M-Sport’s new Ford Fiesta R2 is set to make its competitive debut at next week’s Rally de Portugal. Homologated on May 1 2015, the much-anticipated upgrade will run as the car of choice in this year’s Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy (DDFT) – a one-make driver development programme that runs in conjunction with M-Sport and DMACK Tyres on six points-scoring rounds of five FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) events.
Development on the new car began in earnest last year and has since completed a number of successful tests at the firm’s private facility as well as further afield in Wales. Sander Pärn – the 2014 DDFT Champion – adopted the driving duties alongside M-Sport World Rally Team’s Elfyn Evans, former Junior WRC driver John MacCrone and M-Sport’s experienced test driver, Matthew Wilson.
The most significant upgrade comes in the form of an all-new EcoBoost 1.0 litre, three-cylinder engine and makes the new Fiesta R2 the first of its kind to be homologated under new regulations that allow 1.0 litre cars to compete in the R2 class.
As a three-time winner of the prestigious International Engine of the Year Award, Ford’s 1.0 litre EcoBoost engine provided the perfect platform and M-Sport’s engineers worked in unison with the Blue Oval’s European Racing division to harness the power and performance of Ford’s renowned EcoBoost technology.
As well as providing 180 PS of power along with 250 Nm of torque, the new Fiesta R2 also provides enhancements to the gearbox, suspension, rollcage, electronics and braking systems. A revised aerodynamic package also brings the car in-line with M-Sport’s range of facelifted Fiestas and Ford’s latest production models.
As the best-selling small car in Europe, the Ford Fiesta’s driving dynamics provide the perfect foundation for the new generation R2.
When the WRC returns to Europe next week, the Portuguese fans will be amongst first to see the new Fiesta R2 in action as the DDFT competitors do battle for the first victory of the year.
M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“We’ve always been at the forefront when it comes to introducing new concepts and new technologies and our close relationship with Ford has allowed us to do the same with the new Fiesta R2. We were the first to launch an R5 car and now we’re the first to launch a new 1.0 litre car in accordance with new regulations that allow such vehicles to compete in the R2 class. Engineering at M-Sport is going from strength to strength, and this is something that we are all immensely proud of.”
Head of Racing, Ford Performance Europe, Gerard Quinn, said: “I am delighted to have been involved in this project since its inception. Bringing together the respective development teams at Ford and M-Sport has resulted in another successful product collaboration. The Fiesta has a proven rally pedigree in several categories and won eight national rally championships in 2014 as well as the WRC2 title. Like the team involved in the development of the car, I am really proud of what we have achieved. The 1.0 litre EcoBoost engine is a truly remarkable engine and I cannot wait to see it competing on rally stages around the world.”
Head of Engineering, M-Sport, Chris Williams, said:
“This new Fiesta R2 is an evolution of the globally successful 1.6 version that sold close to 300 cars in 27 different countries. We’ve taken Ford’s award-winning Ecoboost engine and the fantastic Fiesta chassis and developed the car step-by-step in a number of different areas. Again, we have tried to balance cost with performance, but the most important thing is to have a car that is capable of being the fastest in its class.”