GENEVA, March 9, 1999 - Since Ford Motor Company's acquisition last autumn of its longtime partner Cosworth Racing, performance enthusiasts have been awaiting the return of the Cosworth badge to a special Ford performance car. The Ford Cosworth Focus, a concept exploring that possibility, makes its European debut at the 1999 Geneva International Motor Show, having made its North American debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show in January.
The Ford Cosworth Focus Concept was inspired by the 1999 Ford Focus World Rally Car (WRC), the legendary successes of Cosworth Racing and the heritage of Ford's performance road cars bearing the Cosworth badge that have earned a special place in the hearts of European motoring enthusiasts.
The concept vehicle has been developed to show the potential for future performance versions of the all-new Ford Focus. Since its debut at Geneva in 1998, the Ford Focus range has been launched to worldwide critical acclaim - culminating in the "Car of The Year 1999" title in January.
"Ford Focus has already brought new levels of dynamics and refinement to the C Segment and was the natural candidate to explore Cosworth's continuing road car partnership with Ford," according to Al Kammerer, Ford Focus Vehicle Line Director.
"Ford has a great tradition of providing exciting performance versions of its latest cars," Kammerer said, "and this potential performance application for Ford Focus is a great way to welcome Cosworth Racing into the Ford family."
The Ford Cosworth Focus was created by engineers from Cosworth Racing, in partnership with Ford's Special Vehicle Engineering and Advanced Design centres. In this concept car, the team has developed the stiff, light body structure, outstanding handling, steering and stability of the Ford Focus to demonstrate the performance potential of Ford's all-new C Segment platform.
Ford Special Vehicle Engineering chief engineer John Coletti sees the Ford Cosworth Focus as a "no-compromise sporting saloon".
"With its multi-link independent rear suspension, the Ford Focus provides a sophisticated chassis on which to base such a high-performance car for the enthusiast," Coletti said.
The Ford Cosworth Focus is powered by a Cosworth-developed 2.0-litre turbo-charged and inter-cooled Zetec-E engine which produces more than 200 PS. A standard 5-speed MTX-75 transmission makes for smooth gear-changing and acceleration - but it benefits from the addition of a viscous-coupled, limited-slip differential.
The car features lowered suspension, variable-rate front and rear anti-roll bars, adjustable shock absorbers and larger 14-inch front and 12-inch rear disc brakes with 4-piston calipers. Ultra-low-profile Goodyear 235/40ZR18 Eagle GS tyres mounted on 18-inch OZ magnesium wheels reduce the weight of the car and add to its muscular stance.
Lower body panels and a new front bumper with integral fog lamps further distinguish the sporty exterior of the Ford Cosworth Focus, while the roof-mounted rear spoiler is designed to provide significant downforce at higher speeds.
The sporty theme continues inside the car: the distinctive Ford Focus interior is augmented by Recaro front seats, alloy pedals, steering wheel and gear lever knob, as well as a customised instrument panel.
For now, the Ford Cosworth Focus is a tantalising concept vehicle only. Cosworth Racing and its parent company are quick to point out that there are no immediate production plans for this vehicle, but Ford is not ruling out the possibility that a performance-oriented model could join the Ford Focus range sometime in the future.
The last vehicle in the line of Ford-Cosworth road cars was the Ford Escort Cosworth, which ceased production in 1996.
Ford And Cosworth: A Racing Partnership
- The Ford Cosworth Focus is the latest model to exemplify Ford's long association with Cosworth Racing, which first started more than three decades ago.
- Ford acquired British-based racing engine specialist Cosworth Racing last September, 33 years after first striking a deal for Cosworth to develop Ford's Formula One race engines.
- When the legendary Jim Clark won a debut victory for the Ford-Cosworth DFV-powered Lotus 49 at the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix, the seal was set on what was to become an historic partnership.
- Ford-Cosworth engines have powered their way to a record 174 Grand Prix victories, 12 Indianapolis 500 wins, and countless international and national races and rally titles.
- The Ford Cosworth Focus Concept - and indeed the new Ford Focus WRC car - may well have remained on the drawing board were it not for the unsurpassed, 30-year reputation of the all-conquering Ford Escort rally cars. Over this period, Ford Escort became the most successful rally car of all time with 46 world-class rally event victories. Although clearly leading the way in spirit to a new generation of C Segment performance vehicles, Ford Cosworth Focus Concept benefits from this long pedigree of competition success.
FORD COSWORTH FOCUS
UNIQUE TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
2.0L DOHC Ford Zetec-E
- Turbocharged/intercooled induction
- 200+ PS
- K&N engine air filter
- Custom-fabricated stainless steel exhaust headers and 2.5-inch exhaust pipe with low-restriction Borla muffler.
Transmission 5-speed MTX-75 manual
- Eibach suspension kit
- Koni adjustable rate shock absorbers
- Variable rate front and rear anti-roll bars with competition specification neoprene bushings
- Approximately 1.5 inches lower
- GKN viscous-drive limited slip differential
Larger Brembo four-piston brakes:
- 14-inch front
- 12-inch rear
Wheels 18-inch OZ magnesium Tyres Goodyear 235/40ZR18 Eagle GS
- Custom Recaro front bucket with unique style and materials
- Custom instrument cluster graphics
- Custom shift knob
- Custom steering wheel
- Alloy clutch, brake and accelerator pedals
- Unique exterior body panels from glass beltline
- Aerodynamic package, including front fascia with fog lamps, rear fascia with dual exhaust cutouts, side rocker cladding.
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