Australia’s DJR Team Penske is eager to bring the Ford Mustang body to the Supercars series, but is seeking some “support and backing” from Ford to make it possible, the team’s managing director Ryan Story said in an interview with Motorsport.com.
The iconic Australian series now has just two teams fielding Fords, DJR Team Penske and Prodrive Racing Australia, neither of which are receiving direct factory funding at this point.
The current Ford model, the Falcon FG X, is nearing the end of its marketing life in Australia, with a new model expected either next season or in 2019. The Ford Focus and Mondeo are possibilities, but according to the new Gen2 regulations to be introduced for Supercars in 2018, the two-door Mustang would also be eligible.
Rival team PRA is also considering the Mustang, as the team has business connections to the Tickford motorsport and tuning company in Australia, which produces a customized Mustang version, Motorsport.com quoted PRA boss Tim Edwards as saying.
DJR Team Penske’s Story said that shifting to the Mustang would be “fantastic for both the team and the category,” provided the project receives some factory support.
“I think it would be fantastic for the series,” Story told Motorsport.com.
“But something like that can’t happen without the support and backing from Ford, so I think there is a lot of water to go under that bridge before we see something like that transpire.
“But absolutely, it would be fantastic for both the team and category to be in that position.
“As it comes back to us, our intent and desire is to field the most competitive car that we can. We still believe that we have the ability to be competitive with the package that we currently run, and what we race next year still has a little asterisk next to it.
“You’ll see some of that unfold over the course of the next few months,” he said.
Both Edwards and Story indicated that the FG X might be fielded in 2018, meaning that the Mustang or any other Ford body wouldn’t see action until 2019.
“I think it’s just as likely we would run [the FG X]for another season,” Story said. “We have the capacity to do that. We’re committed to the Ford product, but again for us to make a change it requires the input and certainly the investment of others beyond us. So it’s not as simple as making a decision and going with it. If only it was that simple.”
He added, “We want to field the most competitive package we can, and we know that the guys and girls that come to race tracks and watch it on TV would love to see a car like that race.”
The two teams will field a total of six Falcon FG X cars for the 2017: Four from PRA driven by Mark Winterbottom, Cam Waters, Chaz Mostert, and Jason Bright; and two Shell-sponsored DJR Team Penske cars, with Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard behind the wheel.