• Sep 30th 2010 at 7:59AM
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2011 Ford Fiesta RS WRC – Click above for high-res image gallery

The FIA World Rally Championship is shaping up to be particularly interesting in 2011, and the new-for-2011 Ford Fiesta RS is a big reason why. The Blue Oval's latest dirt-spitting racer will contest its first race at Rally Sweden in mid-February, but the Fiesta S2000-based rally car made its debut this morning at the Paris Motor Show.

In typical WRC fashion, the blue and gray Fiesta RS is all gaping intakes, massive flares and skyscraping wings, and needless to say, it looks The Business. Motivated by an EcoBoost-branded 1.6-liter turbocharged four of undisclosed output, the four-wheel-drive RS will get a shakedown run on Spain's gravel roads next week, though Ford says it's already conducted about 3,000 kilometers worth of testing with various engines.

The new car, which supplants the Blue Oval's prior Focus-based WRC car, will be driven by Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen, along with Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila. Check out our spanking-new galleries below and pop past the jump for the official press release.

Live photos copyright ©2010 Chris Paukert / AOL

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

The 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 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 Fiesta RS WRC rally car as it contains a number of production parts.

A new era for the World Rally Championship
The 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 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.

Gerard Quinn, Ford of Europe's Motorsport chief, has overseen the Ford development programme throughout 2010 and says: "We're delighted to preview the Ford Fiesta RS WRC in such a prominent Motor Show as Paris. There are significant visual differences from the Fiesta S2000 base car as well as major changes under the skin. The biggest, of course, is the 1.6-litre Ford EcoBoost turbo engine - the original version of which was developed by Ford's Powertrain Engineering team."

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 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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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      That is looking pretty mean!!!

      Can't wait to see these in action.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What a beautiful angry little monster! Love it!
      • 4 Years Ago
      personally, I love it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        WOW! I WANT ONE!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Agreed, and apparently, it's National Hater Day. It looks great, extremely styled and non-traditional to Ford's typical striping package.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Can I get one just to take the kids to school & hockey in, please?
      • 4 Years Ago
      And Ken Block will be crashing one of these into a ditch in 3...2...1...

        • 4 Years Ago
        "The new car, which supplants the Blue Oval's prior Focus-based WRC car, will be driven by Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen, along with Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila"
        im not so sure about that
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ken and whoever else joins to drive for MWRT next year will be in them...but they won't be in ditches, they'll be tearing up the stages.

        Just because he hasn't had the best of luck this year in WRC and Rally America doesn't mean he's a terrible driver.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Funny.. I like the looks of this WRC fiesta better than the Subaru. But for the consumer cars, I think the Subaru is better looking.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Please, Ford, STOP!!!

      You're killing me, and I'm a FORD GUY...first, you're taking the Taurus platform and making it all-purpose...(you killed the greatest police car in history and replaced it with the Robocop Taurus special, axed the Town Car and replaced it with the MKS, a Taurus with leather, then decided to make the Explorer FRONT WHEEL DRIVE...good Lord, a stinking TAURUS TRUCK!!!)...now you're killing me softly with this 4-cylinder "fast-and-furious" euro-crap.

      My point? Everyone doesn't want tiny, steroid-injected, ecoboosted 4 cylinder, front-wheel-drive platformed cars. If we did, we'd all have a spot of tea and biscuits for lunch because this would be EUROPE.

      To quote the old Club Noveau song from the eighties: "why you treat me soooo baaaad?"
        • 4 Years Ago
        See? What I tell you?

        Let me repeat what I said AGAIN, PARTIALLY IN ALL CAPS JUST BECAUSE: we are all entitled to our own opinions and views. We are invited to blogs to comment. And we do. Some folks like to get after other folks because they can. Kinda like you.

