New Global Ford Performance Director Dave Pericak said Sunday that the company is committed to increased success and performance across all of its racing platforms, including NASCAR.
Joined by Sprint Cup driver Brad Keselowski at Michigan International Speedway, Pericak discussed a number of things, including working to improve the performance of Roush Fenway Racing, the evolution of Ford Racing into Ford Performance and the company’s promising new GT entry that will debut at Daytona next February.
Here are some excerpts of Pericak’s comments:
Working to improve performance of Roush Fenway Racing: “We are with Jack (Roush) all the time, and we spend a lot of time with Jack’s team and we are making all the right, I believe, changes within not only the Roush Fenway organization but as we apply our technical resources within Ford Performance, assisting Jack and his team to get to a better place. We have seen progress. We are excited about what we have seen so far. Obviously we need to see more, but we are confident that Jack is dedicated with his team to do that. We are partners in this and our goal is to make them perform better and we are expecting a better performance today.”
What in particular are you working on with RFR? “We are working with them on all aspects of the race car and not only the car but driver training or just everything that is involved in getting a race car to perform on the track. It is all aspects. There is nothing that is not on the table. Jack has welcomed all of the support and help and we have seen some significant improvement as a result of that. We are hoping for a good outing today from the Roush Fenway team.”
Is the change more of a hands-on approach than it was: “It is very much a hands-on approach and Brad can attest to that. We are absolutely 100 percent hands on with the teams and side-by-side. I have engineers that work inside the Penske and Roush buildings much of the time and we are absolutely more hands on that we have ever been before.”
Are you satisfied with the current roster of Ford teams, and have you talked to Furniture Row Racing (about moving from Chevrolet to Ford): “What I would say is that we are very happy with the partners we have today, and we have an approach where we are working to get everybody’s performance up and we are committed to doing that. We believe in long-term partners and believe we have the right people that we are with currently.”
Renaming Ford Racing to Ford Performance: “We did a reorganization called Ford Performance and I am the director of Ford Performance. Whether it is performance vehicles inside our company or whether it is racing, it is all underneath me. So you will see me at the race tracks more often. I have been here already quite a bit and engaging with the teams. More importantly, what you will see and why Ford Performance is so important … we are taking all our resources inside of Ford and we are reorganizing them in a way we can be more efficient and effective to help our teams perform better on the track. I think Brad has seen the results of us doing this Ford Performance, stepping up our technical supports and then applying it to the team.”
How will the name change help Ford teams in NASCAR: “The big shift within our company is not just the name change but functionally how we operate. We were supporting our race team’s 100 percent nearly out of the marketing group in the company and now that has shifted to our product development team. Our product development team has much more resources available, whether it is aerodynamics or engines or no matter what it is. Realigning everything under product development within Ford actually adds to a much larger team than what we had before in order to support the actual race teams themselves. It really is a major shift inside our company on how we are approaching racing. … We don’t just go racing, we race to perform. We are going to go out on the track and perform and test new technologies and innovations and bring that into the rest of the product line in the company. From a resource perspective and how we support them better now than ever before. Also the core team that works underneath me now that is directly supporting the race teams went from about seven people two years ago to 21 and growing two years ago. We are putting more resources on board to better support our teams.”
Ford’s new GT sports car program: “Hopefully (they will be) some of the best race cars you have ever seen. We are really excited about returning to Le Mans and returning to sports car racing. The EcoBoost-powered sports car is going to be over 600 horsepower and will be state of the art in terms of aerodynamics, light-weighting and the powertrain itself. We are very excited. We are going to have one fantastic race car. Everybody keeps asking, ‘Are you guys going to go win?’ and I say that we don’t race to lose. All I can tell you is that when we show up that day we are going to have one heck of a race car and I hope everyone else is ready.”