Members of Ford's esports team will collaborate to help design a virtual racecraft.
Last year, Ford took an interesting step into the world of video games when it launched Team Fordzilla - a simulator racing team with members scattered all across Europe. Esports - or electronic sports - are becoming increasingly popular around the globe as gaming and networking technology improve, and as more spectators learn of their tremendous entertainment value.
Now, Ford is designing a brand new race car, and its calling upon gamers everywhere for help - and in particular, members of Team Fordzilla. The new race car won't exist in the physical realm at all, nor will it be based on anything that's come before it, whether racecraft or road car.
Instead, the new race car will be designed and built from the ground-up in the world of virtual reality, drawing largely upon input from Team Fordzilla captains in Italy, Germany, France, Spain, and the UK. Some key decisions, like the car's engine and the shape of its cockpit, will be made with input from the broader gaming community through online polls.
The end game, Ford says, is to collaborate with the gaming community in a unique way, and to produce a design that exudes Ford's hallmark Human-Centric Design thinking.
"Coming up with a no-holds barred race car for the virtual world is when the gloves come off and the design team can really let their imaginations fly," says Ford Europe Director of Design Amko Leenarts. "The expertise of gamers is crucial to ensuring that this will be the best-looking car on the grid."
Team Fordzilla - P1, as the project is called, is a fascinating and novel approach to automotive design, and Ford could stand to learn myriad valuable lessons from it. And while the phrase "design by committee" has become a disparaging way of referring to projects with too many cooks in the kitchen, where there's no grand, unifying vision, a virtual race car has one narrow, well-defined purpose that everyone can agree on: to win.
Would we prefer a new Ford GT racing program to replace the one that Ford just sunset? Sure, but in lieu of that, we'll take Team Fordzilla - P1 instead.