Ford and Hoonigan Racing Division say their days competing in the World Rallycross Championship are over-or at least placed on an indefinite hiatus. Ford Performance and the driver many consider the lead hoonigan, Ken Block, made the news official today.
Both Ford and Block pointed to the series' uncertain future as WRX shifts its regulations and requirements. It would have required Ford to develop and build an all-new rally racer, which Ford said is not in the company's best interest at the moment.
Future powertrain requirements, in particular, led to the unfortunate decision, said Dave Pericak, Global Director of Ford Performance. Ford competed in FIA WRX Championship for two years with the Focus RS RX.
Pericak assured performance fans that Ford would not abandon its incredibly successful line of performance hatchbacks, clearly alluding to the range-topping Focus RS road car. "Rest assured, we remain absolutely committed to hot hatches and all things performance," he added.
Block echoed Ford's reasoning in his own statement. "Aspects of the sport are up in the air for the future, so putting a lot more money into developing a new race car to try to battle for the championship title just doesn't make sense right now," he said.
"It’s certainly disappointing, but that’s how the economics of motorsports go sometimes." Block also thanked Andreas Bakkerud and highlighted the skills that helped Ford bring home a championship title. Bakkerud will now be a free agent for the 2018 WRX season.
The decision will not otherwise affect Block's relationship with Ford. He will continue to represent Ford as a global brand ambassador and the automaker plans future Gymkhana videos and other digital content.
The announcement follows Ford's newly announced strategy under CEO Jim Hackett to define the automaker further as a mobility company. The newly minted CEO revealed his five-year plan for the automaker after a 100-day review of the company's global business. Notably, Ford will shift $7 billion of previously allocated funds for passenger cars to SUVs, trucks, and electric vehicles.