Introduced: SEMA 2000
Status: Concept, FRPP Parts Development
Ford Racing enters sports compact high performance parts market with Focus FR200
LAS VEGAS, Nev., October 30, 2000 – In response to a growing demand for aftermarket performance parts for sport compact cars, Ford Racing Technology today unveiled its version of the "ultimate" compact performance parts car – the Focus FR200 – as part of the Innovations Day luncheon at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show.
The Focus FR200 is the second in a series of performance parts project vehicles created by Ford Racing Technology to develop and market new lines of parts for the performance parts aftermarket. It follows the Mustang FR500, which made its debut at the SEMA Show in 1999.
The FR200 is a 304-horsepower, turbocharged version of the Ford Focus ZX3 and, like its sibling the Mustang FR500, is designed to be the ultimate combination of high horsepower and superior handling in a small, front-wheel drive car.
"We want people to say this is the best high-horsepower, best-handling, front-wheel drive car that they’ve ever seen," said Dan Davis, director, Ford Racing Technology. "Creating a new line of performance parts for this segment of the market is uncharted territory for us at Ford Racing, but it’s an area that we felt we needed to address since there certainly appears to be a growing market for these kinds of parts.
"This is a bigger experiment for us from an acceptance standpoint than the FR500 was a year ago, since we have a fair amount of experience in the Mustang performance parts market, " Davis added. "We were pretty sure of what people wanted in the Mustang market – there already was a template.
"On this Focus FR200 project, there’s no real template. I’m not sure there’s any manufacturer that has done anything quite this dramatic with one of their vehicles in terms of the entire car. Like the FR500 before it, we’re going to use this project to gauge the market’s interest in various aspects of the vehicle."
Although the exterior of the car has some dramatic changes, the heart of this car lies in the Ford Racing-modified 2.0-liter Zetec engine, which delivers 304 horspower @ 6750 rpm and 285 lb.-ft. torque at 3500 rpm – more than twice the horsepower and torque of the production Focus.
To handle that increased horsepower and torque on the road, Ford Racing widened the wheel track in front and back by four inches (the bodywork is widened by five inches front and back to cover the tires), and built a prototype bolt-on double A-arm front suspension, with prototype, three-way adjustable front and rear coil-over shocks.
The FR200 delivers all the power smoothly through a European production MTX75 transmission case with FRT prototype gears. The powertrain also features a 3.82:1 final drive gear, Torsen limited slip differential and Ford Racing prototype half shafts.
"Clearly, the horsepower numbers for our version of this car are extreme," said Davis. "Going forward, our plan for the parts market would be to do something less extreme than this – perhaps in the 225 horsepower range.
"And we know that the chassis modifications are radical for many do-it-yourselfers, but we wanted to do something different to gauge the interest level in this kind of package.
"Right now, we don’t know exactly how people will want to race the Focus. We know there’s a lot of interest in drag racing the car, and the horsepower and chassis modifications will help with that. But, unlike the Mustang, we don’t know the interest for road racing the car yet, so we want to determine that as we go on."
The exterior of the car is meant to be as aggressive as the changes underneath. Ford Racing asked Mustang FR500 designer Don Johnson of D. A. Johnson Design to create a distinctive look, highlighted by an "outrageous" rear spoiler that is the car’s signature piece.
The front fascia and fenders, the rear quarter panels and rear fascia, and the rocker panels are all redesigned and made of carbon fiber, as is the hood, which also was changed to handle the addition of the intercooler. The car also features European Focus four-door tail lamps.
Inside the car, the extreme performance theme is carried out through the use of a JBL audio system, featuring two, four-channel digital pre-amp units, a TrafficPro Radio/CD/Navigation system, 11 strategically-positioned speakers, and 570 watts of power, delivering 111 db(a) SPL.
The FR200 also features Ford Racing sport leather seat upholstery by Classic Soft Trim, a Ford Racing prototype two-tone leather steering wheel, and a Ford Racing prototype instrument cluster with a 180 mph speedometer and 8000 rpm tachometer (7200 rpm redline).
