John Force to be sponsored in 2015 by PEAK: ‘I’m 65 but put me in a firesuit and I’m 21, Brad Pitt and bad ass’


Sixteen-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force made it official Saturday afternoon at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Force, who is losing Castrol Oil as his long-time primary sponsor at season’s end, will carry the colors of PEAK Antifreeze + Coolant and the BlueDEF subsidiary brand for the majority of the races he’ll compete in 2015.

“Personally, what this sponsorship means is that somebody didn’t look at my age, somebody looks at my credits and what I can do,” Force said. “I’m 65-years-old with grey hair, but you put me in a firesuit and I’m 21, I’m Brad Pitt and I’m bad ass and I’m going to prove that in 2015. 2015 is going to be the year of PEAK Force.”

Click here for the first official commercial of Force’s relationship with PEAK.

“I haven’t even reached my PEAK yet,” Force said in the commercial. “John Force in a blue car? That’s pretty amazing. … I had a great partnership before (with Castrol), but the world changes. I’m excited to move ahead and prove I can continue to win championships.”

It’s unclear exactly how many of the NHRA’s expected 24 races in 2015 will have PEAK on Force’s race car, but it appears it will be more than half of those races.

The 65-year-old Force is in the thick of trying to win his 17th NHRA Funny Car title this season, with Sunday’s final eliminations and the upcoming season finale at Pomona, California still remaining to be run.

“I’m committed to continuing to lead a championship team and PEAK has proven a similar commitment to the NHRA,” Force said in a media release. “Thanks to PEAK Antifreeze + Coolant, I won’t be hanging up my hat from this sport anytime soon.”

The multi-year deal will also include PEAK continuing in its current role (which began at the start of this season) as associate sponsor for three other drivers in the John Force Racing camp: Funny Car drivers Robert Hight and Courtney Force, and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force. Courtney and Brittany are John Force’s daughters, while Hight is Force’s son-in-law.

“Not only does PEAK provide high quality automotive products for American families like mine, but they’ve proved to be a valued partner on and off the track,” Force said. “I’m so grateful that they’re supporting me, my team and all the fans out there who love drag racing.”

Bryan Emrich, Chief Marketing Officer of Chicago-based PEAK/Old World Industries, made the announcement between the third and fourth qualifying rounds for Sunday’s NHRA Toyota Nationals at Las Vegas.

“We’re honored to be behind John Force and JFR for the 2015 season and beyond,” Emrich said. “PEAK chooses partners that exude the same passion and personal character of hard work that our company upholds.

“After working with John over the past year, it was clear that he and his family are a great fit for our company, allowing us to make the decision to step up and ensure John keeps racing for many more years to come.  He is an icon in this sport and a fan favorite and we are lucky to be tied with such a great championship winning organization.”

PEAK has been a longtime sponsor in various motorsport series for more than 30 years, including NHRA, NASCAR and IndyCar.

Force is expected to announce which major auto manufacturer he’ll align his Funny Car with for next season this coming Tuesday at the Specialty Equipment Markets Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas.

Force is ending a nearly two-decade relationship of campaigning Fords on his Funny Cars at the end of this season.

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Ford Mustang GT3 test has Austin Cindric dreaming of Daytona: ‘I want to drive that car’

Cindric Ford GT3 test
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Austin Cindric wasn’t the “mystery” test driver behind the wheel of the new Ford Mustang GT3 at Sebring International Raceway, but the Team Penske driver desperately wanted to be.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, an amateur sports car driver himself, made the big reveal via a Tuesday tweet that provided the first video evidence of the GT3 Mustang on track.

“I’ve watched the video in question about a million times,” Cindric said Wednesday during a Ford Performance Zoom news conference to promote NASCAR’s first road course weekend of the season at Circuit of the Americas. “Definitely exciting times for sure. I want to drive that car. It suits my experience level and also the relationships that I have.”

Ford will enter the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next season with its GT3 Mustang, entering a two-car factory effort (that will be managed by Multimatic) in GTD Pro and making customer cars available in the GT Daytona category.

That increases the likelihood of seeing more NASCAR drivers crossing over to IMSA. Cindric has been the only full-time Cup driver in the Rolex 24 at Daytona the past two years, but Ford Performance global director Mark Rushbrook has said the GT3 Mustang will provide more opportunities.

Ford has used its GT4 Mustang as a NASCAR driver development tool in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with Harrison Burton and Zane Smith combining to win the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in January.

“We’re excited about the Next Gen car and the new architecture there and the similarities between that car and GT3 and even GT4 cars,” Rushbrook said at the announcement of the Ford GT3 program in January 2022 at Daytona. “We think it’s a great opportunity and to do be able to do that in a 24-hour race and get NASCAR drivers even more time is something we need to consider taking advantage of that opportunity.”

Given his sports car background, Cindric probably still would be in the Rolex 24 regardless. He has eight IMSA starts since the 2017 season opener at Daytona, racing a Lexus RCF GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GT category. The 2022 Daytona 500 winner made his second LMP2 start this year with Rick Ware Racing.

But Cindric’s preference naturally would be in a Ford, particularly with sports car racing enjoying convergence and crossovers in both GT and prototype racing.

“It’s an exciting time in GT racing, just as it is now for prototype racing with a lot of new regulations and manufacturers building new GT3 cars,” he said. “And also the opportunity with WEC (the World Endurance Championship) and Le Mans and how that all lines up for that category of car. It’s definitely an exciting time. I want to be as much of a part of that as possible.”

Though those odds seemingly will increase with multiple Ford entries in the Rolex 24 field next year, Cindric said NASCAR drivers still have to put in the networking to land rides as he has in recent years.

“Now how (the GT3 Mustang) relates to specifically NASCAR drivers and how often they want to be in the Rolex, could it be an influence? Absolutely, as far as the tie-in with the manufacturer,” Cindric said. “But the challenge and the drive and the logistics of getting an opportunity for a race like the Rolex 24 will be just as challenging as it always is to find your one-off ride for the race. At least from my experience, that’s what I still anticipate.”

It turned out the “mystery” test driver wasn’t from NASCAR (Farley revealed the driver to be 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Joey Hand after a fan asked whether it was Joey Logano).

But Cindric believes there could be more Cup drivers — and perhaps himself — behind the wheel of Mustang GT3s in the future.

“There’s definitely more of a pathway than I think there would be before as far as Ford drivers are concerned,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to drive that thing. It’s obviously a great looking car. That’s the first box you’ve got to check. And it’s cool (to have) a guy like Jim Farley, no doubt he’s a racer just as much as he is steering the ship for Ford. It’s cool to see he’s just as excited as the rest of us about it.”