Evan J. Smith
Freelancer
August 18, 2016
Photos By: Ford Motor Company

Imagine being trackside for one of the greatest racing spectacles on the planet, the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France. Imagine standing in the pits of Ford’s GT race team, along side crew members and drivers, right in the heart of the action. Well, with the new Virtual Reality App, Ford gives you the opportunity to have a 360-degree view of the intense competition from pit lane, in-car action and all around the energetic environment that is Le Mans—however, you’re enjoying the action from your favorite chair, in the comfort of your own home. And Ford is planning to bring you more action from more events.

“We are very excited about this opportunity to provide truly immersive experiences that showcase the best of Ford Motor Company,” says Lisa Schoder, Ford digital marketing manager. “Our virtual reality platform allows us to tell dramatic, impactful stories, to show a surprising side of Ford.”

With the modern technology of 360-degree camera, Ford’s virtual reality app for iOS and Android users in the United States, Ford’s new virtual reality app will offer a new level of entertainment. “It delivers a powerful storytelling platform for consumers and fans to experience Ford innovations like never before,” added Schoder.

The app launched with the Ford GT race car, as it conquered the field at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, amazingly, 50 years after the Ford GT-50 won at Le Mans. “Just as Ford GT goes beyond the traditional at Ford, our entry into virtual reality content creation demonstrates how our passion for innovation permeates every piece of our business and offers a new touch point for tech-savvy consumers to connect with our brand,” says Schoder.

Making this a reality (pun intended), Ford teamed with Tool of North America, a leader in virtual reality and 360-degree content and mobile app creation. According to Ford, Tool has won numerous awards for innovation in storytelling, including Emmys, The One Show, South by Southwest, AICP and the Cannes Lions Palme d’Or.

“As an auto and racing enthusiast, I was inspired by the opportunity and the challenge of helping the iconic Ford brand make its virtual reality debut,” says Erich Joiner, director and founder, Tool of North America. “For the innovative Ford GT, I wanted to create something that gives people an exciting virtual reality experience beyond the traditional. I wanted to use the immersive technology not only to transport them to a new place, but to take them where only a special few from the Ford racing team typically go – inside the famed track at Le Mans.”

And it’s free! Fans can download the FordVR app and you can use a virtual reality headset, to enhance the experience, buy you can simply watch on your phone to enjoy the action. So what’s next? Fans can expect a wild new experience featuring Hoonigan Racing’s Ken Block and Ford Focus RS RX. This is set to debut in September. Users with their push notifications turned on will get the update when new content goes live.

According to Ford, the VR app is about more then just Ford’s vehicles. “On top of sharing virtual reality stories about our innovative products, we are also looking to bring mobility issues to the forefront,” says Schoder. “As we expand our business to be both an auto and a mobility company, we are pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility.”