How does a Ford race car go from concept to competition? In the case of the Fusion, it’s very similar to how the production Fusion transforms from computer data to your garage – except that takes around four years, whereas getting the Fusion race-ready for the 2013 NASCAR® Sprint Cup Series requires chopping that time in half.
For the first time in decades, Ford utilized its Design Center to build the stock car. Not a bad plan, since having the Design Center and Ford Racing working hand-in-hand resulted in Ford debuting its new model at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in January – before any other manufacturer! Learn more about Ford history in motorsports here.
The inclusion of the Design Center meant that the method Ford Racing used to construct new body styles, such as the Taurus in 1998 and the initial Fusion in 2006, had to be different. The process involved digital sculpting, milling of clay models, and wind tunnel testing.
After unveiling the 2013 NASCAR Fusion at Charlotte Motor Speedway in January, 2012, and highlighting the first version of its new car in a team paint scheme on the 2012 Memorial Day weekend, Ford Racing is using the upcoming race weekend in Michigan to unveil updates to the design of the Cup car which shows even more brand identity through enhanced design cues, including new grille work and hood lines, which you can see in this photo.
The latest enhancements have allowed Ford to more closely match the production Fusion while remaining within NASCAR guidelines as the manufacturers inch closer to submitting their final designs to NASCAR for the 2013 season.
“The street car being a front-wheel-drive, front-engine car and the race car being a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive car resulted in totally different proportions with a different length and width,” said Design Manager for Specialty Vehicles, Garen Nicoghosian, who headed up the project. “We took inspiration from how close the old cars were to the production variance and tried to achieve the feel of that and make sure that when the cars are parked next to each other they speak the same language. They’re not identical because they can’t be, but there’s no doubt that you’re looking at a more amped-up, more serious version of the new Fusion street car when you look at our race car.”