PHOENIX, Ariz. – At the SEMA Show in 2017, Ford announced it would return to NHRA Funny Car racing in 2018 and prepare a new Mustang body for competition for the 2019 season.
Fourteen months later, that new Mustang body is ready to make its debut in the hands of Bob Tasca III’s Motorcraft/Quick Lane NHRA Funny Car team as NHRA hosts its official pre-season test this week in Phoenix.
The 2019 Funny Car body is not only the first new body for a Nitro-powered car for Ford in a decade, but also the first Ford racecar to skip the full-size prototype phase of development. It’s the result of a process that has significant cost reduction implications for both road and race vehicle design.
Mark Rushbrook, Global Director, Ford Performance Motorsports
“When our new Mustang Funny Car hits the track in 2019, we fully expect it to validate the motorsport development tools we’ve worked hard to create and refine,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “When you’re discussing the realm of speeds exceeding 300 miles per hour, tolerances in aerodynamics become minuscule. Even the slightest change can have a massive effect. Working in such a focused space allows us to gain insight into aerodynamic improvements for both our racing and road cars.
“We have the utmost faith in our computational fluid dynamics software and its ability to overcome such small margins for error, which allowed us to create this new racecar without the need for full-scale prototypes.”
Tasca’s Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team, guided by returning crew chief Eric Lane and newly-named co-crew chief Mike Green, will put the car through its first NHRA-sanctioned test session before the approaching NHRA Winternationals in Pomona.
“I’ve never been more confident heading into a new season,” said Tasca. “Ford Performance has stepped it up big time with the new Mustang Funny Car body, and it will make our team even stronger in 2019. The level of competition in this class is incredible, but with the support of Ford, and perfect execution from my team, you’ll see us claiming victory before long. We have only one thing on our minds, and that’s putting our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Funny Car in the winner circle.”
Tim Wilkerson, who has operated a successful single-car privateer operation for many years, will also be running the new Mustang body for the 2019 season and echoes the excitement of longtime friend and rival Tasca.
“I’m proud to be part of the new Ford Performance program, beginning in 2019,” said Wilkerson. “We’ve been running a Ford body since 2009 and have earned 10 of our 20 wins with the Mustang – so I’m really excited about getting a chance to be more closely involved with Ford again and run the latest and greatest Mustang body. Our involvement with Ford Performance and the input of their engineers will allow us to have support similar to what a multi-car team has. That will definitely be an asset to our race program.”
The 2019 NHRA season begins with the Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. on February 7-10
Here is the full 2019 Schedule
2019 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES SCHEDULE
|NHRA Mello Yello Series Regular Season|
|Feb. 7-10||Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals||Pomona, Calif.|
|Feb. 22-24||NHRA Arizona Nationals||Phoenix|
|March 14-17||Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals||Gainesville, Fla.|
|April 5-7||DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals||Las Vegas|
|April 12-14||NHRA SpringNationals||Houston|
|April 26-28||NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals||Charlotte, N.C.|
|May 3-5||NHRA Southern Nationals||Atlanta|
|May 17-19||Virginia NHRA Nationals||Richmond, Va.|
|May 30-June 2||Route 66 NHRA Nationals||Chicago|
|June 7-9||Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals||Topeka, Kan.|
|June 14-16||NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals||Bristol, Tenn.|
|June 20-23||Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals||Norwalk, Ohio|
|July 5-7||NHRA New England Nationals||Epping, N.H.|
|July 19-21||Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals||Denver|
|July 26-28||NHRA Sonoma Nationals||Sonoma, Calif.|
|Aug. 2-4||NHRA Northwest Nationals||Seattle|
|Aug. 15-18||Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals||Brainerd, Minn.|
|Aug. 28-Sept. 2||Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals||Indianapolis|
|NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship|
|Sept. 12-15||Dodge NHRA Nationals||Reading, Pa.|
|Sept. 27-29||AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals||St. Louis|
|Oct. 11-13||NHRA Carolina Nationals||Charlotte|
|Oct. 17-20||AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals||Dallas|
|Oct. 31-Nov. 3||NHRA Nevada Nationals||Las Vegas|
|Nov. 14-17||Auto Club NHRA Finals||Pomona, Calif.|