The Ford Performance-backed Hoonigan Racing team of Ken Block and Andreas Bakkerud will end its FIA World Rallycross Championship program at the end of the 2017 season, according to a statement released by Ford on Wednesday. The decision comes just two years after the introduction of the team's Focus RS RX race car at the beginning of 2016.
Why? Well, basically, the team didn't want to spend a bunch of cash developing a new car.
“Although we have thoroughly enjoyed competing in the exciting FIA World Rallycross Championship, it’s a natural time for us to take a break as the future of the series takes shape,” said Dave Pericak, Global Director of Ford Performance in the statement. “To continue in [the championship] would have required the development of a new race car, and with so much discussion happening around the future of rallycross from a powertrain package standpoint, it made sense for us to pause until it’s better defined," he added.
As for Ken Block's future, Ford says its relationship with the driver will stay the same as it always has, with him competing in various motorsport events and creating Gymkhana videos. Could this mean a full-time American Rally championship bid? We hope so.
“Both myself and Ford Performance have learned a lot from this program,” said Block. “While we both would like to continue with the effort, it simply doesn’t add up at this point."
"Aspects of the sport are up in the air for the future, so putting a lot more money into developing a new racecar to try to battle for the championship title just doesn't make sense right now," he added. "It’s certainly disappointing, but that’s how the economics of motorsports go sometimes.”
Bakkerud released a video on addressing the announcement, and thanking the team for the opportunity. He did not specify any future racing plans.
Interestingly, the statement also made it clear the RS RX race cars—one of which we took a ride in—will not be available for sale now that the program is done thanks to "pre-existing agreements with Ford Performance." Instead, they'll go on as display and demo cars.