Dream weekend for Foust, Speed, Volkswagen Andretti RX, in Barbados

Photo: Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross

Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross enjoyed a banner weekend at Bushy Park in Barbados, the second-to-last round of the Red Bull Global Rallycross season.

Tanner Foust won both races in his No. 34 Rockstar Energy Volkswagen Beetle, and teammate Scott Speed now leads the points in the No. 41 Merchant First Beetle, heading to the finale at Las Vegas next month.

“Honestly, the Volkswagen Beetle GRCs held their own today, so it’s an awesome finish for the whole crew. We really made up some time; the Volkswagen Andretti team did an incredible job at preparing these cars for the weekend,” Foust said after the Round 10 win on Saturday, what was his second of the year.

“Hopefully we can hit the ground running tomorrow and try some new things in the early morning practice session. The track will be a little bit cold then, so you can’t take every lesson and apply it directly. The key tomorrow will be to just get some clean starts, get far enough ahead of people so there is no damage and then adapt to the changing track. The track is clean and beautiful at the start of every Heat, but then you have drivers cutting corners and then you have to cut the corners too. ”

Speed took the points lead on Saturday with a runner-up finish to Foust, and after recovering from an incident with Bryan Herta Rallysport driver Patrik Sandell. The podium finish was his sixth in 2015.

“Fortunately we were able to get back to the line after that incident with (Patrik) Sandell. I think we now realize that our cars are durable and we’re having no mechanical or liability problems and that’s key in Global Rallycross,” Speed said. “It’s definitely a contact sport; everyone at Volkswagen Andretti has done an amazing job at developing these cars and making them as strong as possible.”

Sunday was a different day, but again featured the same result – Foust first with Speed second – to provide the VARX team the title as these are the only two drivers now eligible in Las Vegas.

“What an amazing weekend. We didn’t start out as the quickest car either day, but the Volkswagen Andretti team worked incredibly hard to improve the cars, and it paid off with this awesome pair of wins!” Foust exclaimed.

“I never would have believed it if you’d told me going into LA that we’d have a legitimate shot at the championship heading into the final round, but here we are thanks to some great teamwork and perseverance. I’m so incredibly proud of Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, this was a dream weekend for all of us.”

Defending series champion Joni Wiman (Saturday) and Nelson Piquet Jr. (Sunday) scored the other two podiums of the weekend.

Meanwhile Ken Block followed up his roll last year at Barbados with another one, which wasn’t in the game plan. It occurred during the LCQ.

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Wow. I did NOT expect a repeat of my roll last year here in Barbados!! One second I was leading the LCQ – and the next second I’m on my roof! I drove over a dirt mound right before the jump (which wasn’t a very well designed part of the track – and was removed immediately after this incident), and unfortunately I hit it in just the wrong way to put me on two wheels, then on my roof, then over the jump – rolling – and back onto my roof. Even though myself and everyone else had been driving/jumping over the same mound all day. Definitely caught me off guard… very lame!!! Thankfully the guys on my @HooniganRacing tech crew are absolutely incredible at what they do – they’re going to have the car fixed and ready to race tomorrow. Amazing. So, I lost my lead of the championship today, but I will be back tomorrow in the hunt to get it back! #mycrazyracecarlife #thatsracing #racingcanbecruel #Barbadosrolls

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Ford unveils a new Mustang for 2024 Le Mans in motorsports ‘lifestyle brand’ retooling

Ford Mustang Le Mans
Ford Performance

LE MANS, France — Ford has planned a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its iconic Mustang muscle car next year under a massive rebranding of Ford Performance aimed at bringing the automotive manufacturer “into the racing business.”

The Friday unveil of the new Mustang Dark Horse-based race car follows Ford’s announcement in February (and a ballyhooed test at Sebring in March) that it will return to Formula One in 2026 in partnership with reigning world champion Red Bull.

The Mustang will enter the GT3 category next year with at least two cars in both IMSA and the World Endurance Championship, and is hopeful to earn an invitation to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The IMSA entries will be a factory Ford Performance program run by Multimatic, and a customer program in WEC with Proton Competition.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, also an amateur sports car racer, told The Associated Press the Mustang will be available to compete in various GT3 series across the globe to customer teams. But more important, Farley said, is the overall rebranding of Ford Performance – done by renowned motorsports designer Troy Lee – that is aimed at making Ford a lifestyle brand with a sporting mindset.

“It’s kind of like the company finding its own, and rediscovering its icons, and doubling down on them,” Farley told the AP. “And then this motorsports activity is getting serious about connecting enthusiast customers with those rediscovered icons. It’s a big switch for the company – this is really about building strong, iconic vehicles with enthusiasts at the center of our marketing.”

Ford last competed in sports car racing in 2019 as part of a three-year program with Chip Ganassi Racing. The team scored the class win at Le Mans in 2016 in a targeted performance aimed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford snapping Ferrari’s six-year winning streak.

Ford on Friday displayed a Mustang with a Lee-designed livery that showcased the cleaner, simplified look that will soon be featured on all its racing vehicles. The traditional blue oval with Ford Performance in white lettering underneath will now be branded simply FP.

The new mark will be used across car liveries, merchandise and apparel, display assets, parts and accessories and in advertising.

Farley cited Porsche as an automaker that has successfully figured out how to sell cars to consumers and race cars in various series around the world while creating a culture of brand enthusiasts. He believes Ford’s new direction will help the company sell street cars, race cars, boost interest in driving schools, and create a merchandise line that convinces consumers that a stalwart of American automakers is a hip, cool brand.

“We’re going to build a global motorsports business off road and on road,” Farley told the AP, adding that the design of the Mustang is “unapologetically American.”

He lauded the work of Lee, who is considered the top helmet designer among race car drivers.

“We’re in the first inning of a nine inning game, and going to Le Mans is really important,” Farley said. “But for customer cars, getting the graphics right, designing race cars that win at all different levels, and then designing a racing brand for Ford Performance that gets rebranded and elevated is super important.”

He said he’s kept a close eye on how Porsche and Aston Martin have built their motorsports businesses and said Ford will be better.

“We’re going in the exact same direction. We just want to be better than them, that’s all,” Farley said. “Second is the first loser.”

Farley, an avid amateur racer himself, did not travel to Le Mans for the announcement. The race that begins Saturday features an entry from NASCAR, and Ford is the reigning Cup Series champion with Joey Logano and Team Penske.

The NASCAR “Garage 56” entry is a collaboration between Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear, and is being widely celebrated throughout the industry. Farley did feel left out of the party in France – a sentiment NASCAR tried to avoid by inviting many of its partners to attend the race so that it wouldn’t seem like a Chevrolet-only celebration.

“They’re going right and I’m going left – that NASCAR thing is a one-year deal, right? It’s Garage 56 and they can have their NASCAR party, but that’s a one-year party,” Farley said. “We won Le Mans outright four times, we won in the GT class, and we’re coming back with Mustang and it’s not a one-year deal.

“So they can get all excited about Garage 56. I almost see that as a marketing exercise for NASCAR, but for me, that’s a science project,” Farley continued. “I don’t live in a world of science projects. I live in the world of building a vital company that everyone is excited about. To do that, we’re not going to do a Garage 56 – I’ve got to beat Porsche and Aston Martin and Ferrari year after year after year.”

Ford’s announcement comes on the heels of General Motors changing its GT3 strategy next season and ending its factory Corvette program. GM, which unlike Ford competes in the IMSA Grand Touring Prototype division (with its Cadillac brand), will shift fully to a customer model for Corvettes in 2024 (with some factory support in the IMSA GTD Pro category).