PARIS -- Ford's new challenger for the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship, the 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 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 Fiesta S2000 rally car, which won the 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 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 appearance and 'kinetic design' styling cues synonymous with Ford's latest road vehicles. The interior will also be 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 EcoBoost engine family, to comply with new regulations.
"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 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, which begins in Spain next week. It continues for 10 days on both gravel and asphalt. 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 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.