Total Automotive Motorsport in Timaru, New Zealand are on track to make the world rally debut of the brand new model Ford Focus, only released in New Zealand about one month ago.
With the much appreciated support of Ford New Zealand the team have secured a brand new 2005 model Ford Focus, which is currently undergoing race preparation in their Timaru workshop.
Factory rally versions of this latest Ford Focus are also currently being built in England for the World Rally Championship and in Australia for the Australian Rally championship, but it seems that the Kiwi effort will be the first to be used in rally competition.
The first race for the team will be to complete construction and testing of the car prior to its debut at the 2005 Dunlop Targa Rally, which starts in less than two months. USA based Kiwi Steve Millen will drive the Focus with iconic Kiwi ‘Racing’ Ray Williams in the co-drivers seat. As the newest of the Ford Focus range has only just been released in New Zealand, the team is set for a real race against time to get the car finished and tested prior to the Targa. With this in mind a two year deal has been done that will hopefully see the car developed into an outright contender for the 2006 event.
As with the previous giant killers built by Total Automotive, being the Total Automotive (now Powerbuilt) twin turbo Supra powered Corolla that clinched the SI OSCA championship in recent years and its successor the similarly powered Signature Class/Castrol Corolla talking podium positions in the 2005 Endurance Series, the Focus will carry the similar tradition and will be powered by a BA Falcon XR6 Turbocharged engine. To achieve this, the car has been converted from front wheel drive to rear wheel drive, and the engine will be driven through a 6-speed gearbox and rear wheel drive differential.
The car has also been built with the 2006 Endurance Series in mind, where regular Total Automotive Motorsport driver Chris Dunn is hoping to team up with a well known overseas driver to contest both the North Island and South Island Endurance Series in 2006.
Main car designer & engineer Alan Dunn has run a car for Millen in the past 3 Targa New Zealand rallies, most recently in a Ford Falcon BA XR6 Turbo. Dunn has also been involved in many Endurance races including the Rolex 24hr at Daytona and a 3rd overall in the most recent Bathurst 24hr. This experience, combined with his prior involvement as a development engineer with Ford Racing Australia, means that the Focus should be competitive out of the box and once fully developed, an outright weapon.
Total Automotive Motorsport would particularly like to thank the Ford Motor Company of New Zealand, Dunlop New Zealand and Capital City Ford for their support and would welcome interest from any parties wishing to become involved with sponsorship opportunities with the car.
For sponsorship opportunities contact Conrad Healy on +64-27-221-2115
For further info contact Chris Dunn on +64-21-107-9293 or email firstname.lastname@example.org