Jeff Lacina
November 1, 2007
Photos By: Mike Pakoskey, Ron Blevins
Right next to the SVT collection, Shelby Autos had an equally impressive line display, including the prototypes of the Shelby GT convertible, the GT500 Super Snake, and the GT500KR.

Over the four days, more than 300 drivers took to the track, with about 2,500 spectators checking out the action. Saturday night's SAAC banquet seated more than 650 folks, while Sunday PM's SVTOA banquet seated in excess of 250 hard-core enthusiasts. It was at the Sunday night event that those attending were introduced to the all-new Ford Performance Group.

John Clor, Ford Performance Group com-munications manager, explained it to the group as an all-new initiative headed up by FRPP and supported by Ford Division that will strive to "put a face and a place" on Ford Motor Company's connection to the enthusiast club and perfor-mance aftermarket business. He also explained that this new FPG program is centered on a Web-based portal that manages the relationship between Ford and its past, present, and future performance customers.

Using this umbrella approach, FPG will bring unique resources to bear on communicating with Ford enthusiast vehicle clubs and promoting the lifestyle they represent. Clor also explained that FPG will ultimately enjoy a variety of benefits beyond a true connection with Ford and the establishment of a Web-based information clearinghouse-the largest of which is access to, and discounts through, the Ford Performance Info Center.

Beyond providing member referrals and club event information, the Ford Performance Info Center will handle questions on all Ford and SVT performance vehicles and provide technical assistance via the Ford Racing Tech Line. What's more, members of clubs who are part of FPG will qualify for a discount on purchases of selected Ford enthusiast merchandise.

Miller Motorsports Park is the new home of the Ford Racing Performance Driving School. The official school cars are these nicely tweaked Mustang GTs, complete with Ford Racing Performance Parts' Power Pack, Handling Pack, and rollbar. Even better, several participants ponied-up and rented these cars from the Miller folks for the weekend.

Sunday night's program was capped off with a "town hall" discussion of the current state of performance affairs at Ford. The panel consisted of Jamie Allison, Manager, Ford Racing Performance Parts; Jamal Hameedi, SVT Engineering, Chief Nameplate Engineer; Kerry Baldori, SVT Engineering, Chief Vehicle Engineer; Mark Wilson, Vehicle Personalization, Vehicle Program Manager; Jayson Demchak, Ford Performance Group/Club Liaison; with Clor serving as the moderator. This group fielded questions well past 11 p.m. and was even on hand at the track on Monday to field more questions and, of course, enjoy some high-performance driving of their own.

SAAC and SVTOA event sponsors include FRPP, Griggs Racing, Steeda Autosports, Dynatek, MRT Racing, Shelby Automobiles, Heacock Insurance, Bassani, Borla, Mustangs Unlimited, JBA Racing & Headers, RM Auctions, Cobra Automotive, Branda Performance, Orlando Mustang, Kirkam Motors, Blocker's Harley-Davidson, and Colin's Classic Automobiles.

Want to get in on all this Ford fun next year? Mark your calendar now, as club officers announced that plans are underway to hold the '08 joint SAAC and SVTOA event around the July 4 holiday at under-construction New Jersey Motorsports Park and Thunderbolt Raceway near Millville, New Jersey. With the first event under their belts, both clubs will be working hard to make the next one even better.