Dave Pericak started at Ford as a manufacturing engineer. He worked in a parts plant, working on door panels.
Some 17 years later, in 2012, he became the chief engineer on the Mustang team, developing the car that’s out on the streets today:
Following that assignment, Pericak was made head of Ford Performance. Clearly, he knows more than a little about that subject. And Ford Performance is an increasingly important part of the automaker’s business. Not only are performance variants of the cars popular among the stalwarts, like the Shelby GT350R Mustang, but, Pericak explains, cars like the Fiesta ST and Focus ST (and presumably the forthcoming Focus RS) are attracting more young people into the Ford showroom, no doubt in part given that they’ve watched and rewatched the Ken Block Gymkhana Hoonigan videos on YouTube.
“Performance,” of course, has more than a little something to do with racing. And Ford Racing, this year, has been racking up the wins with alacrity. During Speedweek in Daytona last month, Ford vehicles took the trophies for the NASCAR Camping World Truck, NASCAR XFINITY and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
And in January, an EcoBoost-powered Riley took the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Jamie Allison is the head of Ford Racing. And he explains that what they’re doing week in, week out on the tracks for the various series that Ford supports is translating into developments and technologies applicable to production Fords.
While the notion that, say, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost that powered the racing prototype at Daytona has anything to do with a “regular” car seems far-fetched, Allison points out that that engine is 70% the same as the EcoBoost found under the hood of a Taurus.
Pericak and Allison are the guests on this edition of “Autoline After Hours.”
They talk performance cars, of course. They talk racing, of course. And importantly, they talk about how the Racing and Performance operations have now become integrated into the “One Ford” plan such that they aren’t outliers, but are actually integral within the Ford Product Development activities.
And they talk within 30 minutes, as they had to leave for an evening meeting back at Ford HQ.
In addition to which, John McElroy of “Autoline” and I discuss the recent J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study and other developments of the past week.
And you can see it all here: