Previously announced, Ford is taking on the nontraditional forms of motorsport – drifting, rallycross, stage rally and off-road truck racing that have captured the fascination of many throughout the world. The Octane Academy is a program to bring action motorsports and enthusiasts together with the leading names in each category. Here, we take a moment to learn more about these professors of action sport.
Anyone can apply to be selected for one of four boot camps that will be run, starting in November. Each four-day session will unite ultimate fans with their favorite action sports driver and deliver a unique opportunity to get behind the wheel and experience the extreme excitement of performance driving.
Each camp will be run by one of the top drivers in their field. The November session is all about off-road truck competition with both the program and the course challenges designed by Brian Deegan. Already an icon in freestyle motocross competition by the age of 18, Deegan continued his meteoric rise by taking the Pro Lite championship in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, as well as finishing fourth at the first X Games. He now holds 14 X Games medals.
“I’m a Ford guy – always have been – and I’m really excited about working together. In order to be successful as a racer, I need to be with the best,” Deegan said. “When you think of racing, especially off-road truck, Ford has dominated, and there is nothing I’d rather be behind the wheel of.”
Deegan’s November program will combine the best of of two truck programs (Pro Lite Unlimited – Ranger and Pro 2 Unlimited – Raptor) and his X Games/Global RallyCross Championship program in the Fiesta.
Ken Block burst onto the rally scene in 2005, already having become a well-known name in the worlds of autocross and skateboarding. Popularly known for his Gymkhana videos, in which he drives a Ford Fiesta, he also stood out in rally competition with his audacious driving style.
Block’s boot camp is likely to combine elements from his experiences in World Rally Championship, RallyCar, Gymkhana World Tour and X Games. The Ford Fiesta is an ideal platform for this kind of competition and learning.
A three-time gold medalist at X Games, as well as champion drifter and rally driver, Tanner Foust has also carved out a successful television broadcast career on both SPEED and The History Channel. Possibly the best rallycross driver in the world, he currently dominates the Global Rallycorss series and the European RallyCross Championship.
Foust is also the defending X Games champion. “RallyCross and X Games are a great showcase of the performance capabilities of these platforms. For Ford this is nothing new, as they have been at the top of the racing world in compact cars since the early ’70s,” Foust said.
Participants in Foust’s boot camp are unlikely to see a lot of pavement in their program, but the amount of air time could be impressive, and we’re not talking about television.
Perceptions of drifting have changed a lot since the sport first crossed the ocean to American shores. Once dominated by sport compact cars, Vaughan Gittin Jr. taught himself the needed skills and set about to dominate this most nontraditional form of motorsport.
That he did, using the V8 power of the contemporary Ford Mustang and support from other sponsors, such as Falken Tire. “I’ve been building a relationship with Ford since 2007. What I didn’t realize was that we were laying the foundation for this action motorsports movement within Ford Racing,” said Gittin Jr.
The reigning Formula Drift champion will design an Octane Academy boot camp based on his unique skills and experience in motorsports. You can bet that those selected to participate will be spending a lot of time sideways in a Mustang. After all, as Gittin Jr. says, “I have chosen the Ford Mustang because it gives me a distinct advantage out on the track.”
Check out the video below and see what else each of these champions has to say about the Octane Academy upcoming events. Then, check out the Academy web site to find out how to apply.