By Jim K. September 2 2020
Ford has blurred the line between virtual and real with its unveiling of the Fordzilla P1. The famed American manufacturer will launch the first-ever vehicle designed collaboratively with gamers later in 2020 as Ford continues its expansion in the digital world. The Fordzilla P1 will make its way into a popular racing game in 2021 but will have a real-life scale model built in 2020 as Ford explores the parallels between digital and real.
Over 225,000 gamers had input in the design of the Fordzilla P1, with the final design winning out in a Twitter poll. Crucial elements of the car, such as the drivetrain, seating position, and cockpit style, were decided not by Ford but by gamers. The company then tasked their designers to interpret how to proceed with what had previously been codenamed ‘Project P1‘.
One key feature of the Fordzilla P1 is morphing technology. This innovation will allow the car to adapt to different circuits. On a tight and twisty track such as Monaco, the P1 can compress to be agile for the narrow streets and hairpin turns. While at Monza or Le Mans, the P1 can become a longtail racer allowing for high-speed stability as it hurtles down the long straights.
By listening to hundreds of thousands of gamers, the company has been able to have an ongoing case study while creating the best car possible for gamers. Ford appears to be keen to take their learnings from the digital world and apply them to the real one with their commitment to turning the Fordzilla P1 into a scale model in 2020. The team at Ford’s design studio in Cologne, Germany, is already transforming the design into reality.
The winning design was very popular with voters, taking nearly 84% of the final vote. Arturo Ariño, Ford’s exterior designer, was the mastermind behind the concept and had this to say:
“Project P1 took me to the beginning of it all. The reason why I became a car designer in the first place was to design something never seen before and something that pushes the boundaries. This vehicle will be visually stunning, and while it will push the gamer to the limits of focus and reflexes, it will also be hugely rewarding to drive.”
While the game that the Fordzilla P1 will feature in is still unknown, Ford is undoubtedly taking the gaming and esports world seriously. Over forty virtual racers represent Ford and their Team-Fordzilla race team following the launch of the esports arm in 2019. The program’s top drivers featured in the virtual Le Mans esports series and Team Fordzilla are amongst just eight teams invited to a new V 10-R League, which Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management is co-hosting.
Ford themselves are hosting their inaugural Fordzilla Cup competition in 2020, streaming to the popular Twitch service for fans to view. The winner of the cup will not only be crowned champion, but they will win a professional contract with Team Fordzilla too.