Sponsorship: Ford Closes The Door On Open Wheel Racing - Event Marketer

Sponsorship: Ford Closes The Door On Open Wheel Racing

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After learning that the biggest customer-facing benefit of its sponsorship is being phased out by the property Ford has terminated its sponsorship of Champ Car World Series racing effective immediately ending the company’s 15-year affiliation with open wheel racing as a sponsor and manufacturing partner.
In addition to providing engines to the series Ford leveraged the tie to get customers in urban markets into Ford vehicles for a run around the Champ Car courses. This year Champ Car was planning to curtail or significantly reduce the number of test drives which Ford felt further eroded the value of its deal.
“We judge every series that we compete in on its own merits and Champ Car was simply not giving us the value we needed to justify our continued participation ” Dan Davis Ford Racing Technology’s director told Buzz. “The… pace car program was a key element of our activation strategy because it allowed us to showcase our vehicles on the track to thousands of potential customers during race weekends. Unfortunately Champ Car elected to terminate that program which severely limited our ability to leverage our investment in the series.” (The property told Buzz that the test drive element was to be scaled back but not discontinued.)
In 2003 Chrysler General Motors and Toyota started pulling their manufacturing support out of the series leaving Ford as the sole engine supplier—meaning the automaker was no longer able to use the property to measure its performance against other manufacturers’.
The announcement came just days before Ford posted a record $12.7 billion loss for 2006. Ford still is active as a sponsor in three NASCAR series—Nextel Cup Busch and Craftsman—and in the NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series. The company ended its ties to Formula One racing two years ago.


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