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Ford Continues Formula E, EWRX Talks as Deadlines Loom

Ford continuing evaluation of Formula E, EWRX options with deadlines approaching…

Photo: Drew Gibson/Ford

Ford has continued to evaluate the EV racing landscape, with deadlines looming on the potential participation in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship and proposed FIA Electric World Rallycross Championship.

The American manufacturer, which is involved in discussions in both series, as well as at least two emerging all-electric championships, is understood to be facing a program decision for as early as 2020.

An entry into Formula E, as first revealed by e-racing365 last year, needs to be declared by next month in order to debut in the 2019-20 season with a customer powertrain or Season Seven with its own technology.

While having previously been linked to an alliance or takeover of the Jay Penske-owned Dragon operation, e-racing365 believes a possibility also exists for Ford to replace an existing Formula E manufacturer on the grid.

A deadline of March 29, meanwhile, has been established for commitments to EWRX, with at least three manufacturers understood to be needed to launch the all-electric championship for 2021.

Ford’s EV exploration has already been more a year in the making, according to Ford Performance global motorsports director Mark Rushbrook.

“As try to electrify what we do in motorsports, we’re looking at hybrids as well as full-electric,” he told e-racing365. “We do continue to look at all the different options that are available to us.

“That includes regular dialogue with Formula E. I talked to them [last] week.

“That does include regular dialogue with IMG and FIA for Electric Rallycross; I also talked to them [last week].

Rushbrook said the past year has seen new EV options develop, including ETCR and the soon-to-be-launched Extreme E off-road championship.

While both are options as well, it’s understood Formula E and EWRX remain the leading candidates for the Blue Oval.

“While there’s stability with Formula E and the trajectory they’re on, not all the other series as they’re being proposed; they’re changing,” he said.

“We’ve been on this journey in looking for an electrified form of motorsports for a year now. We put it out as a landscape, ‘What are the different options?’

“It’s changed a lot in the last year. We as a company continue to change as the whole automotive industry is changing, with silhouette types and powertrains.”

It’s understood Multimatic, which has spearheaded the Ford GT project, has been involved in multiple feasibility studies for the various electrification options, which includes a possible DPi program for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Ford has pledged to invest $11 billion into EV technology in offering 40 hybrid or full EVs for the road by 2022.

“The automotive world is changing; the motorsports landscape is changing,” Rushbrook said.

“We do keep a regular look, reviewing that with our senior management. But we will need to make some decisions soon.”

Sam Smith contributed to this report.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of e-racing365. Dagys, who launched the industry-leading Sportscar365 in 2013, spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Kris G.

    January 29, 2019 at 10:43 am

    True is, compared to GM for sample, Ford is way behind in the electrification game. GM started in the mid nineties with the EV1 (for bad or good) and their electrification program is in its third iteration (Volt and Spark EV were the second and Bolt the third) where the Ford one is stalled at the Focus EV and Hybrids that no one is buying anymore.

    The only manufacturers in the FE championship that could give their position to Ford in case the company decides to join is Dragon and Venturi. Very likely Venturi will switch to Mercedes powertrain when the German manufacturer does join next season – from provide powertrain for their HWA arm this current season.

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