It features a modified 2.0-liter Zetec engine and delivers an astounding 304 horsepower. It is designed to be the ultimate combination of high horsepower and superior handling in a small, front-wheel-drive car. It is Ford Racing Technology’s Focus FR200, and Livonia, Mich.-based McLaren Engines played an integral role in making it go “zoom.”

Ford Racing Technology unveiled the turbocharged Focus FR200 project car today during Innovations Day at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, Nev.

The Focus FR200 is the second in a series of performance parts project vehicles created by Ford Racing Technology to develop and market new lines of parts for the performance parts aftermarket. It follows the advanced, high- performance Mustang FR500, which made its debut at the SEMA Show in 1999. McLaren Engines — a business unit of McLaren Performance Technologies (Nasdaq: MCLN – news) — also supported Ford in the development and prototyping of the FR500.

“We are excited to be involved with Ford Racing Technology on the Focus FR200, which is a phenomenal vehicle,” said Wiley R. McCoy, president and chief operating officer of McLaren Performance Technologies. “We appreciate Ford Racing’s confidence in McLaren and look forward to continuing and expanding our valued relationship with Ford on projects of this type and other advanced concepts.”

“We want people to say this is the best high-horsepower, best-handling, front-wheel drive car that they’ve ever seen,” said Dan Davis, director, Ford Racing Technology. “Creating a new line of performance parts for this segment of the market is uncharted territory for us at Ford Racing, but it’s an area that we felt we needed to address since there certainly appears to be a growing market for these kinds of parts.”

McLaren Engines worked on the Focus FR200 at the company’s Livonia, Mich. facility. Future vehicles of this type will be developed at the new McLaren Vehicle Development Center, also located in Livonia. Expected to open by year’s end, the center will be dedicated to advanced concept vehicle development for Ford Racing Technology and other related Ford vehicle programs. It will encompass design, fabrication and vehicle assembly capabilities to build complete prototype and concept vehicles.

Ford Racing Technology developed the Focus FR200 due to the growing demand for aftermarket performance parts for sport compact cars.

Although the exterior of the car features some dramatic changes, the heart of this car lies in the Ford Racing-modified 2.0-liter Zetec engine, which delivers 304 horsepower @ 6750 rpm and 285 lb.-ft. torque at 3500 rpm — more than twice the horsepower and torque of the production Focus.

To handle that increased horsepower and torque on the road, Ford Racing widened the wheel track in front and back by four inches (the bodywork is widened by five inches front and back to cover the tires), and built a prototype bolt-on double A-arm front suspension, with prototype, three-way adjustable front and rear coil-over shocks.

The FR200 delivers all the power smoothly through a European production MTX75 transmission case with FRT prototype gears.

“Clearly, the horsepower numbers for our version of this car are extreme,” Davis said. “Going forward, our plan for the parts market would be to do something less extreme than this — perhaps in the 225 horsepower range. And we know that the chassis modifications are radical for many do-it-yourselfers, but we wanted to do something different to gauge the interest level in this kind of package.

“This, like the FR500 before it, is an on-going project; one that we see as a work in progress,” Davis added. “This has been uncharted territory for Ford Racing Technology in terms of these kinds of performance parts, but our engineers have jumped right in and I think the FR200 is a tribute to their hard work and vision.”

Livonia, Mich.-based McLaren Performance Technologies provides full- service design, development, fabrication, testing, validation and certification of automotive powertrains and related components, development and licensing of patented traction systems, as well as complete vehicle development and prototyping capabilities. The company’s 66,500-square-foot facilities house machining, fabricating and welding shops, as well as engine and vehicle build areas, to support its engineering design, development and testing services.

McLaren Performance Technologies, which serves the automotive, racing, aftermarket and marine industries, has four business units: McLaren Engines, McLaren Traction, McLaren Vehicle Development and McLaren Manufacturing. The company currently has approximately 100 employees who serve such automotive customers as Ford, General Motors, Delphi, New Venture Gear and Steyr Powertrain. The company’s 1999 sales were $4.86 million and sales for 2000 year-to-date, as of August 31, were $10.4 million.