• Feb 1st 2011 at 9:30AM
  • 24
2011 Ford Fiesta WRC Rally Car - Click above for high-res image gallery

We now know exactly what the Abu Dhabi World Rally Team will be packing when they take on this year's World Rally Championship. Ford has officially let loose a volley of information on the team's new Fiesta bruiser. Built by M-Sport, the minds responsible for some of the quickest machines on tarmac or off, the rally-spec Fiesta is loosely based off of the same S2000 car that recently took gold at the Monte Carlo Rally in 2010. M-Sport quickly set about reducing weight and strengthening all the components necessary to compete on the global stage.

Under the hood, there's a steroid-riddled version of the FoMoCo 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine with 300 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque. Even with the added burden of lugging around a full-time all-wheel drive system, the machine manages to hit the scales at a fairly feathery 2,645 pounds. A 12:1 steering rack, massive Brembo brakes and an X-Trac six-speed sequential transmission are all standard kit as well.

Look for the new Fiesta to be helmed by the likes of Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala when the racer takes to the rally stages of the WRC later this year. Hit the jump for the press release.

  • 2011 Ford Fiesta WRC Rally Car front 3/4

  • 2011 Ford Fiesta WRC Rally Car build up

  • 2011 Ford Fiesta WRC Rally Car engine

  • 2011 Ford Fiesta WRC Rally Car interior

[Source: Ford]
Show full PR text

COLOGNE, 31 January 2011 – Ford's all-new Fiesta RS World Rally Car is set to receive final clearance for its FIA World Rally Championship debut this week when motorsport's governing body gives it the seal of approval to compete in Rally Sweden next month.

The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) is ready to approve homologation of Ford's challenger for the 2011 championship after the car successfully cleared tough technical inspections to ensure it complies with the sport's new cost-effective regulations.

This means that Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen and team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila will put the Fiesta RS WRC through its paces for the first time in the WRC when the 13-round season begins in Sweden (10 February).

"We worked closely with the FIA throughout the development of the car to ensure our understanding of the regulations was aligned with that of the governing body," said Ford of Europe's motorsport chief, Gerard Quinn. "We expect the paperwork to be finalised this week, and everyone involved with the programme is looking forward to an exciting season ahead, with the action beginning over Sweden's frozen roads in 10 days."

Ford's road technology powers Fiesta RS WRC
Ford's four-wheel drive WRC challenger is derived from the best-selling Fiesta road car. It was developed from the 2010 Monte Carlo Rally-winning Fiesta S2000 rally car by the Blue Oval's long-term British-based partner M-Sport, with support from Ford of Europe. It forms part of a new era in the World Rally Championship, for which a revised cost-effective formula is introduced this season.

The WRC is acknowledged as the toughest form of motorsport for production-based cars, which battle for world titles in such diverse and demanding conditions as the barren, frozen countryside of Sweden and sweltering temperatures and boulder-strewn roads of Greece.

M-Sport, together with Ford's engineering team, undertook a varied and structured development programme with the Fiesta RS WRC in readiness for the 2011 season. Work will continue, with the car shortly due to be taken to the Environmental Testing Laboratory at Ford's Dunton Technical Centre in the UK to evaluate and optimise engine performance.

Ford Abu Dhabi technical director Christian Loriaux said the team had not compromised on anything. "We obtained plenty of data from the standard Fiesta road car, and the S2000 which competed in the S-WRC and other championships last year. We re-evaluated every area and if we thought certain areas could be improved, we went ahead and did so," he said.

"Apart from the roll cage and chassis there aren't too many parts that the Fiesta RS WRC shares with the S2000. Plenty of parts may look similar, but they have been modified to be lighter, stiffer or whatever we felt would bring an improvement," added Loriaux.

Ford of Europe's design team played a key role in the look of the Fiesta RS WRC. Its input ensured that the car visually reflects the successful 'kinetic design' styling cues synonymous with Ford's line-up on the road.

"Together with Ford of Europe's design team, we carried out a full restyling of the car to incorporate as many aspects as we could of Ford's kinetic design styling cues that are an integral part of the company's road vehicles. There are some necessary modifications for aerodynamic reasons, but both Ford and M-Sport are delighted with the car's appearance," said Loriaux.

