The Ford Puma will be used as the basis for the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s upcoming challenger in the 2022 World Rally Championship (WRC). Next year will see the WRC cars switch to hybrid powertrains and the Puma Rally1 will replace the successful Fiesta WRC racer.
The Ford Puma Rally1 will take on the Hyundai i20 N rally car and Toyota’s Yaris-based challenger in the championship.
- Ford Puma Rally1 to replace Fiesta racer at M-Sport
- Will take on Hyundai’s i20 N hybrid rally car
M-Sport to compete in WRC with a Ford Puma
M-Sport unveiled a prototype of the new machine at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The rules retain the current 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engines, but add a standard spec 136hp hybrid electric motor, powered by a 3.9kWh battery. The cars will also run on sustainable fossil-free fuel.
The Cumbrian-based squad has run the Fiesta WRC since 2011, when it was Ford’s global WRC team. Although it has been a privateer squad since 2012, it has maintained close ties with Ford, which is keen to showcase the performance credentials of both the Puma crossover and its hybrid technology.
M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson said: “The new era of WRC cars is one of the biggest technological advancements in WRC to date. The introduction of the hybrid means that the cars will be more powerful than ever, whilst also directly reflecting the powertrains within their road-going counterparts.”
He described the switch to the Puma as “very exciting”, noting that the nameplate has a rally history. A two-wheel-drive rally version of the original Puma was a front-runner in the Junior WRC in the early 2000s.
"The switch to the Puma is very exciting, with the name already having rally heritage," he said. "The car looks fantastic, and I cannot wait to see it at the start line of the famous Monte Carlo Rally in early 2022."
2022 WRC hybrid rules
All WRC entrants must use an electrified powertrain from 2022 onwards, with the electric motor used for engine-off driving in the paddock and on road sections. It is one of a series of wide-reaching revisions for top-flight rally cars in 2022, with other changes mostly aimed at improving crash protection and body rigidity.
M-Sport has committed to the new WRC technical regulations for the next three seasons.