Ford sets out conditions for factory rallycross return

Ford wants to see how the future of rallycross develops amid changes in America and plans for electric cars in the world series before committing to a factory return

Ford sets out conditions for factory rallycross return

This winter the United States-based Global Rallycross Championship shut down, while World Rallycross promoter IMG launched a new Americas series.

The unaffected Ford had ended its factory involvement in the World RX at the end of 2017, a year after it canned its GRC programme.

Its notable remaining rallycross commitments include Ford Performance supporting Olsbergs MSE in World RX after it moved from the GRC, as well as small involvement in Loenbro Motorsports' Ford RS RX programme.

World RX and GRC used different technical regulations for Supercars and Ford Performance's global director Mark Rushbrook told Autosport that the lack of unity had been a problem.

"Our only concern with rallycross is it hasn't had a unified global approach in that it was fragmented between World RX and GRC and then other series that were trying to get traction and get started," he said.

"Obviously with the development with GRC there's an opportunity for IMG to add ARX to complement World RX and we hope to see a longer-term vision that keeps World RX and ARX on the same rules and hopefully a global unification of a series that we think has high potential.

Ford confirmed it has a representative in the technical working group and is continuing to talk to IMG, which plans to make electric cars the focus of World RX by 2020.

"For us to get back and do full factory support in rallycross we'd need to see what rallycross is going to look like globally and what the electrified version of that is going to look like," Rushbrook added.

Ford driver and YouTube star Ken Block recently announced a partial rallycross schedule across WRX and ARX for 2018, working with ex-GRC driver Steve Arpin's Loenbro team.

Though Ford's involvement in the project is minor, Rushbrook said keeping Block onboard amid a "fragmented" time for RX was crucial.

"That fragmented global approach to it, that was part of our decision, with Ken Block and the Hoonigan team, to pull out of World RX and to wait and see what happens with that whole landscape," said Rushbrook.

"We obviously want to keep Ken Block behind the wheel of a Ford and helping us with marketing and media.

"At the same time we were watching what Steve Arpin had done even though we hadn't been supporting him with the Fiesta he's been running for the last several years, and the success he and his team had had, they do a lot of really good things.

"They asked for help in a few areas where we are able to help them, but we're excited that those cars will continue racing with Ken and Steve and we see how ARX and the sport develops."

SPEEDMACHINE - The British round of the WRX comes to Silverstone on May 25-27. To book your tickets visit www.speedmachine.com. For a limited time only get discounts on adult tickets using the codes SMW10 for weekends, SSMSAT10 for Saturday and SMSUN for Sunday

shares
comments
World RX Montalegre: Kristoffersson takes victory in the snow

Previous article

World RX Montalegre: Kristoffersson takes victory in the snow

Next article

Triple British Rally champion Higgins enter Silverstone World RX

Triple British Rally champion Higgins enter Silverstone World RX
Load comments

About this article

Series World Rallycross
Author Dominik Wilde
From Lebanon to cross-category world titles - a rally legend's top 10 Plus

From Lebanon to cross-category world titles - a rally legend's top 10

Petter Solberg has called time on his top-flight career after winning titles in two FIA world championships. Here, the 2003 rally and '14/15 rallycross king recalls his 10 best events - including the moment where all his success began

World Rallycross
Nov 7, 2019
How to make an F1 venue fit for World RX Plus

How to make an F1 venue fit for World RX

World Rallycross makes its first appearance at Silverstone this year as part of the 'Speedmachine' festival in May. We take a look at how the new rallycross track fared in its debut event

World Rallycross
Mar 22, 2018
Volkswagen hasn't disappeared completely Plus

Volkswagen hasn't disappeared completely

Volkswagen's abrupt departure from the World Rally Championship it was dominating was one of the winter's biggest shocks. Now 2003 WRC champion Petter Solberg's World Rallycross team has VW support. What does that mean for World RX and what remains of Volkswagen Motorsport?

World Rallycross
Apr 3, 2017
Why rallycross is becoming irresistible Plus

Why rallycross is becoming irresistible

Sebastien Loeb started a new journey in his motorsport career last weekend, but he wasn't the only attraction in Portugal. DAVID EVANS examines why the World Rallycross product works so well

World Rallycross
Apr 21, 2016
How good is World Rallycross? Plus

How good is World Rallycross?

The entries are strong, the cars are powerful and it can teach the WRC a thing or two about promotion. But after visiting the Lydden Hill round, DAVID EVANS still has his doubts

World Rallycross
May 30, 2014
New rallycross golden age comes to Britain Plus

New rallycross golden age comes to Britain

The sport began at Lydden in the late 1960s and this weekend the new-look World Rallycross Championship will strut its stuff at the Kent venue. HAL RIDGE explains why it will be unmissable

World Rallycross
May 23, 2014
Solberg: why rallycross is my future Plus

Solberg: why rallycross is my future

PETTER SOLBERG had a rough first season back in rallycross, but that hasn't deterred him from signing up for the first year of its new era in 2014, as he explains in his AUTOSPORT column

World Rallycross
Oct 16, 2013
Solberg: back to school Plus

Solberg: back to school

Petter Solberg says that there's still lots to learn about running a successful rallycross campaign, but he's really enjoying getting back to his roots

World Rallycross
Apr 2, 2013