Ford focuses on racing performance

Dave Pericak is the new director of Global Ford Performance.
Dave Pericak is the new director of Global Ford Performance.

Some might say Dave Pericak has a lot of work ahead of him.

But for the new director of Global Ford Performance, challenges are a necessary and rewarding part of the job.

Pericak joined Ford in 1994, working at a parts plant, and has worked his way up through the manufacturer and was named chief engineer of the Ford Mustang in 2008, a position he held until his most recent promotion.

With a revamp of its organizational structure in place, Pericak said Ford is committed to improving performance across all of the racing platforms it is involved in, including NASCAR.

While Team Penske continues to enjoy success in NASCAR’s premier Sprint Cup Series, Roush Fenway Racing – once Ford’s flagship organization in NASCAR – has fallen on hard times.

At a recent NASCAR race, Pericak spoke on several topics, including his new role and Ford’s commitment to racing.

Q: Please explain your new role.

A: Whether it is performance vehicles inside our company or whether it is racing, it is all underneath me. So you will see me at the race tracks more often. I have been here already quite a bit and engaging with the teams. We are taking all our resources inside of Ford and we are reorganizing them in a way we can be more efficient and effective to help our teams perform better on the track.

Q: How are you assisting Roush Fenway Racing in improving its on-track performance?

A: We are working with them on all aspects of the race car and not only the car but driver training or just everything that is involved in getting a race car to perform on the track. It is all aspects. There is nothing that is not on the table. Jack (Roush, team co-owner) has welcomed all of the support and help and we have seen some significant improvement as a result of that.

Q: How is this restructuring going to help teams in NASCAR?

A.We were supporting our race teams 100 percent nearly out of the marketing group in the company and now that has shifted to our product development team. Our product development team has much more resources available, whether it is aerodynamics or engine or no matter what it is. Realigning everything under product development within Ford actually adds to a much larger team than what we had before in order to support the actual race teams themselves. It really is a major shift inside our company on how we are approaching racing.

We don’t just go racing, we race to perform. We are going to go out on the track and perform and test new technologies and innovations and bring that into the rest of the product line in the company. Also the core team that works underneath me now that is directly supporting the race teams went from about seven people two years ago to 21 and growing. We are putting more resources on board to better support our teams.

Q: Is Ford Performance satisfied with its current roster of teams in NASCAR?

A.What I would say is that we are very happy with the partners we have today and we have an approach where we are working to get everybody’s performance up and we are committed to doing that. We believe in long-term partners and believe we have the right people that we are with currently.

Utter: 704-358-5113;

Twitter: @jim_utter

Related stories from Charlotte Observer