Arena Motorsport 2011 Ford Focus BTCC racer will be seen for the first time at the Geneva Motorshow. The racing version of the car appearing only a few weeks after the road-going version went on sale in Europe and North America.
The car is the first touring car to be based on the newest version of Ford's popular model and is set for a track debut at Brands Hatch ahead of a full BTCC season with the team, their older spec cars having been sold to Airwaves racing over the off-season.
The new car will run in Britain with a 2.0 litre turbocharged engine allowed under BTCC regulation, rather than the smaller 1.6 unit that is favoured by the FIA and will be seen (and heard) in other championship under the bonnet of the new car. In Britain it replaces the controversial LPG fuelled unit the team used in 2010.
The new racer is the product of Arena's development with support from Ford and is the first fruit of a global scheme to help private teams around the world develop a common S2000 spec car, improving their chances of taking titles in Touring Car series across the globe. Thus the Arena developed car is eligible for several series outside of Britain, including China Touring Car. The Touring Car program will also help in the development of the ST model of the new road car.
Ford say that all Touring Car racing activities in Europe will be funded and run completely by private teams, support from Ford themselves limited to technical matters.
“There has been tremendous interest in new Focus from the racing community and it’s the perfect fit for a global touring car. This new BTCC Focus is the first result of a collaborative effort between Ford and race teams around the world that have already built and raced successful Focus race cars,” said Jost Capito, director of Ford Global Performance Vehicles and Motorsport Business Development. “The teamwork has resulted in a global technical platform for racing using a common Focus with a safety cage built to FIA regulations – a competitive platform that can be tailored for regional competition, based on different rules.”
Tom Chilton is set to lead the team for a third year with Andy Neate rumoured to be joining the team after testing the Focus on a number of occasions.