        You must be referring to Ford of Europe when you say Sierra, Cosworth and RS2000 (90s performance variations of the European Escort...thought I ain't know, huh?) Question: did any of those products ever make it across the Pond? Nope. Unless you count the RWD XR4TI from Merkur. But the "New Edge" styling given to Fords Euro products beginning in 2000 did.
        • 4 Years Ago
        dear argumentive Sct:

        it IS front wheel drive, silly! An AWD platform is almost ALWAYS a minor derivitive of FWD. Sixty percent goes to the front, or the MAJORITY of the power, and forty percent to the rear. An All Wheel Drive system just means tht there are electronic controls monitoring and adjusting the speed of each individual wheel (unlike 4WD, which is purely mechanical).

        The funny thing is, this blog is a site where we all can express our individual opinions in public about what we do and don't like. Thats the beauty of living in America: free speech. Unfortunately, free speech online usually results in some person attempting to call you out or an idiot to garner some attention.

        My opinion is that Ford is not diversifying, but solidifying every product under the FWD/AWD umbrella. By doing that, they are essentially locking themselves out of a market that isn't going to die anytime soon: large displacement, RWD cars that people still buy. Your opinion is that FWD/AWD is the future and that RWD is dead. We both have valid opinions that we have a right to.

        I agree to disagree. (BTW: the new turbo setup on the ecoboost is a nightmare to work on, the base v6 mustang is only 22k while the base 5.0 is 28k, yeah it sucks that the charger and the srt-8 challenger only comes with an automatic AND the turbo-4 genesis still suffers from that famous turbo lag problem.)

        What cold climate do you reside in?
        • 4 Years Ago
        blah, blah, speedracer BLAH...

        Is Chrysler stuck in the 80s with its rear-drive Challenger, Charger & 300 models? All those cars are hot sellers. What about the Camaro and next years new RWD Caprice? CTS? CTS Coupe? Even Hyundai makes a RWD coupe...and all of those models come with something substantially bigger than 4 cylinders.


        awkward silence...the sign of an ended argument. Well, I'll see you at the stoplight in my 2011 Mustang GT 5.0...which isn't ecooboosted, but still gets more than 20 mpg highway. Ta! (dumps clutch and disappears in a cloud of 80s-style smoke)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sounds like we're gonna need to pull you out of the 80s as well!

        I would very much like to see this transformed in to a US-spec Fiesta ST as soon as possible. So that I may purchase one.

        Thank you.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Silly Ronald, putting words like always in caps. Seems to be that the company you are ranting about had a couple non fwd based awd cars, such as the RS200, Sierra Cosworth, a,d the Escort Cosworth that used to Sierra floor pan.

        And we are talking about a WRC car right here, which probably doesn't have the torque split you keep jabbering about. It is probably more along the lines of a 4wd system.

        And the large displacement RWD cars sure will be popular the next time gas prices spike.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm hoping and praying for an awd turbocharged vehicle for the masses in the fiesta. It would be quite a car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      and so to meet homolgation rules they will have to make some of these available to the public right?
        • 4 Years Ago
        'It really is too bad we'll never see anything "rally ready" from Ford."

        Let me rephrase that.

        I doubt we'll see anything "rally ready" from Ford. Make performance cars, which aren't branded as a Mustang, just isn't something Ford does. It happens every once in a while (SVT Contour, SVT Focus, Ford GT), but not regularly and especially not lately.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I didn't think WRC had homolgation rules anymore, and Mitsubishi and Subaru kept selling the Evo and WRX/STI because they are popular models.

        It really is too bad we'll never see anything "rally ready" from Ford.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm not sure if I mind that Ford focuses most of its energy on the Mustang. The Mustang has certainly benefited from the attention.

        With that said, I still wish Ford would bring the RS500 to the US (and build more than 500 of them). That's about as rally-ready as you'll get.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Funny, first thing I thought of when I read the headline, was how much I miss homolgation rules. I would happily plunk down Camry money for a boosted AWD Fiesta (2 dr please!) @Peter, I would be in that line.

      Pretty please, Ford, with sugar on top?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I hope Ford brings the 2 door Fiesta to the US. I like the looks.
      • 4 Years Ago
      sad to see the focus go as the official WRC car but the fiesta looks the part and since its more compact will make for a better rally car than the new focus. here's to a new chapter in the world of rally!
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