Ford Fiesta ST confirmed for New Zealand

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"We've been working with the teams to ensure they have the best technical support to make Mustang a victor", said Ford Australia boss Graeme Whickman at a launch event for the Ford Performance brand in Melbourne.

They are working closely with Ford Performance to develop the Supercars-spec Mustang, which will run a 5.0-liter V-8 borrowed from the Falcon-based cars. The manufacturer will work with DJR Team Penske and Tickford Racing, combining the technical knowledge and expertise of Ford Performance with the experience and skill set of the teams.

That means Australians will continue to be denied access to Ford Performance-developed Mustang models like the GT350R and upcoming Shelby GT500.

Ford has confirmed the new generation Fiesta ST hot hatch is on the way in 2019.

In the lead up to Mustang Day, Ford asked fans in the Middle East to post pictures of their Mustangs to Instagram with the hashtag #Mustang54, with those images accumulated and compiled to create a mosaic - a first-of-its-kind in the region.

Talks to bring Ford back into the Supercars fold started late previous year. Demand remains particularly strong in China, where Mustang was the best-selling sports coupe previous year based on 7 125 registrations.

"The Mustang nameplate is one the of the most legendary in the world and we are proud to have it lining up on our grid in 2019", said Supercars CEO Sean Seamer. Ford also noted that the Mustang is 10 percent more popular with women over the last five years, so it's gaining ground all over the place.

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"We're combining America's favorite sports auto with America's top stock vehicle racing series", said Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance Motorsports, in a statement.

Dick Johnson, co-owner of DJR Team Penske, added, "Throughout the entire history of this team, we've never run anything but a Ford, and this announcement today is fantastic".

"We did look at other vehicles when we first thought about this, well before we even engaged with the teams or the series, but the Mustang is the right fit and its credentials in terms of the V8 are very, very strong".

While Australian touring cars may seem a world away from our BTCC, perhaps the best news to take from this is a sustained commitment from Ford to motorsport.

The move comes as part of the company's announcement that it will roll out the Ford Performance brand in Australia, the company once again embracing its heritage as a performance auto brand.

"The fact that we will be able to build and race a Mustang in the 2019 Supercars Championship is music to my ears".

Several of Ford's Supercars drivers, including Winterbottom and Scott McLaughlin, couldn't hide their excitement at the news.