Back in March, FoMoCo announced that its virtual racing outfit, Team Fordzilla, would be collaborating with gamers to design a new racer called the P1. The catch was, this race car wasn’t just going to be some video game fantasy – the automaker was also going to build a real-life example. The concept was revealed back in August, and now the real-deal Team Fordzilla P1 racer has officially arrived.
While seeing real cars transferred to computer games is commonplace, this is the first time an automotive manufacturer has ever brought a gamer-collaborated virtual car to life – yet to be featured in a game – with a physical model.
The journey of the Team Fordzilla P1 race car started in March this year when gamers were asked to vote on the package and features of the car on Twitter, including seating configuration, engine position, and cockpit definition. Nearly a quarter of a million fan votes were submitted throughout the polling process.
The Team Fordzilla P1 racer features an exterior designed by Arturo Ariño and an interior that was the vision of Robert Engelmann, both Ford designers.
The P1 is built around a monocoque structure partially covered by a large, hyper-transparent jet fighter-style canopy, protecting the driver and co-driver. The transparent canopy not only blurs the boundaries between the exterior and the interior, but it also emphasizes the race car’s unique F1-like driving position.
The exterior of the P1 combines a sleek GT-like front end with sculpted front fenders and bodyside panels, with twisting and floating buttresses visually connecting the cockpit with the rear wheels. The rear end is completely exposed and celebrates the aerodynamics and racing circuits rawness.
LED notification units line the cockpit, keeping the driver and co-driver up-to-date on the track status in their peripheral view. In addition, an integrated screen on the steering wheel enables live data exchange with the team at the pit wall. The whole interior is designed to help the driver minimize any sort of distractions during the race.
The Team Fordzilla P1 is Ford’s first-ever car built digitally without any face-to-face interaction throughout the process. Due to the current pandemic, it was designed by a team who had never met, working remotely, spread across five different countries, and built in just seven weeks – less than half of the time it would normally take.
Co-created by gamers for gamers, the hypercar features a few special touches that speak to the sim-racing community. On the floor in front of the co-pilot’s seat there is an AFK (Away From Keyboard) message. A #levelup graphic acknowledges that gamers and racing drivers aim to better themselves each time they play or race, while a #liftoff graphic is a nod to the lifting off of this race car from a virtual world and transitioning it to the real one. Finally, on the front of the car by the lower spoiler, there’s the most important message – a GLHF (Good luck have fun) reminder.