Feast your eyes on the Ford Focus GTCV8, the first purpose-built race car to join the just-announced Global Touring Car Series (GTC). It has a 500 hp V8 engine under the hood, powering the rear wheels through a sequential-shift transmission. Looks and sounds brilliant, doesn’t it?

Except that it isn’t actually a Ford Focus at all. It’s merely a silhouette racer, made to look like the production car but without any mechanical links to it. Still, could have fooled us all.

See, the GTC series runs a single-spec formula, with all entrants running a common chassis, engine, gearbox and such. The regulated spaceframe, however, has been designed to fit various bodyshells to resemble everyday sedans or hatchbacks. It’s a way to make the racing series more marketable, thus attracting more manufacturers.

The GTC series will be launched in South Africa in the third quarter of 2014, with more national franchises set to be announced soon. Each circuit racing series will be separately run, which will ultimately lead to a World Cup event in the future.