Sponsorship

Ford ups the horsepower at the Kentucky Derby, becomes multi-year partner of Churchill Downs

The Ford F-Series will be on display during the Kentucky Derby.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Every running of the Kentucky Derby kicks off with the crowd together singing "My Old Kentucky Home". Traditionally, the sun shines bright in the land of Churchill Downs, which is also where Ford makes the Ford F-Series Super Duty, Ford Escape, and Ford Expedition.

Ford has announced a new multi-year partnership with Churchill Downs, unseating Ram as the official automotive company of the famed horse racing track.

"With Louisville Assembly Plant and Kentucky Truck Plant practically in the backyard of Churchill Downs, Ford's participation in this uniquely American tradition is long overdue," said Matt Van Dyke, Ford marketing director. "While our workhorse trucks naturally play a huge role supporting the many aspects of the equine and racing industries, our legendary sports car is named Mustang and our much-anticipated off-roading icon is Bronco. Ford products capture the freedom synonymous with the relationship between a winning horse and jockey."

The new 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty will serve as featured vehicle of the 146th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 2, 2020.

As official truck, non-luxury SUV, car and van of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby, Ford is hosting on-site activations throughout Derby Week, including special access for FordPass Rewards members plus celebrations for veterans and active duty military personnel.

Each Kentucky Oaks and Derby horse owner will also receive a Ford Explorer to use during the event.

In addition, Derby attendees can experience a wide variety of displays highlighting the Ford lineup, including the new 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty that recently began production at Kentucky Truck Plant and the 2020 Ford Escape, which is built at Louisville Assembly Plant.

"Our employees here in Louisville are proud to be building products that play an integral role in our customers' lives, and now for the great American tradition that is the Kentucky Derby," said Joe Bobnar, Ford director of manufacturing for Louisville Assembly Plant and Kentucky Truck Plant. "This partnership means something special to our thousands of dedicated employees, retirees and dealers in the Louisville community."

The company will also host a Ford Day during the 2020 racing season, granting Ford employees and their guests free admission to a race day at Churchill Downs.

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The new Z starts at under $40,000.

Nissan

The new Nissan Z is finally here, and the 400-horsepower sports car is hitting the market with a reasonable price. The car starts at just $39,990 before a $1,025 destination charge. That's significantly cheaper than the least expensive Toyota Supra for a car with impressive specs and great style.

2023 Nissan ZThe Z gets a 400-horsepower V6 from Infiniti.Nissan

The 2023 Z comes with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that makes 400 horsepower. It's paired with either a six-speed manual or nine-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. That's the enthusiast's dream setup, and it's one of few cars available in the U.S. with a manual gearbox. The body is stiffer and features more reinforcements from prior cars, and the steering system now features electric assistance instead of hydraulics. 18-inch wheels are standard and 19-inchers are available.

When it announced the car, Nissan made a point to talk about its retro-inspired styling and classic proportions. The coupe features a sweeping roofline, a distinct front fascia, and is unmistakeably a Z car, through and through. Inside, the car features a three anlog gauges for a classic look, 12.3-inch configurable digital gauge cluster and a 9-inch touchscreen display. The cabin looks upscale and tech-forward, with deep bucket seats.

2023 Nissan ZThe 2023 Z lands this summer. Nissan

Nissan says the new Z will go on sale in summer 2022. Pricing starts at $39,990 for the base Sport trim, $49,990 for the mid-range Performance trim, and $52,990 for the limited-edition range-topping Proto Spec trim.

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Lincoln will not make a performance variant to compete with Cadillac.

Lincoln

TheLincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade have been duking it out at the top of luxury SUV rankings for decades, but there’s one area of the Caddy’s development that Lincoln won’t touch. In a recent interview, a company executive told Ford Authority that it has no plans to create a performance variant of the Navigator to compete with the upcoming Escalade V from Cadillac.

2022 Lincoln NavigatorThe new Navigator features several upscale touches and excellent tech. Lincoln

That means the Navigator will stick with the powertrain it’s carried for years, which is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that makes 440 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a smooth ten-speed automatic and either rear- or four-wheel drive. While there’s more than enough power to get the hulking Lincoln moving, it’s not a powertrain that inspires excitement or engagement, and though beefy, it’s tuned much more for comfort and quietness than drama.

Though more than adequate, those specs are a far cry from the numbers we expect from the Escalade V. The full-size bruiser from Cadillac is expected to get a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, similar to the unit seen in the CT5-V Blackwing and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. We don’t know power numbers yet, but the engine should deliver horsepower and torque numbers in the high 600s.

Cadillac Escalade VThe Escalade V will be massively powerful. Cadillac

That Lincoln is taking a different approach isn’t surprising. The automaker has already announced its intention to go all-electric, so pouring more time and resources into creating a performance gas-powered SUV isn’t in line with its goals. Company executives have also expressed a desire to avoid imitating rivals, so the decision to leave a performance Navigator behind is not surprising.

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