural Global Rallycross Championship and Ford Focus driver Sverre Isachsen captured the European Rallycross Championship, with Foust finishing second. Brian Deegan led a 1-2-3 Ford Fiesta sweep of X Games medals with Foust and former Ford WRC driver Marcus Gronholm.
In Touring Car, Andy Yan captured the Chinese Touring Car Championship in a Ford Focus, Paul Brown won the SCCA World Challenge GTS title in a Mustang Boss 302S and there were successful winning efforts put forth for Mustang Boss 302R in Grand-Am and Focus in British Touring Car.
In NASCAR Sprint Cup, Ford Fusion driver Carl Edwards ended up in a points tie for the Championship, but lost the tie-breaker (number of wins). Edwards ended up second and Roush Fenway teammate Matt Kenseth fourth in the most competitive NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship in history. In addition, rookie driver Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500 for the Wood Brothers, capturing Ford’s 600th win at the Cup level.
In NASCAR Nationwide, Mustang scored its first NASCAR win and Ford driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. captured his first NASCAR Nationwide Driver’s Championship, and helped Ford capture the series’ manufacturer’s title as well.
In NHRA Funny Car drag racing, all five Ford Mustang drivers made the championship playoffs , Ford drivers won 12 times (including Ford’s 200th win in the class), and John Force Racing’s Mike Neff finished fourth and Robert Hight fifth in the championship.
In off-road racing, Ford continued to show its dominance in desert competition, winning seven total championships in LOORS, Best in the Desert and ABSA Off-Road competition.
“It’s been an incredible year for Ford racing teams and drivers around the world,” said Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing, North America. “And we’re proud that we still race today for the same reasons Mr. Ford did – to prove out our products against the best competition, and then to market that success to help the company sell more cars and trucks. There’s no question that our winning racing programme worldwide helps lift the favourability of the Ford brand.”
“This has been an outstanding season for the Ford Fiesta in rallying, winning so many championships around the world,“ said Gerard Quinn, Ford of Europe motorsport chief. “In its competitive debut the Ford Fiesta RS WRC took a podium lock-out at Rally Sweden and finished the season in similar fashion at the final round, Wales Rally GB. As a factory prepared rally car or in the hands of private competitors the Ford Fiesta is proving to have the competitive DNA that has seen Ford so successful in rallying over many decades.“
Here’s a listing of Ford championships and awards for 2011 around the world:
• Tanner Foust, Ford Fiesta – Global RallyCross Super Rally Championship
• Tanner Foust, Ford Fiesta – Global RallyCross RallyCross Championship
• Tanner Foust, Ford Fiesta – Global RallyCross Championship Overall Champion
• Brian Deegan, Ford Fiesta – X Games RallyCross Champion
• Ford Motor Company – Global RallyCross Championship Manufacturers Champion
• Brian Deegan, Ford F-150 Raptor – Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Pro 2 Unlimited Champion
• Brian Deegan, Ford Ranger – Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Pro Lite Unlimited
• Sverre Isachsen, Ford Focus – European Rallycross Championship
• Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford Mustang – NASCAR Nationwide Championship
• Ford – NASCAR Nationwide Manufacturer’s Championship
• NASCAR Engine Builder of the Year – Doug Yates, FR9 NASCAR Engine
• SCCA World Challenge GTS Championship – Paul Brown, Ford Mustang Boss 302S
• SCCA World Challenge GTS Manufacturer’s Championship – Ford Mustang Boss 302S
• Best in the Desert Series Class 7100 - Blake Henn; Ford Ranger
• Best in the Desert Class 7200 - Al Hogan; Ford F-150
• Best in the Desert Class 8000 - Dr. Macrae Glass; Ford F-150
• Best in the Desert Class 8100 - Tim Casey; Ford F-250
• Norwegian Rally Championship – Mads Ostberg, Ford Fiesta
• Swedish Rally Championship – Pontus Tideman, Ford Fiesta
• Finnish Rally Championship (R2 Cup) – Jukka Korhonen, Ford Fiesta
• Australian Rally Championship (2WD) – Razvan Vlad, Ford Fiesta
• New Zealand Rally Championship (2WD) – Ben Hunt, Ford Fiesta
• British Rally Challenge Championship (2WD) – Jack Rowe, Ford Fiesta
• Turkish Rally Championship – Yagiz Avci, Ford Fiesta
• Austrian Rally Championship (2WD) – Pia Schirnhofer, Ford Fiesta
• South Africa Rally Championship – Conrad Rautenbach, Ford Fiesta
• FIA African Rally Championship – Conrad Rautenbach, Ford Fiesta
• Argentine Rally Championship - Federico Villagra, Ford Fiesta
• FIA Middle East Rally Championship - Nasser Al-Attiyah, Ford Fiesta
• Chinese Touring Car Driver’s Championship – Andy Yan, Ford Focus
• Chinese Touring Car Team Championship – Changan Ford Racing Team
• Brazil Prototype S2000 – Ford, Best Racing Engine
• Brazilian Touring Car Championship – Ford, Best Racing Engine
• ABSA Off Road Championship – Ford Ranger TDCi, Manufacturer’s Championship