Last year Ford brought100 European-spec Fiestas to the U.S. to be used a part of an introductory program called the Fiesta Movement. The cars were given to ?agents? to drive in a variety of introductory programs and competitions.? The program received a phenomenal response and tons of publicity for the new Ford small car for a year before it arrived at dealers.
Now that that program has ended, Ford is giving 43 of the Fiestas a second life as Ford Racing teams up with Team O?Neil Rally School to create the Ford Racing Fiesta Rally Experience in Dalton, N.H.
The Ford Racing Fiesta Rally Experience is the only rally experience offered by a manufacturer in North America and will provide aspiring rally drivers with the opportunity to learn how to drive on a rally course in a Fiesta. The creation of the Ford Racing Fiesta Rally Experience is the latest addition to Ford?s racing experiences with the first being Ford Racing School of High Performance Driving at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.
?Ford Racing Fiesta Rally Experience will provide consumers with the opportunity to experience Fiesta in a true rally environment,? said John Felice, general manager, Ford and Lincoln Marketing. ?From learning how to drive high-performance Mustangs on the track at Miller Motorsports to driving a Fiesta on a rally road course at Team O?Neil, these driving schools allow consumers to experience our products in unique and different environments.?
For the Fiesta rally experience, Team O?Neil will modify each production front-wheel-drive Fiesta with a roll bar, rally suspension and off-road tires, and will then feature Fiesta in its Ford Racing Fiesta Rally Experience.
?The opportunity to find a second life for nearly half of the cars from the Fiesta Movement is a way to keep alive the legacy these cars have brought to the Fiesta launch in North America,? said Jamie Allison, director, Ford North America Motorsports. ?Fiesta?s nimble driving dynamics and precise handling attributes?make it a perfect?fit to serve as a rally school car at Team ONeil.?
?Our philosophy at Team O?Neil is to teach drivers how to master front-wheel drive in order to keep speed in the corners, accelerate through the corners, and use the brake to make a turn,? said Tim O?Neil, five-time U.S. and North America rally racing champion. ?Fiesta is a strong, light, front-wheel-drive car. The addition of Ford Racing-developed performance parts including a rally suspension, underbody protection and roll bar gives us a great future with these cars.?
The cost per student for the one-day Ford Racing Fiesta Rally Experience is $495, which includes a short classroom session on vehicle dynamics, safety, balance and car control. Most of the day will be spent driving on either the skid pad or slalom course, practicing the techniques of car control rally driving on gravel conditions in a rally-prepared Ford Racing Fiesta.