Ford's new Fiesta won’t be arriving in local showrooms until early next year, but the company is pulling out all the stops to promote the stylish compact with various motorsport and social marketing campaigns to build excitement. To further this, the Blue Oval recently announced a goal to get 100,000 people to test-drive the new Fiesta before the North American production version is released, and now the company has announced that its Rallycross racing version will tackle the arduous Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb on July 19.
Andreas Eriksson, 35, is a four-time Swedish rally champion, with multiple Rallycross victories, and Marcus Gr0nholm, 41, is one of World Rallying’s greatest drivers, with two world championships and 30 WRC victories on his resume.
Backing two separate cars will be Sweden’s Olsberg Motor Sport Evolution, headed by Andreas Eriksson. The two Fiestas will be driven by Eriksson and rally legend Marcus Gronholm in the Unlimited Class, and the duo are hoping to be the first team to break the 10-minute mark over the 12.4-mile, 156-turn pavement and gravel course.
Expected to cost less than $15,000 when it arrives early next year, the North American-spec Fiesta will differ slightly from its European counterpart. First and foremost will be the introduction of a sedan variant, although the hatchback will also be offered. Production will be handled at Ford's assembly plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico.
The Pike's Peak International Hill Climb event itself dates back to 1916, and is the second oldest motorsport event in America, taking its name from the famous mountain peak that towers above Colorado Springs in the Rocky Mountains. Ford has been involved with the event since the very first race in 1916, when four Ford-powered cars competed. In 1922, Ford scored its first victory when Noel Bullock raced a 50hp (37kW) Ford Special, nicknamed “Tin Lizzy”, to a surprise victory in the time of 19m 50.9s.