Ford Performance’s motorsports activities will be shifting hands later this month, when its engineering manager Mark Rushbrook takes the helm as the new Global Director of motorsports at the company, replacing Dave Pericak, who has been promoted to a major new role in product development
Sportscar365 caught up with Rushbrook at last weekend’s Six Hours of Shanghai to get his thoughts on the new role and the manufacturer’s future sports car racing involvement.
How does it feel to take the reigns of Ford’s global motorsport programs?
“I’ve been in this position for four years, from the engineering side, and Dave has been here for three years.
“Obviously it’s been great working for him and being part of the team and doing everything we’ve done, with NASCAR, improving our competitiveness there, with the GT program, the GT350R-C, the Mustang GT4, all of those programs.
“I’m definitely sorry to see Dave go, but looking forward to continuing everything we’ve built in the program and the momentum we’ve got going.”
What kind of knowledge, or new viewpoint, can you bring into company in this new role?
“We’ve worked fairly closely all along, between the engineering side, marketing and communications. Obviously with Dave looking over all of those, I’ve been involved.
“Part of what we have to do is take our message out to our fans, to the owners. We’ve been doing that all long. So we have to be very cognizant of what we do in engineering to be able to tell the story to our fans and customers.”
What are your thoughts on the Ford GT program heading into its third year in 2018?
“The program in total has been a success, especially last year with the win at Le Mans and all of the other wins we’ve had through the season. This year we’ve had some good wins and have continued building the program.
“We’re committed to doing 2018 and 2019 and going out and winning races and championships when we can.”
Ford decided not to utilize an ‘Evo’ kit for next year. Could it still be an option for the next homologation cycle in 2019?
“We’re always looking in whatever series we’re working in, whether it’s NASCAR or the GT, we’re always looking at what is the best move for us to be the most competitive.
“We definitely looked at some things that we could do for an evolution, and we’ll always be looking at that.”
Are you excited about the GTE platform in general, particularly with the arrival of some new machinery for the competition next year?
“We’re here to compete against the best, both in IMSA and WEC. We’re very happy to have more manufacturers come in. It creates more competition on track to push us harder.”