1.6-litre Ford EcoBoost technology
The 1.6-litre turbocharged direct injection engine that powers the rally car draws on the knowledge of Ford's advanced EcoBoost technology, used in its latest production cars.

Quinn said: "Ford's EcoBoost road engine represents a new generation of downsized, high-efficiency, petrol engines. Developed by Ford engineers in Europe, the four-cylinder EcoBoost production unit combines high-pressure direct injection, advanced turbocharging and twin variable valve timing to maximise combustion efficiency. Different displacements are already available in Ford road vehicles around the globe.

"The knowledge accumulated during the design of the EcoBoost road engine proved invaluable during development of the rally car unit. Technology transfer usually switches from rally cars to road vehicles, but in this situation we're delighted it has taken the opposite route," he added.

Engine tuner Pipo Moteurs took responsibility for the development of the Fiesta RS WRC's power plant. The French company, which has developed a strong relationship with
M-Sport and Ford in motorsport in recent years, worked closely with engineers from both companies throughout the process of developing the competition unit.

Ford provided key support in this task via its global engineering facilities, including its Powertrain Research and Innovation Centre in the United States, its Engine Research Centre at Dunton in the UK and its Research & Advanced Engineering Centre in Aachen, Germany, to evaluate performance.

The most challenging task was to implement direct injection technology, which is relatively new in motorsport, and Loriaux admitted the engine development was a huge task. "It was a massive undertaking. Direct injection was a complex beast and it was the first time many of us in the team had the opportunity to work with forced injection in a competition engine. The engine was the biggest challenge of the whole project," he said.

Under the skin of the Fiesta RS WRC
The Fiesta RS WRC's 1.6-litre EcoBoost power unit has turbocharging from a Garrett system, which is fitted with a 33mm inlet restrictor, as required by FIA regulations. The unit is managed by Cosworth's electronic engine system. Cosworth also provides chassis data acquisition.

The four-wheel drive transmission contains mechanical front and rear differentials, with a clutch disconnect system fitted to the handbrake. The M-Sport / X-Trac-built six-speed sequential gearbox is operated by a mechanical shift, using a twin disc clutch built by
M-Sport and AP Racing.

Both front and rear suspension comprises MacPherson struts with Reiger external reservoir dampers, which are adjustable in bump and rebound. It contains fully adjustable steel links and the uprights are made from machined aluminium.

Brembo ventilated brake discs with four-piston monoblock calipers provide the stopping power on both loose and sealed surface roads, with the braking system adjustable to provide either front or rear bias.

Michelin's 650mm tyres will be used on all surfaces, allied with 7in x 15in aluminium wheels for gravel and snow and 8in x 18in wheels for asphalt.

Fiesta RS WRC racks up testing kilometres
The Fiesta RS WRC has covered more than 11,000 kilometres of testing on gravel, asphalt, snow and ice in preparation for its WRC debut – the equivalent of more than two full seasons of WRC competition.

The team began by installing a 2.0-litre engine from a 2010 Focus RS WRC into the Fiesta S2000 rally car in March last year.

Testing was stepped up significantly in August when a 1.6-litre prototype engine (without direct injection) was installed for the first time. Since then the car has been trialled on gravel roads in Britain, Portugal, France and Spain and on asphalt in Britain, France and Spain. Snow and ice tests have taken place in Sweden.

"We're encouraged by both the car's performance and its reliability over thousands of kilometres of testing, and we're confident we can transfer that into competition. But the true test will come during the opening round in Sweden next week," said Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson.
"It was a challenging test programme. Matching the car to the tyres of our new supplier, Michelin, was a demanding process. We've made excellent progress but I believe Mikko and Jari-Matti will learn more about the way the tyres behave as we encounter new conditions on different rallies," added Wilson.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am really looking forward to the racing this year. Will be great to see what all 3 will do (Fiesta,Mini,DS3) I have to say I think I prefer the Citroen DS3, not only because I drive one (not the WRC lol), but I just think that it is going to have so much to offer! Go Citroen!!!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Its gonna be weird not seeing the Focus out there anymore. :-( But, Im anxious to see this little beast giving Citroen a run for their money. Im sick and tired of Citroen and Loeb already. I mean, its a capable car with an amazing driver, but theyre become the Patriots/Yankees of the WRC world.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Patriots and Yankees haven't been in the big game for quite some time now. So please do not compare a great like Loeb to 2 teams who have failed to be in the big game.

