2010 Paris Motor Show: 2011 Ford Fiesta WRC is ready to face the competition

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 30, 2010

At the 2010 Paris Auto Show, be prepared to see a bunch of 2011 World Rally Championship racers. Aside from the Citroen DS3 WRC and the MINI Countryman WRC, Ford has its Fiesta RS WRC on display. It features a turbocharged 1.6 liter Ecoboost engine, which is a product of the collaboration between Ford, M-Sport and French tuner Pipo Moteur. Ford has yet to announce the official specifications though.

The car will be driven by BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen and team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila. Its test program for the 2011 season (with the new engine) is set to debut next week on gravel roads in Spain. But its racing debut will be at Rally Sweden. It will appear at the opening round of the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship that will start on February 10.

Ford has a new challenger for the World Rally Championship – the new Ford Fiesta RS WRC. This new challenger is all bound to replace the Focus RS WRC, which prides itself as more than good enough to give Ford its manufacturers' world titles in 2006 and 2007.

This record breaking car gave Ford its 75th WRC win in New Zealand in May. With these wins, the Focus RS WRC ushered in the era for Ford to become the most successful manufacturer in WRC. The new Ford Fiesta RS WRC, however, is not inferior to the Focus RS WRC in terms of capabilities.

Proof of that is the fact that the latest Fiesta has been racking wins left and right in the world of motorsports. For instance, rally racer and famous drift driver Ken Block piloted a Fiesta rally car in the Rally America championship this season.

Moreover, the Fiesta managed to grab gold and silver medals in both the Rally Car and Super Rally events during the X Games in Los Angeles in July. The Fiesta S2000 rally car currently leads the S-WRC support series within the WRC.

Also, the Fiesta S2000 rally car is presently the leader in the S-WRC support series within the WRC. This adds to the fact that the Fiesta SportTrophy International for Fiesta R2 cars is a support series to the WRC.

Ford of Europe’s Motorsport chief Gerard Quin noted that the Fiesta has already proven to be a serious contender in a number of motorsport events, adding that Ford is excited for the debut of the car in the WRC next year.

Quinn added that Ford made sure that new Fiesta RS WRC remains related to the Fiesta road car, which was a huge success and which continues to be in high demand.

He disclosed that Ford's design and product development teams collaborated with their partners at M-Sport to deliver not only a highly competitive rally car, but also a stylish Ford Fiesta that remains true to its identity.

Since launching the latest generation Fiesta road cars in October 2008, Ford has already sold over one million units. It is also Ford's second best-selling car in Europe.

Press Release

Ford Fiesta WRC

Ford's new challenger for the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship, the all-new Ford Fiesta RS WRC World Rally Car, made its first global public appearance at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.

The Ford Fiesta RS WRC will make its competition debut in Rally Sweden, the opening round of the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship, on 10 - 13 February.

For Paris, the preview model has been finished in a striking blue and grey livery, specially developed for the show by Ford of Europe's design team. The new World Rally Car, derived from the best-selling Fiesta road car, is being developed by Ford of Europe and its rally partner M-Sport.

Using as a base the Ford Fiesta S2000 rally car, which won the legendary Monte Carlo Rally on its debut last January and other international and national rallies in 2010, Ford of Europe's design team and M-Sport have worked together to fine-tune the styling of the bodywork and aerodynamic package of the new Fiesta to create an exciting replacement for the outgoing Focus RS WRC.

Although detailed changes may be made as the Ford Fiesta RS WRC car continues its development programme through the balance of this year and in time for the commencement of the team's specialised pre-season testing, the final car will share the eye-catching appearance and acclaimed 'kinetic design' styling cues synonymous with Ford's latest road vehicles. The interior will also be instantly recognisable as a Ford Fiesta RS WRC rally car as it contains a number of production parts.

A new era for the World Rally Championship

The Ford Fiesta RS WRC competition car will form part of a new era for the world championship. The Fiesta rally car will boast four-wheel drive transmission and a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, based on the all-new Ford EcoBoost engine family, to comply with new regulations.

The new Ford EcoBoost engine family features direct petrol injection and turbocharging to maximise performance and efficiency. "The introduction of Ford's latest engine technology to its rally programme reinforces further our commitment to motorsport. It also demonstrates our continued support for affordable competition by using an off-the-shelf production engine on which to base our WRC power plant," said Mike Norton, Ford of Europe's Motorsport Manager.

Specialist engineers from Ford and M-Sport have co-operated closely in the development of this 1.6-litre engine, with highly-respected French tuner Pipo Moteur bringing additional expertise to the power plant.

The Ford Fiesta RS WRC appearance at the Paris Motor Show precedes the car's first major test programme with the full 2011 engine specification on gravel roads in Spain next week. The car has already completed almost 3000 kilometres of testing in Britain and France, powered initially by the current WRC engine and more recently by a prototype 1.6-litre Ford EcoBoost turbo unit.

The test will provide the first opportunity for BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen and team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila to drive the new Fiesta RS WRC.

M-Sport managing director and BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team director Malcolm Wilson is equally enthusiastic about the new car.

"This is a thrilling time for everyone involved in the car's development", Wilson affirms. "Countless hours have gone into the Fiesta RS WRC to reach this point, and for the car to be unveiled in public for the first time is a proud moment for us. We are right on track with our development and the team is delighted with testing to date. Another major step forward will be taken at the start of October when the car tests in full 2011 technical specification for the first time.

"We will have a test car running under the guidance of our technical director, Christian Loriaux. Mikko and Jari-Matti lead our challenge with the new car in the 2011 WRC, so their feedback from the testing is critical, and will provide valuable data for our engineering team to work with," added Wilson.

The Ford Fiesta RS WRC will replace the record-breaking Focus RS WRC as Ford's championship challenger. The Focus RS WRC won back-to-back manufacturers' world titles in 2006 and 2007, and its victory in New Zealand in May was the Blue Oval's 75th at WRC level, making Ford the most successful manufacturer in world championship history.

Ford has sold more than one million of the hugely-successful, latest generation Fiesta road cars around the world since it went on sale in October 2008. Fiesta, Ford's truly global car, is the No 2 best-selling car across Europe.

Also, the latest Fiesta has already proved its abilities in motorsport. The Fiesta SportTrophy International for Fiesta R2 cars is a successful support series to the FIA World Rally Championship and the Fiesta S2000 rally car currently leads the S-WRC support series within the WRC.

American sports icon Ken Block has campaigned a Fiesta rally car in the Rally America championship this season, and the car won gold and silver medals in both the Rally Car and Super Rally events at the X Games event in Los Angeles in July.

"The Ford Fiesta has already established itself as a serious contender in a range of global motorsport activities, and we can't wait to debut our official car in the hugely demanding World Rally Championship next year," said Gerard Quinn. "We've worked hard to ensure the car is undoubtedly related to the best-selling Fiesta road car which itself is a global success story. Ford's design and product development teams have worked closely and efficiently with our partners at M-Sport whose enormous expertise is key to delivering not just a highly competitive rally car, but also a car that is both stylish and recognisably a Ford Fiesta." he added.

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