M-Sport’s completely overhauled 2017 Ford Fiesta WRC makes its debut

Article by Christian A., on December 13, 2016

M-Sport has taken the veil off its challenger for the next season of the World Rally Championship – the 2017 Ford Fiesta WRC -- and it has very little in common with the outgoing model. In particular, the 2017 Ford Fiesta WRC is beefier, more aerodynamic and more powerful than the 2016 Ford Fiesta RS WRC. Designed to tackle different types of roads in various weather conditions, 2017 Ford Fiesta WRC is out to prove that it counts as among the best in the rallying world.

Essentially, this rallying car is based on the street-going 2017 Ford Fiesta, which is by itself already an excellent performance on the road as well as off it. In addition, the 2017 Ford Fiesta comes with a style that would allow onlookers to immediately sense that this is not just any car – an attribute that enabled it to become one of the best-selling small cars in Europe.

Through the years, rallying versions of the Ford Fiesta have been racking up victories during events around the globe. In 2016 alone, the Ford Fiesta R5 scored 159 wins and numerous class wins. Moreover, the 2016 Ford Fiesta R5 won its second straight FIA European Rally Championship. The new 2017 Ford Fiesta WRC aims to continue the winning ways of the 2016 Ford Fiesta R5 while complying with WRC technical regulations, which have been revised drastically for the 2017 season. To that effect, Ford moved to completely overhaul its WRC campaigner – with around 95 percent of the 2017 Ford Fiesta WRC being developed and designed from scratch in order for the rallying car to deliver more power, more mechanical grip and more dynamic performance.

The 2017 Ford Fiesta WRC is powered by a 1.6-liter Ecoboost direct injection engine that delivers up to 380 hp of output and up to 450 Nm of torque. This engine sends powers to the wheels via a six-speed sequential gearbox with hydraulic shift runs and a multi-disc clutch. Rallies usually involve running through uneven road surfaces, helping the 2017 Ford Fiesta WRC manage these terrains is a suspension featuring redesigned MacPherson struts with fully adjustable Reiger external reservoir dampers. Stopping power is provided by ventilated brake discs with four-piston monoblock calipers.

Occupant safety comes courtesy of several elements like a T45 steel roll cage welded to the chassis. The 2017 Ford Fiesta WRC is installed with 95 liters of energy absorbing foam, which wraps the Sparco seats to ensure that crashes would have minimal impact to the driver and his navigator.

Malcolm Wilson, M-Sport Managing Director, remarked that he is confident they managed to build a car that could challenge and win at the very highest level. He noted that having driven the 2017 Ford Fiesta WRC himself, the car is one of the most impressive M-Sport has produced.

Chris Williams, M-Sport Head of Engineering, quipped that by designing a brand new car from scratch, it has enabled them to review every component to create the lightest and most innovative car possible.

Press Release

INTRODUCING THE 2017 FORD FIESTA WRC

Embarking on a new era in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), we introduce the Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC – an innovation based on the new-for-2017 road-going Fiesta which will spearhead M-Sport’s challenge throughout next year’s eagerly anticipated season.

Designed to next-generation technical regulations implemented by the FIA, the Fiesta WRC ushers in the latest technology in world rally cars.

Despite being built to this new set of regulations, the class of 2017 evoke images which hark back to the Group B days of old and M-Sport’s latest creation retains a strong pedigree – sharing a platform with Europe’s number one best-selling small car.

Based on the recently-unveiled, all-new, road-going Ford Fiesta, the Fiesta WRC derives its performance and style from a car beloved on both the road and the stage.

Since its introduction into the sport, the Fiesta – in its various guises as R1, R2, R5, S2000 and WRC – has become rallying’s most successful model with countless victories and championship laurels around the globe.

This year alone, the Ford Fiesta R5 claimed an impressive 159 outright victories – that’s more than any other R5 – as well as countless class wins and a second successive FIA European Rally Championship.

Designed from a completely clean-sheet of paper, M-Sport’s latest challenger adds another string to the Fiesta’s impressive bow and the development team are confident of making a return to the top step of the podium.

Looking the part, a fully CFD designed aerodynamic bodyshell features a front and rear splitter, dive planes and impressive rear wing which gives the Fiesta WRC a striking visual design.

More spectacular and more powerful than its predecessor, the top-specification Fiesta has undergone a complete redesign and 95 percent of the car has been designed from scratch to deliver more power, and more mechanical grip.

Producing 380 bhp and 450 Nm of torque from its bespoke Ecoboost-powered 1600cc direct injection engine and 36 mm inlet restrictor, the sound has to be heard to be believed.

A newly-designed six-speed sequential gearbox with hydraulic shift runs alongside a multi-disc clutch and an active centre differential offers enhanced control and performance.

Evolving further, redesigned MacPherson struts with Reiger external reservoir dampers are fully adjustable in bump and rebound, while ventilated brake discs with unique four-piston monoblock calipers provide the stopping power.

Full chassis and engine data acquisition allows our engineers to conduct on-event diagnostics and performance development, while twin-dash screens for both driver and co-driver keep our crews on track.

Improved safety has also formed a key part of the Fiesta WRC’s development. A T45 steel rollcage is welded to the chassis with structural door sill reinforcements.

The presence of enhanced energy absorbing foam has also been significantly increased from 60 litres to a minimum of 95 litres. The crew’s Sparco seats are cocooned by this foam and energy management figures have increased by as much as 20 percent.

Needless to say, a new and exciting era is almost upon us. Having racked up 6,392 kilometres of testing with more to follow next week, the Fiesta WRC is ready to tackle some of the most arduous and demanding stages that the FIA World Rally Championship has to offer.

M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:

“Entering a new era in the FIA World Rally Championship, there is a real sense of excitement throughout the team, and rightly so as I believe we have created something extremely special in the new Ford Fiesta WRC.

“Having driven the car myself, I can honestly say that it is one of the most impressive we have ever produced. It’s exciting to drive, it sounds fantastic and it looks absolutely sensational.

“Every team is starting on an equal footing and I’m confident that we have produced another car which is capable of challenging – and winning – at the very highest level.

“More than 95 percent has been designed from scratch and our team has had whatever they’ve wanted to build the best possible car. No expense has been spared, and we start the 2017 season with one goal in mind – returning to the top step of the podium.”

M-Sport Head of Engineering, Chris Williams, said:

“A tremendous amount of effort, passion and enthusiasm has gone into this project and there has been a real commitment from our entire team.

“Designing a brand new car from a completely clean sheet of paper has allowed our team to re-evaluate every single component to produce the lightest and most innovative car possible.

“We’ve pushed the physical boundaries in all areas and have some very interesting things going on underneath the surface that we are sure are unique to this car and have already improved performance significantly in testing.

“It’s not been an easy ride, but everyone realised how much potential this car has early on and that has given us the energy to keep on pushing flat out.”

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