        Now Jimmie Johnson? Perfect example. The last 5 years have belonged to him and only him. Being a religious NASCAR fan, I'm getting quite tired of seeing this happen. Especially when you have someone like Denny Hamlin challenging him last year.

        I think these new rules and a new car will choke Loeb and make this a great season to watch. Gotta remember, Block has been driving a similar Fiesta the last 2 years. Kimi has his own team now, which is a bunch of weight lifted off his chest. And then you have the new challengers in the Mini Countryman WRC. Loeb is going to have a hard time winning his next championship this year.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Blocks Fiesta is as far outside of the S2000 spec as one could get. Its more of a silhouette racer then a homologation based car.

        The chassis is all custom built, from the floorpan up. The engine is mounted longitudinal, rather then transverse. And its a 2.0L engine producing around 500 BHP, not the measly 300 of the WRC S2000 spec.

        It's a totally different beast.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Please Ford, a street-legal AWD version of the Fiesta RS WRC! Awesome!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Meh, 1.6 WRC just sounds silly. With two manufacturers, Loeb and now 1.6.. WRC is seriously boring.
      I'm more interested to just follow local rally with a lot of N4 Evo's X (: Now there's real competition and beasts. Yeah yeaah, these are very powerful 1.6 cars, but when Subaru or Mitsubishi goes by it is kinda more impressive than Fiesta...
        • 4 Years Ago
        "When Subaru or Mitsubishi goes by..."
        ...last time I checked they got their a$$es kicked by Citroën and Ford. Not that I'm judging you but it almost seems like you're living with spirits of the past.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well MINI is back with the Countryman and Citroen is back with the DS3 at least this year.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I find it interesting that Ford is making the Fiesta their rally car, as opposed to the Focus.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They have to in order to meet the new S2000 rules.
        • 4 Years Ago
        due the FIA probably
        • 4 Years Ago
        The new Focus is a little on the large size for WRC nowadays. I'm not sure that the UK will get a 2-door version either, I think they're getting the same 4- and 5-door versions as us. The new Focus will be their Touring Car racer.
        And the Fiesta is already in IRC.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I want the civil, 4-doors automatic (preferably, dual-clutch) with AWD, version of this.
        • 4 Years Ago
        X-Trac six-speed sequential transmission = better.
        you don't need to clutch, only @ complete stand still.
        so at traffic lights you need to use clutch, the rest is without.
        is that also to much for you?

        adjusting the gear to your needs and you will be faster in drag racing than any production based car. that includes ferrari, porsche, etc, etc.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Amazing how the WRC guise makes the Fiesta (Olé!) look so menacing!

      Who is that goblin next to the car in the first pic?
      • 4 Years Ago
      What a cheesy-looking Photochop - the car is obviously just pasted in, look at the lighting differences between it and the background. Not to mention the fact that the Focus appears to levitating.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's because of reflection, the glossy cars reflect light back to camera better than a tanned man in a light absorbing suit. Anyways, the number of shots should already prove that its real, there's also other shots of the same car around the web already, and its first test session should show that its the same car and its first event will be in the same livery, why would somene photoshop this?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah right - the flash hits the car front AND rear and totally misses the man. LOL. Time for an eye checkup.
      • 4 Years Ago
      300hp and 331lbft that torque must look look a table top, man I would love to have such a little engine produce so much power.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I want one for my daily driver.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I've heard that a fully prepped WRC car costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $600k...still want it at that price? :)

        It's a great looking car and if I had Veyron or One-77 kind of dough, I'd probably ask Ford to build me one of these instead...especially with the storm coming today...mmm, stuck in day dreaming land now.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I barely have room enough for the three cars I have now, but I would buy that in an instant.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X