The Fiesta is an important car for Malcolm Wilson OBE and his M-Sport rally team. It’s their most successful global rally car, with more than 250 examples of the outgoing Fiesta R5 in competition, so the announcement of a new R5 is a big deal. And this is no gentle evolution of the formula, but a comprehensive clean-sheet design. The 1.6-litre EcoBoost, wearing the 32mm restrictor mandated by the regulations, puts out a competitive 295bhp and 350lb.ft, and it’s got the top-flight chassis with which to deploy it: all-new Macpherson struts work with redesigned Reiger three-way dampers, their aluminium bodies saving crucial weight.
Forged Brembo four-pots provide mighty stopping power, and the new Sadev sequential gearbox works in harmony with hardcore front and rear diff units. “We have taken our time to ensure this new model is even better, with performance gains in every area,” said Wilson. “The test programme has been extensive, and we have worked hard to ensure this new car suits every level of driver. We have quite literally travelled the world – testing on a wide range of surfaces, in varying conditions, and with a whole host of drivers taking the wheel. This car is extremely important to us, and its adaptability is vital to its success.”
Alongside the R5, M-Sport has also introduced the new Fiesta R1. This is based on the roadgoing ST-Line, and acts as the ideal car for people beginning a career in rallying. The 999cc EcoBoost delivers 150bhp and 148lb.ft, and the spec is as headline-grabbing as you’d expect from M-Sport: Sadev sequential ’box, plate-type LSD, and adjustable Bilstein dampers with Eibach springs. This is the second model to be developed at M-Sport Poland’s Krakow headquarters. “As the first step on the ladder, the Fiesta R1 is the perfect car for those first starting out in a career in rally,” said M-Sport Poland director Maciek Woda. “It’s in this car that the stars of the future learn the skills that can take them to the very highest level. The same car can be easily upgraded to the latest R2 specification when ready, before progressing to the Ford Fiesta R5 and maybe even WRC!”
Expect to see these new motorsport Fiesta models dominating their respective classes in the very near future.