Ford unveils virtual P1 concept ahead of video game debut

Ford’s esports outfit, Team Fordzilla, has unveiled the P1 concept as a virtual racer designed in partnership with gamers.

Due to be added as a playable car in an as-yet-unspecified video game next year, the P1’s final design – penned by Ford designer Arturo Ariño – was chosen via a public poll on Twitter, with nearly 225,000 users voting.

Gamers continued to contribute to the design process, with Fordzilla inviting their opinions on elements including the seating position, cockpit style and drivetrain – although technical details have yet to be confirmed. 

Ariño is said to have been inspired by the Ford GT supercar when creating the P1, with its low-slung, heavily angled form bearing a similarity to top-rung prototype GT cars. 

Although Ford has yet to reveal any performance details, the design suggests that maximum downforce and aerodynamic efficiency were the main priorities for the design team.

Sitting close to the ground, the P1 features a prominent carbonfibre front lip that channels air through gaping air dams at the side of the car, much like its real-life GT inspiration. Covered rear wheels, a sizeable rear diffuser and sharp spoiler likely enhance downforce.  

The P1 also uses what Ford calls “morphing technology” to offer “the stability of a long-tail racer on the high-speed straights of Le Mans or a shorter body for tighter circuits, like Monaco”. 

The interior has yet to be shown, but a preview shot suggests it will be a single-seater, with the driver situated centrally, like the McLaren Speedtail. 

Speaking at the concept’s unveiling, incoming Ford CEO Jim Farley – a known motorsport enthusiast – said: “This is an example of us getting people excited about Ford as a performance brand. We continue to invest in our performance products, and that needs to extend into the virtual world.

“I don’t think there’s a bigger influence than the gaming experience – and the gaming community – on vehicle design and execution.”

While there’s no indication that Ford will bring elements of the P1 to its real race cars, a full-scale model of the concept is currently being built at Ford’s European design studio in Cologne, Germany, and will make its public debut later this year.