After three months of speculation, the Ford Puma Rally 1 was confirmed this Thursday as the successor to the Fiesta for next season’s World Rally Championship. The news came with the release of the first photographs of the new M-Sport’s machine. The British have become the first team to present its vehicle for 2022.
The images show the small English rocket on Lord March’s estate, site of the Festival of Speed in Goodwood, Great Britain. Not by coincidence, the Ford Puma will race for the first time in public this upcoming weekend at that famous British race.
M-Sport’s French WRC driver Adrien Fourmaux together with test driver Matthiew Wilson will take on the four-day climb up the famous hill behind the wheel of the vehicle that will, later on, be used as a development car for 2022.
Complying with WRC ‘Rally 1’ regulations, the Ford Puma is fitted with a 100-kW electric motor and 3.9 kWh battery that can be recharged during braking. This is combined with a turbocharged 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, powered by biofuel.
M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson said:
“The new era of WRC cars is one of the biggest technological advancements in WRC to date. The introduction of the hybrid means that the cars will be more powerful than ever whilst also directly reflecting the powertrains within their road going counterparts,”
“The switch to the Puma is very exciting with the name already having rally heritage, the car looks fantastic and I cannot wait to see it at the start line of the famous Monte- Carlo Rally in early 2022.
“I and the whole of M-Sport look forward to continuing the very successful partnership with Ford to deliver results and keep Ford at the forefront during this new and very exciting era.”
Ford Performance very committed
Meanwhile, Ford Performance CEO Mark Rushbrook, who will be present at Goodwood, has reassured of his company’s full commitment to electrification. So much so that the multinational announced at the beginning of the year that, from 2030, its entire European range will be fully electric.
“The white heat of competition has been responsible for many of the innovations that appear in our road cars today,” Rushbrook added.
“The M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1 will put hybrid power to the ultimate test, and prove that the technology is capable of delivering thrilling performance”.
Another new development for next season is the exclusive use of fossil-free fuels in competition. These fuels will combine synthetic and biodegradable elements produced by P1 Racing Fuels.
David vs Goliath
In early 2021, the three WRC participating teams, M-Sport Ford, Hyundai Motorsport and Toyota Gazoo Racing accepted the terms for the new hybrid era, and confirmed their presence in the championship, with vehicles based on production models, during the following three seasons: 2022-2024.
The British formation, a private team and in theory the underdog, compared to the other two car giants, has now taken the lead in the preparations for the new era of the speciality.
The Britons have been working hard since the middle of last year when the onset of the coronavirus pandemic forced the suspension of the WRC and halted all activity in the factories. M-Sport, however, kept a small group of technicians working on the new project.
Later on, it was time to test their prototype on the road. The trials were carried out using the bodywork of a Ford Fiesta in order to hide their new creation. Well, their efforts have borne their first and very promising fruit. Why can’t they dream of champagne ?
Images of Ford Puma Rally 1: M-Sport.