"Are these changes that people will say ‘Wow’ to? I think so," said Davis. "We understand the market for Focus. And the sport compact market in places like California is growing, and we want to be able to meet the demands of that market.
"Do the parts and systems on the FR200 meet those demands? We believe so.
But, much like the Mustang FR500, we’ll take the feedback we receive from consumers, the industry and the media to help us decide which new parts to add to the new line of parts being introduced this week.
"This, like the FR500 before it, is an on-going project; one that we see as a work in progress. This has been uncharted territory for Ford Racing Technology in terms of these kinds of performance parts, but our engineers have jumped right in and I think the FR200 is a tribute to their hard work and vision."
Dan Davis FR200 Remarks at SEMA 2000
[Roll FR200 teaser/music video. Video shows enthusiasts working in garage on mystery vehicle. Their passion for the product can be heard. Suddenly, the music reaches a crescendo and the FR200 drives through the screen and onto the stage. Tom Kendall and Dan Davis emerge from the vehicle. Chris Theodore introduces both.] [Dan Davis exits car.]
· Thank you Chris.
· In garages across America, enthusiasts are hard at work customizing the Ford Focus.
· And, when it comes to extreme performance, the FR200 delivers.
· The FR200 displays Ford Racing Technology's new line of Extreme Performance parts - aimed directly at the compact performance market.
· Yes, this is a shift in gears.
· What the FR500 says about our commitment to the traditional performance market, the FR200 says about the growing importance of and our commitment to the compact performance market. As both Chuck and Chris have said … it's the future and the FR200 is our vision of where Ford Racing Technology is headed in this segment.
· We want people to say … the FR200 is the best high-horsepower, best-handling, front-wheel drive car that they have ever seen. In other words, it is the ultimate performance parts vehicle.
· The FR200 is a parts and systems showcase for Ford Racing. Creating a new line of performance parts for this segment of the market is uncharted territory, but it's an area that we felt we needed to address since there certainly appears to be a growing market for these kinds of parts.
· Understandably, this is a business experiment … it's a work in progress. What Ford Racing Technology ends up producing in future months depends on feedback from media, suppliers and customers.
· The FR200 is based on the Ford Focus ZX3. Now just to set the record straight, the FR200 is not a 'show car' in the traditional sense. I, Tom [Kendall], could drive this car off the show floor and onto the racetrack right away. And what a thrill that would be!
· Thanks to the Ford Racing-modified, turbocharged, 2.0L Zetec engine which delivers powerful performance to the tune of 304 horsepower at 6750 rpm. Torque is rated at 285 foot-pounds at 3500 rpm. All together, the FR200 delivers more than twice the horsepower and torque of the production Focus.
· Clearly, the horsepower numbers for our version of this car are extreme. Going forward, our plan for the parts market would be to do something less extreme than this - perhaps in the 225 horsepower range.
· Power is delivered smoothly and efficiently through a European-production MTX75 transmission case equipped with Ford Racing Technology prototype gears.
· The Ford Racing-modified suspension and steering deliver responsive, precise and disciplined handling.
· The FR200's wide body exterior treatment creates an extreme performance look and feel that is highlighted by an "outrageous" rear spoiler that is the car's signature piece.
· The front fascia and fenders, the rear quarter panels and rear fascia, the rocker panels and the hood are all redesigned and made of lightweight carbon fiber.
· The extreme performance theme is carried on to the inside with a high-performance JBL sound system … Ford Racing sport leather seat upholstery … a Ford Racing prototype two-tone leather steering wheel … and a Ford Racing prototype instrument cluster. · FR200 and Ford Racing Technology … bringing the extreme to our customers.
[Chris Theodore returns to conclude program.]
|Rear: note new bodywork, tail lamps, spoiler.|
|Front: note new hood, grill, bumper and side bodywork.|
|Introduction to the press, driving thru a paper wall|
|Rear view. Note trademark FR500-like lower bumper. New wing and tail lamps are evident.|