DEARBORN - Race fans planning on attending Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 15-17 already know they’re going to see stock cars racing side-by-side at breathtaking speeds. It’s the speed of another sort, however, that Ford Motor Company hopes has them talking even more.
When the cars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series take to the track Sunday, Nov. 17 for the Ford EcoBoost 400 season finale, they will be led by a highly customized Mustang that is featured as the hero car in the upcoming Hollywood movie “Need for Speed,” and is also playable in the Electronic Arts video game “Need for Speed Rivals.” The pace car will be driven by Ramon Rodriguez, one of the stars of the movie.
“When the opportunity to showcase the ‘Need for Speed’ Mustang at our marquee event came up a few months ago, it was a no-brainer to make it the centerpiece of Ford Championship Weekend,” said Tim Duerr, Ford Racing motorsports marketing manager. “We have always tried to incorporate some of our latest products that make up Ford’s versatile car and truck lineup, and we feel the three vehicles we’re using this year continues that trend.”
In addition to the “Need for Speed” Mustang, Ford will use the all-new F-150 Tremor to pace the Ford EcoBoost 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event on Friday, Nov. 15, and the Mustang GT500 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 on Saturday, Nov. 16.
“This lineup of new Ford vehicles is befitting of the three NASCAR championship races we’ll be hosting at Homestead-Miami Speedway,” said Matthew Becherer, track president. “Ford is a fantastic partner, and we’re thrilled its cars will be on display for a packed house and millions more to see on television across the world.”
The “Need for Speed” Mustang was created solely for the movie and features a custom-designed wide body with unique 22-inch alloy wheels capable of supporting 900 horsepower, and larger intakes to feed its supercharged V8 engine. Also keeping the engine cool is the enlarged lower grille, with corner air intakes to cool the front brakes.
Designers also worked on reducing aerodynamic drag by using low-profile mirrors and extended rocker panels. The splitter has been redesigned to provide better handling at high speeds. The rear spoiler and diffuser were created to improve airflow, reducing drag and giving additional traction for high-speed acceleration.
In addition to Rodriguez, the movie stars Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots and Michael Keaton; it will debut in theaters March 14, 2014, while fans of the popular Electronic Arts video game series by the same name will be able to buy the latest “Need for Speed Rivals” version later this month.
“The heritage of Mustang is unlike any other automobile in America,” said Steve Ling, Ford car marketing manager. “With Mustang being a central character in this racing-oriented movie, it seems only fitting to showcase the car here at Homestead and help serve as a great springboard to our various celebrations recognizing 50 years of Mustang in 2014.”
This marks the 12th year Ford has served as title sponsor of Ford Championship Weekend.