• Jan 13th 2011 at 11:19AM
  • 19

2011 Ford Fiesta RS WRC – Click above for high-res image gallery

The World Rally Championship is downsizing. Not in the number of teams participating – that's actually expected to increase – but in the size of its cars. While Formula One is set to switch to turbo fours, the WRC is switching to smaller cars, similar to the Super 2000 formula. And so, in-line with the new regulations, Ford is switching from a Focus-based rally challenger to the new Fiesta.

The WRC-spec Fiesta RS was revealed in tentative, showgoing livery back in Paris, but the team has now unveiled the car in the full competition livery in which it will take on the world's most challenging rally stages. Similar to the livery featured on the outgoing Focus, the new Fiesta RS WRC is dominated by the logos of title sponsor Abu Dhabi – which takes over from BP – and secondary sponsor Castrol's Edge range of motor oils.

Full specifications have still yet to be released, so we'll have to wait until early February before the new Fiesta RS WRC hits the season-starting Rally Sweden from Feb 10-13. Details in the press release after the jump with high-resolution images of the liveried rally machine in the gallery below.

[Source: Ford]



BIRMINGHAM, 13 January 2011 - Ford's all-new Fiesta RS World Rally Car was revealed in its 2011-specification today when the company unveiled the colour scheme that will adorn the car in the FIA World Rally Championship.

Team driver Mikko Hirvonen and Ford of Europe motorsport chief Gerard Quinn unveiled the livery for the eye-catching Fiesta RS WRC at the Autosport International Racing Car Show in Birmingham, motorsport's traditional start-of-season showcase event.

Ford's official WRC squad for 2011 also confirmed its new name and logo - it will compete as the Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team.

Title partner Abu Dhabi will continue its support throughout 2011 and its distinctive branding will also feature strongly in the new-look livery. Abu Dhabi has been a team partner since 2007 and Emirati driver Khalid Al Qassimi will drive a third Fiesta RS WRC in support of team-mates Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala.

The team will also be sponsored by Castrol, the world's leading lubricants brand and a partner since 2005. Branding for Castrol EDGE, its global range of best-in-class motor oils, will feature prominently in the Fiesta RS WRC's livery.

BP, Castrol's parent company, plans to promote the Castrol EDGE range of advanced synthetic oils, and demonstrate their strength to perform in the demanding surroundings of the WRC.

"The preview version of the car we unveiled in September at the 2010 Paris Motor Show was dramatic in its blue and grey livery, developed specifically for the show by Ford of Europe's design team," said Quinn.

"But now we have a fully finished car in a really eye-catching new livery plus a new team name, and excitement is building throughout the squad as we prepare for the opening round in Sweden next month.

"Ford's designers and product development engineers have worked closely and efficiently alongside the expertise of our partners at M-Sport. The aim was, of course, to produce a car capable of challenging for world championship titles, but one which also reflects the much-admired 'kinetic design' styling cues synonymous with Ford's current road vehicles," added Quinn.

Ford's WRC challenger, derived from the best-selling Fiesta road car, has been developed by Ford of Europe and British-based rally partner M-Sport. It is based on the Fiesta S2000 rally car, which won the legendary Monte Carlo Rally in January 2010 and other international and national rallies during the season.

The Fiesta RS WRC will form part of a new era in the world championship, for which a revised cost-effective formula is introduced this season. It boasts four-wheel drive transmission and a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, based on the new Ford EcoBoost road vehicle power plant, to comply with the new regulations.

The full specification of the car will be available at the beginning of February. Testing will continue in Sweden next week ahead of the Fiesta RS WRC's championship debut in Rally Sweden, the opening round of the series, on 10 - 13 February.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      "...dominated by the logos of title sponsor Abu Dhabi – which takes over from BP – and secondary sponsor Castrol's Edge range of motor oils."

      Castrol is BP.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is why I stopped watching WRC, the cars just got smaller and less fun. I mean the focus was already small enough IMO. It's sad, I miss the days of Subaru's and Evo's fighting it out. Now its a bunch of tiny city cars, I mean even Mini Cooper is going to have a WRC car. Whats next, WRC karting? That actually might be more fun :(
        • 4 Years Ago
        City Cars? Really? They are going to the Fiesta because everything is 'bloating'. WRC teams want the smallest, lightest possible package to work with. This current Fiesta is just as big as the Mk1 Focus was, which was about the same size as the Escort it replaced in Rally.

        The Fiesta as a far cry from a city car - the Ford kA, THAT'S a city car. The WRC Fiesta with a race ready EcoBoost engine and their AWD powertrain should be pushing just as much HP as the Subies and Evos you seem to love so much. I expect it to be a very capable car in the coming season. You sure you don't hate this car just because it's a Ford?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Austin Metro 6R4, that thing was the size of a loaf of bread and based on the most basic example of 4-wheeled transportation.

        But DAMN, was that thing insane.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Mini won many rally back in the 60s including the Monte Carlo rally a couple of time.
        Size has nothing to do with it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Lancer and Impreza are still C-Segment cars just like the Focus (and its Escort predecessor). You know, they did have overlap before the two former brands dropped out.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Smaller != less fun by any stretch of the imagination.

        Smaller cars are more nimble, are capable of taking corners faster due to reduced width, accelerate and brake faster, etc, etc.

        Also, Mini is entering with the Clubman, not the Cooper.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Learn your rally history! Gosh.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You do know that the current Fiesta is slightly larger then the cars you mentioned. Don't get hung up on a name plate.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Umm, I am pretty sure a Fiesta is short then a STI.

        Wait yep, it is

        Fiesta Hatch Back : 160.1 inches
        2002-2011 Subaru STI ~ 173.4 inches

        It's not just the length though, it was the type of production car they represented. I know the WRC cars aren't anything like the production cars, but at least back in the day they were a little closer. I mean you can't even get a Fiesta in AWD as far as I know.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Using the Fiesta isn't going to make Rally any less exciting. You guys need to calm down. I do think the WRC should open a prototype class, though. I'd love to see cars like Rhys Millen's Hyundai Pike's Peak prototype running. I think that'd bring in a lot of viewers who seem to have trouble getting over the use of econo-cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Shouldn't that be JML instead of Mikko?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree about JML as #1, it looked to me like Mikko really lost is edge in 2010. Like he gave it his all in 2009 and when it didn't happen, he just didn't have to heart to continue taking the type of risks that are needed to beat Loeb. Which brings me to JML :) If he can get beyond his tendency towards (spectacular) crashes, he does have the speed. I believe we have seen him gradually maturing so hopefully this will mean more consistent results.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Stupid autocorrect. "Mike" was supposed to be Mikko.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes, but look at the results last year. My point is that JML needs to be the #1 driver for Malcolm's lot now. Mike could not have put on a poorer performance.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Nope, JML is the #2 driver, Mikko is #1.
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