On Monday the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team (WRT) revealed the competition livery for their new M‑Sport Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 car that will be competing in the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
The opening round gets under way tomorrow, where the car will make its debut at the Monte Carlo Rally which will be staged between 20th to 23rd January. In fact, this year’s FIA World Rally Championship enters a new era this week, as hybrid powertrains take to the stage for the very first time.
Ford will be competing with three cars this season, driven by Craig Breen, Adrien Fourmaux and Gus Greensmith. Nine-time FIA World Rally Champion, Sébastien Loeb, will also join the M‑Sport Ford World Rally Team to compete at this week’s Monte Carlo Rally, which he has won seven times before.
This year’s WRC also marks the 25th anniversary of the successful partnership between Ford and M-Sport that has delivered a record seven championships and more than 1,500 stage wins in some of the most iconic rally cars that include the M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC and the Ford Focus RS WRC. M-Sport and Ford have delivered a record-breaking 268 consecutive manufacturer points scoring results through their strong partnership.
Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance, commented:
“One of the most captivating aspects of WRC down the years has been the clear link between the ultra-high performance rally cars and their road-going equivalents. That’s why it’s so important that this new era of WRC reflects our industry’s shift to electrification. At Ford, we’re fully committed to an electrified future, and campaigning the M-Sport Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 car in the toughest conditions is going to help us develop even more exciting electrified powertrains for our customers.”
The new M‑Sport Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 is Ford’s first electrified competition car, using similar principles to the Puma EcoBoost Hybrid road car on which it is based.
A next-generation hybrid powertrain captures energy during braking and coasting, storing it in a 3.9 kWh battery, allowing the energy to be used to supplement the turbocharged 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol engine with repeated boosts of up to three seconds from a 100 kW electric motor.
The M-Sport Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 is able to use its electrified powertrain to travel through towns, cities, service parks and sections between stages using pure-electric power and the battery pack can be recharged using an external power source at the dedicated service points between stages, with a full recharge taking just under half an hour.
This season will also see FIA WRC Rally1 competitors using fossil-free fuel with a blend of synthetic and bio-degradable elements to produce a fuel that is 100 per cent sustainable.
M-Sport Team principal Richard Millener said:
“It has been a very busy time getting the cars and team ready for next weekend’s Monte Carlo Rally and the opening of the 2022 World Rally Championship season, but one that will be worth the effort. With the help and support of Ford colleagues all over the globe we have produced a fantastic car with huge potential and we cannot wait to showcase it during the year. A big thank you to everyone involved with getting to this stage and helping us meet such tight deadlines and we feel very proud to represent Ford on the world stage in our 25th year of partnership!”
This season’s M‑Sport Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 car reflects Ford’s commitment to full electrification of its vehicles. In fact, last year Ford announced that 100 percent of its passenger vehicles in Europe will be zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid by mid-2026, with the goal of being all-electric by 2030.
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man Behind The Wheel, a professional photographer and former saloon car racing driver.
Photographs courtesy of Ford of Britain