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Ford puts one leader over performance teams

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Ford puts one leader over performance teams

Scott Burgess / The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. will move all of its performance teams under one leader, working to create a universal feel for all of its performance vehicles, Ford said Monday.

The announcement came after Ford unveiled a new engine for the 2011 Ford Shelby GT500.

Working from Dearborn, Jost Capito, director of global performance vehicles and motor sports business development for Ford, will head Ford's special vehicle team in America and its RS team in Europe. The teams will work closer together to create a single set of performance criteria for all of Ford's high performance cars and trucks.

"There's going to be a lot of platinum fliers," Capito joked about how much time team members will spend flying back and forth. The groups have already started working to fine-tune many of the parameters used to evaluate a vehicle's handling and performance capabilities.

Whether a vehicle wears an SVT badge in America or the RS badge in Europe, the drivers should know they're in a Ford performance vehicle, said Derrick Kuzak, Ford's vice president and head of global product development.

"We want to better integrate our motor sports with our lineup," said Kuzak, adding that drivers will know that "what we race is what we sell."

While each group will specialize in vehicles from its region, such as the American SVT group building the F-150 Raptor SVT and the European RS team creating the Focus RS, both will work together to build new global performance standards. Additionally, this will allow vehicles to move from one region to another with only a little fine-tuning. (However, no one at Ford would confirm that a Fiesta RS or Focus RS will ever come to America.)

One thing the team pointed to as an example of the SVT work was the 2011 Ford Shelby GT500 -- the top-of-the-line, track-ready, 550-horsepower Mustang.

The new GT500 features an all-aluminum engine that was created through a new high-tech process of plasma transferred wire arc to apply a coating on internal surfaces, which allows Ford to build an engine without cast iron cylinder liners. This helps drop the weight of the engine by more than 100 pounds.

Adding power and losing weight will help the GT500 avoid a gas guzzler tax, Ford engineers said, though final EPA numbers were not available.

The GT500 will be available this spring.

From The Detroit News:


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