There are some big changes coming to the World Rally Championship in 2022, with new regulations requiring the fitment of a hybrid powertrain to supplement the current 1,6-litre turbopetrol engines, which must now run on sustainable fossil-free fuel.
Hyundai has already revealed its new WRC contender in prototype form, and this week Ford joined in the fun by pulling the covers off its new contender at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The first thing you’ll notice is that Ford’s WRC rally car no longer takes the form of a Fiesta. In fact, you can’t even call it a hatchback anymore. Indeed, the new Rally1 model is based around the Puma crossover SUV, which was launched in road-going form in 2019 (although we have yet to see it in South Africa).
The Puma’s new plug-in hybrid drivetrain pairs a 1,6-litre EcoBoost engine with a 100 kW electric motor and a 3,9 kWh battery. The new rally cars will be able to travel through towns, cities and service parks, between stages, using electric power only.
“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,” said Ford M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson OBE. “The switch to the Puma is very exciting with the name already having rally heritage, the car looks fantastic and I cannot wait to see it at the start line of the famous Monte Carlo Rally in early 2022.”
The Puma Rally1 prototype will make its dynamic debut on the legendary Goodwood hill climb, driven by M-Sport drivers Adrien Fourmaux and Matthew Wilson. Following that, the prototype will be used as a development car ahead of next year’s WRC season.