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Ford on creating the physical P1 simracing car: "it didn't fit in the truck!"

Amko Leenarts discusses the "much bigger gaming strategy" at Ford.

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One of the highlights at Gamergy was the chance to sit behind the wheel of Ford's real Team Fordzilla P1 car, a life-sized simracing model designed after the virtual car the brand had introduced before. The spectacular, Batmobile-like GT sportscar acted as a physical cabin to then drive an HP-powered simulator (a work station PC plus the Reverb G2 VR headset), at the same time running Fordzilla's custom build of rFactor 2.

"The virtual car was actually too wide, so it could not fit in the truck!", laughs Ford of Europe Design Director Amko Leenarts when asked about the tweaks needed to make the physical car happen. "It was wider than the transportation truck, so we had to make it a bit less wide, because in the virtual world we could make it as wide as we wanted".

The cabin itself, the pedals or the steering wheel were also adjusted "but we were able to keep exactly the same design language", says Leenarts before explaining how the P1's morphing features work as moveable parts to improve aerodynamics.


The beautiful real model was clearly inspired by Forza Motorsport 6 coverstar, the 2017 Ford GT, which makes sense as "I was part of the design team in USA", as Leenarts recalls, and as it's still considered "the pinnacle of our lineup".

"We knew that being in Esports is actually almost more important than to be in real motorsport"

All this, together with the creation of the car itself, drives us back to Ford's roadmap in terms of gaming:

"We started Team Fordzilla now over three years ago, and we knew being in Esports is actually almost more important than to be in real motorsport. So we really wanted to do both, and now creating this kind of ultimate sports car for our Team Fordzilla team members has been the goal this time. We co-created it with the gaming community, for the gaming community".

In fact, the community decided on several design choices via surveys, including the type of the wheels and seats, and then the result was brought to a contest between Ford's different design centres.

So, what's next? As Team Fordzilla recently signed the rally driver Billy Cherokee, we wondered if designing a simracing rally car was the next step, looking at for example the Ford Ranger Raptor.

"I have to say we have a much bigger gaming strategy at Ford", concludes Leenarts, who points out that the P1 Supervan is already more suited for offroad. "So we just launched the Bronco in Forza Horizon 5, the F-150 and the [Mustang] Mach-E in Rocket League, so we're definitely being more and more present in various games".

By the way, the kid you see behind the P1's Fanatec Podium DD wheel in the video is none other than Abel Torres, the Spanish 10 year old simracing champion.

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