Race fans planning on attending Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 15-17 already know they're going to see stock cars racing side-by-side at breathtaking speeds. It's the speed of another sort, however, that Ford Motor Co. hopes has them talking even more.
When the cars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series take the track on Nov. 17 for the Ford EcoBoost 400 season finale, they will be led by a highly-customized Mustang that is featured as the hero car in the upcoming Hollywood movie, "Need for Speed" and is also playable in the Electronic Arts video game entitled "Need for Speed Rivals." The pace car will be driven by one of the film's stars, Ramon Rodriguez.
"When the opportunity to showcase the 'Need for Speed' Mustang at our marquee event came up a few months ago it was a no-brainer to make it the centerpiece of Ford Championship Weekend," said Tim Duerr, Ford Racing motorsports marketing manager. "We have always tried to incorporate some of our latest products that make up Ford's versatile car and truck lineup, and we feel the three vehicles we're using this year continues that trend."
In addition to the "Need for Speed" Mustang, Ford will be using the all-new F-150 Tremor to pace the Ford EcoBoost 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event on Friday, Nov. 15, and the Mustang GT500 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 on Saturday, Nov. 16.
"This lineup of new Ford vehicles is befitting of the three NASCAR championship races that we'll be hosting at Homestead-Miami Speedway," said track President Matthew Becherer. "Ford is a fantastic partner and we're thrilled that its cars will be on display for a packed house and millions more to see on television across the world."
The "Need for Speed" Mustang was created solely for the movie and features a custom-designed wide body created specifically for this new role with unique 22-inch alloy wheels, capable of supporting 900 horsepower, and larger intakes to feed its supercharged V-8 engine. Also keeping the engine cool is the enlarged lower grille with corner air intakes to cool the front brakes.
Designers also worked on reducing aerodynamic drag by using low profile mirrors and extended rocker panels. The splitter was also redesigned to provide better handling at high speeds. The rear spoiler and diffuser were created to improve airflow, reducing drag and giving additional traction for high-speed acceleration.
The movie, starring Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots, Ramon Rodriguez, and Michael Keaton, will debut in theaters on March 14, 2014 while fans of the popular Electronic Arts video game series by the same name will be able to buy the latest version, "Need for Speed Rivals" later this month.
"The heritage of Mustang is unlike any other automobile in America," said Steve Ling, Ford car marketing manager. "With Mustang being a central character in this racing-oriented movie, it seemed only fitting to showcase the car here at Homestead and help serve as a great springboard to our various celebrations recognizing 50 years of Mustang in 2014."
This marks the 12th year Ford has served as title sponsor of Ford Championship Weekend.