Ford's involvement in V8 Supercars will remain the company's single largest sponsorship and category investment however, moving forward, the company will target enhanced return on its motorsport investment through leveraging activities more closely linked to its performance car line-up.
"The passion it generates amongst performance car enthusiasts is second-to-none, which is why it will continue to be important for our brand going forward. However, as the market diversifies and consumers face an ever-increasing array of vehicle choices, it is imperative that we target our vehicles and accompanying marketing messages in a manner that reflects that diversity.
"Like we do with our involvement with the Geelong Football Club, Cricket Australia and the National Breast Cancer Foundation, we will be looking to more proactively tie our motorsport sponsorship to relevant brand communications – particularly across our performance vehicle range."
As a result, from 2009 onwards, Ford Australia will target its direct motorsport sponsorship towards two successful race teams which provide a high level of leveraging opportunities and are integral to the performance success of the Ford brand.
Ford Performance Racing (FPR) and Stone Brothers Racing (SBR) will both benefit from ongoing sponsorship support from Ford Australia, while also working more closely together to deliver world-class engineering packages and resulting race wins for the FG Falcon.
Other currently sponsored Ford teams will also continue to be supported through the transition to racing the FG Falcon with the provision of initial FG race car shells, a crash panel program and ongoing engineering and technical support.
"A closer collaboration between Ford Performance Racing and Stone Brothers Racing will have race-win benefits for Ford, while also allowing us to be more involved in the positioning and marketing of the Ford brand in association with those two teams," said Winslow.
"Both teams will continue to run at least two cars each in the V8 Supercar Championship and all four of them will be predominantly blue, which will make them easily recognisable as Ford-supported vehicles.
"This more targeted strategy, in conjunction with our ongoing support for other Ford teams and sponsorship of the Formula Ford Championship, will allow us to obtain the best possible return for our investment."
FPR and SBR are long-time Ford teams with complementary areas of development capability. Ford Racing Manager Ray Price expects that closer collaboration between the two will have positive results for both teams.
"SBR is renowned for its engine development capability and will continue to play a leading role in ongoing development of the FG race engine. The combined knowledge of both teams can only bring positive results for the Ford brand in the V8 Supercar Championship."
"Formula Ford is the best possible entrance to racing available to young drivers," said Price. "It has played an integral role in the development of rising stars for many years and we look forward to continuing that association."
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