WATCH: Bye bye Fiesta, hello Puma: Ford is taking a hybrid to the world rally stage
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GOODWOOD, UK - The M-Sport Ford World Rally Team (WRT) has lifted the lid on its new Puma Rally1 rally car that will compete in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) from 2022. Making its public debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed yesterday, in the United Kingdom, the Puma Rally1 features a next-generation hybrid powertrain that combines the performance of a turbocharged 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol engine with a 100kW electric motor and 3.9kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
The new rally car is said to reflect Ford’s commitment to going all-in on electrification. The company earlier this year announced that 100 percent of its passenger vehicle range in Europe will be zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid by mid-2026; moving to all-electric by 2030.
The performance potential of the Puma Rally1 is being demonstrated on the famous Goodwood hillclimb, driven by M-Sport Ford WRT driver Adrien Fourmaux and M-Sport Ford test driver Matthew Wilson, before being used as a development car ahead of the 2022 season.
“Ford is 100 percent committed to an electrified future, and the white heat of competition has been responsible for many of the innovations that appear in our road cars today,” says Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance. “The M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1 will put hybrid power to the ultimate test, and prove that the technology is capable of delivering thrilling performance.”
The Puma Rally1’s hybrid system operates using similar principles to the Puma EcoBoost Hybrid (sadly not on sale in SA) road car. The powertrain captures energy normally lost during braking and coasting and stores it in a battery that can power an electric motor to enhance the road car’s fuel efficiency or provide a performance boost – in the case of Puma Rally1 as much as 100kW for multiple boosts of up to three seconds during competitive driving.
Like the plug-in hybrid technology available to Ford customers on vehicles including the Kuga Plug-In Hybrid, the battery pack can also be recharged using an external power source at service points between stages, with a recharge taking approximately 25 minutes. Weighing 95kg, the hybrid system is liquid- and air-cooled and housed in a ballistic-strength casing to resist the impact of debris and g-forces in the event of an accident.
FIA WRC Rally1 competitors will use a fossil-free fuel from the 2022 season, blending synthetic and bio-degradable elements to produce a fuel that is 100 percent sustainable.
Ford has been a continuous partner with M-Sport since 1997, securing seven FIA World Rally Championships and more than 1500 stage wins. The new Puma Rally1 will replace the M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC, which has secured three World Rally Championship titles since its introduction in 2017.
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