Ford and Hoonigan Racing have announced that they’re jointly withdrawing from the FIA World Rallycross Championship at the end of the 2017 season. The next move for racers Ken Block and Andreas Bakkerud and their Focus RS RX race cars is yet to be determined.
The Ford/Hoonigan team will have finished two full seasons in the series by the end of this one. As to why these organizations have decided to hang it up, it sounds like the team needs new cars they don’t want to build right now.
I guess I might as well admit that I don’t follow professional Rallycross very closely, but I am a little confused as to why the team needs a new car for a third year. Wasn’t the whole point of this Ken Block/Ford partnership to hype and hawk Focus RSs?
Dave Pericak, Global Director of Ford Performance made the following statement in a press release:
“Although we have thoroughly enjoyed competing in the exciting FIA World Rallycross Championship, it’s a natural time for us to take a break as the future of the series takes shape,” said Pericak. “To continue in WRX would have required the development of a new race car, and with so much discussion happening around the future of rallycross from a powertrain package standpoint, it made sense for us to pause until it’s better defined. Rest assured, we remain absolutely committed to hot hatches and all things performance and think rallycross has a bright future.”
Ken Block also had a comment in the same release:
“Both myself and Ford Performance have learned a lot from this program,” said Block. “While we both would like to continue with the effort, it simply doesn’t add up at this point. Aspects of the sport are up in the air for the future, so putting a lot more money into developing a new racecar to try to battle for the championship title just doesn’t make sense right now. It’s certainly disappointing, but that’s how the economics of motorsports go sometimes.”
Block’s co-driver Andreas Bakkerud made his own announcement on YouTube:
It sounds like Block and Bakkerud plan on sticking together, and we all know Block has enough driving talent and media savvy to keep shredding tires somewhere for a living. We’ll keep poking around for backstory and update if anything interesting comes to light.
Update Wednesday, 2:22 p.m. ET: Ford has confirmed that it will continue to be officially affiliated with Block after the Ford/Hoonigan departure from Rallycross.