In 1970, a Ford Escort won a 16,000 race from Wembley football stadium, the venue for England’s 1966 World Cup triumph, to Mexico City, where the subsequent tournament was taking place.
Ford Escorts finished 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 8th place in the exhausting race, and Ford will now showcase some of its sportier models, including the victorious escort, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed to celebrate the triumph.
Chief among the cars will be the new Ford Focus RS500. The limited edition (only 500 were made) hot-hatch was an instant success when it was released last month, selling out before many dealers could even confirm its price.
The 350PS high-performance Focus RS500, decked out in motorsport-inspired touches such as a larger exhaust, twin blade rear spoiler and front wheel drive.
The popularity of the model inspired an RS pack for Ford Focus drivers to increase performance by an extra 45PS. The MP350 upgrade was introduced after Ford estimated it could have sold five times as many RS500s as it did.
The RS badge, taken from Ford’s successful Rally Sport division, is a nod to the manufacturer becoming the most successful in the history of FIA World Rally Championship after its 75th win this year.
Speaking about Ford Rally Sport badged models, Gerard Quinn, Ford’s motorsport manager, said: "It is appropriate that the lessons learnt have helped to create a new icon for the road in the shape of the Focus RS500.”
Although not as long as the World Cup-themed race, the Ford Focus RS500 and the Ford Escort will both take part in the famous 1.6-mile Goodwood hill climb from 2-4 July 2010.