It's no secret Ford wants to race its 2012 Focus in events around the world, but the automaker has taken a significant step towards realizing that dream at this year's Geneva Motor Show. The company is using the Swiss show to unwrap the new Focus Touring Car, which will soon compete in the 2011 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).
Ford announced last winter it was interested in using the new global 2012 Focus as platform for touring car races around the world, including the BTCC. The automaker's Focus Race Car Concept, shown at the 2010 Los Angeles auto show, suggested what an actual Focus racer could look like - and, perhaps not surprisingly, the finished product, developed in partnership with BTCC veterans Arena Motorsport, bears some resemblance to the previous show car.
Although the Focus Race Car concept borrowed heavily from the performance-tuned Focus ST, the Focus BTCC car appears to simply borrow its engine. Power is provided by the ST's 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4, which has been slightly modified to meet the FIA's S2000 class regulations. Further specifications have yet to be revealed, but the flared fenders, slammed ride height, and wild rear wing are immediately apparent to all bystanders.
The Focus shown here will be campaigned in this year's BTCC series by Team Aon, but Ford and Arena reportedly developed the car with global motorsport events in mind. The car reportedly has a roll cage built to meet FIA standards, and can be either fitted with the turbocharged 2.0-liter to meet S2000 specs, or a smaller normally aspirated 1.6-liter I-4 for other race series.
"There has been tremendous interest in the new Focus from the racing community, and it's the perfect fit for a global touring car," Jost Capito, Ford's director of global performance vehicles, said ina prepared statement. "This new BTCC Focus is the first result of a collaborative effort between Ford and race teams around the world that have already built and raced successful Focus race cars. The teamwork has resulted in a global technical platform for racing, using a common Focus that can be tailored for regional competition.
Team Aon plans on running its new Focus in all ten rounds of the 2011 BTCC, but we're more interested in Ford's aspirations for racing it around the world. A China Touring Car Championship has been suggested as another possible venue for the car, but we'd like to see it come stateside. Should the Focus make its way to SCCA events in North America? Send us your thoughts in the comments section below.