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  Home > Teams > Past WRC teams > Ford > Boreham
Boreham is situated alongside the A12, near Chelmsford in Essex. Ford Racing is based at Boreham airfield, about a mile from the village. The airfield was constructed by the Americans during 1943, as a base for Marauder bombers, and closed in 1945.

In 1949, a local car club commenced speed trials on the disused airfield. During 1950-1952, the venue became increasingly popular for motor racing, using the 3-mile long perimeter track. There were several high-profile race meetings during this period, with up to 50,000 spectators watching drivers such as Mike Hawthorn, Villoresi, Moss and Roy Salvadori competing. John Surtees made his solo motorcycle debut here, in 1951.

Racing at Boreham was curtailed by financial losses in 1952, and the airfield was bought by Ford Motor Company in 1955, for use as a test track. A number of test facilities were installed, including workshops, offices, special road surfaces, and a 1 in 3 test hill. The proving ground facilities were in continuous use, primarily for commercial vehicle testing, until 1987, when heavy truck development was taken over by Iveco.

In 1963, Ford Motor Company invested a further £60,000 at Boreham to build a workshop for the Competitions department, which had been based at the Lincoln cars depot in Brentford, Middlesex. Ford vehicles were already competing successfully on a wide range of events, including a win on the 1958 Monte Carlo rally, and this was an opportunity to expand into a full 'works team' operation.

Development initially concentrated on the Ford Cortina, with wins including the East Africa Safari in 1964, and the Acropolis rally in 1966. In 1967, the new Ford Escort was perceived to be smaller and lighter, if the Lotus Cortina engine could be installed. A weekend's work at Boreham proved that it could, and the Escort Twin-cam was born. Over the next ten years the Escort became a rally legend, achieving an outstanding win in the 1970 World Cup Rally between London and Mexico, and culminating with the World Championship in 1979.

During the 1980's, Ford Motorsport concentrated on development, including the Fiesta XR2 and Escort Turbo prototypes, the still-born Escort 1700T, and the stunning RS200 - which featured a mid-engine and four wheel drive. In 1986, the FIA regulations decreed a return to production based rally cars, and so Boreham developed the Sierra RS Cosworth into a rally car. In 1988, Didier Auriol drove a Sierra to victory in Corsica, and many current champions, such as Colin McCrae and Carlos Sainz, started their careers in similar cars.

In 1990, Boreham engineers commenced development of the Ford Escort RS Cosworth, incorporating the well-proven Sierra mechanical parts into the lighter, more agile Escort shell. A prototype won its debut rally in Spain, and this was followed by a series of World Championship victories between 1993 and 1997, backed up by numerous National successes.

In 1998, the WRC programme was transferred to M Sport in Cumbria, and Boreham turned their attention to creating a 'Ladder of opportunity' for potential stars of the future. The Ford Ka has become very successful as an entry-level rally car, with championships in six European countries. The 1400cc Puma is an ideal step-up from the Ka, with 150 BHP in rally trim. The Puma Super 1600 is competing in the new FIA championship for 1600cc front wheel drive cars (JWRC), which is widely regarded as the training ground for future champions.

The policy at Ford has always been to encourage private rally teams, by making works specification parts available to build or upgrade their cars. The success of this policy can be judged by the large numbers of Ford cars competing around the world. There is a small sales team based at Boreham, together with a parts distribution centre, offering competition engines, transmissions, suspension and body-shells for various models.

There have been many changes at Boreham over the years, but the enthusiasm and commitment to achieve success with Ford products in motor-sport remains constant.

Text by Ford Media. Ford Boreham was closed in 2003.

Ford Boreham - the famous home of Ford works rally team