2012 is shaping up to be a spectacular year for the Ford Racing program. To start with, the 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca Edition is receiving accolades left and right for its outstanding performance and handling. Ford also revealed the new look for its 2013 Fusion NASCAR Sprint Car competitor. And of course there is the $98,995 Focus ST-R, a race-prepped compact car that has even Tanner Foust fawning over it.

We’ve all been waiting to hear when the Focus ST-R would be making its debut, and now we have an answer. According to Carscoop, the Focus ST-R will make its racing debut this Friday at the Grand Am 200 at Daytona Raceway.

For the uninitiated the Focus ST-R ain’t your momma’s Focus. Boasting the same 247 horsepower 2.0 liter EcoBoost engine as the street-legal Focus ST, the similarities end there. The Focus ST-R has a racing suspension, roll cage, onboard diagnostic equipment, racing seats, and everything else you’d need to go from the showroom to the race track.

The Focus ST-R will compete in the Grand Am Series’ Continental Tire Sport Car Challenge ST Class, where it will compete against the likes of Mini Coopers, Mazda MX-5’s, and BMW Z4’s among others. It won’t be easy, but we have a lot of faith in Ford’s new hot hatchback, and we have a whole new reason to tune into the Grand Am Series this weekend.