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Ford Reveals “Affordable” Compact Race Car

New Focus ST-R aimed at weekend racers and wannabes.

by on Nov.03, 2011

Ford will give weekend warriors a chance to race with an affordable turnkey version of the Focus ST.

Ford is betting there’s a generation of young wannabe racers who’d like to do more than just watch motor sports on television so it will begin offering an “affordable,” “turnkey,” race-tuned version of its Focus ST next year.

Dubbed the Ford Focus ST-R, it will take the street-legal version of the maker’s new compact hatchback and add an FIA-regulation rollbar, beefed-up suspension and uprated brakes.  The decals will be just about the only thing buyers would have to add on their own.

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“It’s already built to race,” said Jost Capito, Ford’s director of Global Performance and Motorsports Business Development, during an unveiling at the annual SEMA aftermarket show in Las Vegas — where it was surrounded by an assortment of historic Ford race cars, including Sweepstakes, the 1901 car built and raced by Henry Ford himself.

The Ford Focus ST-R was unveiled at this week's SEMA trade show. The public debut will be at the LA Auto Show later in November.

The Focus ST-R will be available next spring and can be ordered in track-ready form from the Ford performance catalogue.  Its debut will coincide with the launch of the street-legal Ford Focus ST, the first in a line-up of small performance cars Ford is planning.  The maker will reveal a second ST, based on the new Fiesta subcompact, meanwhile, at the upcoming L.A. Auto Show.

(For a first look at the Ford Fiesta ST, Click Here.)

The Ford Focus ST-R is aimed at “hardcore professional drivers, amateur racers and track-day enthusiasts,” suggested Capito, but unlike traditional race vehicles the maker promises to keep the ST-R affordable.  Exact pricing will be announced closer to next year’s launch.

But it’s expected to be significantly less than earlier Ford turnkey race offerings, such as the Mustang-based Boss 302R and Mustang Cobra Jet.

To hold down costs, Ford’s development team retained the stock Ford body panels wherever possible, along with the standard 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine.

That helps it meet international S2000 racing regulations.

The Ford Focus ST-R is the result of a Euro-American effort by the new Global Performance Team that teamed up engineers on both sides of the Atlantic.  Ford is shifting to a global approach to product development at all levels, the new Fiesta and Focus models the first major efforts to emerge from what CEO Alan Mulally has dubbed the One Ford program.

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