ZHAOQING, China - The 2014 China Touring Car Championship (CTCC) series kicked off on April 27 at the Guangdong International Circuit in Zhaoqing, giving spectators a thrilling display of speed and driving skill. The Changan Ford Racing Team had a great start, especially with their recently signed driver, Martin Xie, clocking an impressive time of 1 minute 23.311 seconds, showcasing both his impressive driving capabilities and the performance of the Changan Ford Focus.
“Our commitment to motor racing in China is demonstrated by our strong and determined participation in CTCC competition,” said Marin Burela, president and CEO, Changan Ford Automobile Co. Ltd. (CAF), after the race. “We have won six championships over the past eight years and we are delighted that we are leading the 2014 championship after the first stop. Auto racing brings both excitement and enjoyment to fans across the country and when our customers see the car they purchased win on the race track it gives them confidence they have made the right choice. It also inspires and motivates new customers to visit our 4S Dealerships to experience and test drive a new Focus. We look forward to another exciting season and we wish our team every success!”
The new Focus continues as Changan Ford’s CTCC contender. It has a hot new look for 2014, with wind-tunnel tested aerodynamics enhanced by a bold blue-and-white paint job, incorporating the iconic Ford oval logo with an EcoBoost design on the hood. Performance has been improved by use of lighter materials to reduce weight and new tuning and calibration on the powerful 1.6 EcoBoost engine.
Great race cars need great drivers. So this season Team Changan Ford has a new member, Darryl O’Young, a renowned driver with 26 years of international experience spanning the WTCC, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and GT Asia. He joins teammates Rainey He, called the “backbone” of the team, rising star Martin Xie, and Andy Yan, who achieved the “hat trick” of wins last year.
Recapping the first stop of the competition, Team Changan Ford drivers were adjusting their new cars to track conditions, each adapting their skills and experience for the current match. O’Young performed excellently. Though he didn’t start from the first two spots, he quickly caught on to the tempo of match. Using his WTCC experience, he used a blocking strategy to hold off the advances of other drivers on curves, utilizing the Focus’ excellent handling and braking to maintain control and then move into second place.
Martin Xie also drew on his skills to get the most out of his hi-revving Focus race car. He made full use of the power of his race-tuned 1.6T EcoBoost engine to consistently set new single-circuit speed records. Data collected from the first stop will be analyzed and used to further improve the performance of the Changan Ford racing cars and drivers. The second stop will be held in Zhuhai in two weeks.
Changan Ford’s commitment to Chinese auto racing resonates with Chinese customers who continue to choose CAF models in all segments. Maintaining the strong momentum from 2013, CAF sold 195,198 vehicles in the first three months of this year, up 52 percent from a year earlier and 5.1 times the industry average increase. The racing champion, Focus, was also a winner with customers and sold 100,503 units during the same period, up 4 percent, solidifying its lead in the mid-sized segment. The Kuga is up there as well, proving to be quite popular in the SUV segment, selling 128,720 units. Its smaller SUV teammate, the EcoSport, sold 77,072 units. The monthly sales average for the flagship all-new Mondeo topped 8,000 units. And rounding out the pack, sales for the all-new Fiesta rose 43 percent month on month.
We look forward to more exciting successes from the Changan Ford racing team!