The M-Sport Ford Rally team has finally debuted its hybrid prototype, the Puma Rally1. This car will replace the beloved M-Sport Ford Fiesta in upcoming WRC seasons, now that the competition is moving on to partial EV drivetrains.
When the WRC announced that its cars would be partially electrified, three teams were all in on hybrid power. Toyota, Hyundai and M-Sport Ford signed on. We learned some details about the new machines and their drivetrains, but M-Sport was coy with what model it’d use for its hybrid car. From its cryptic photos, it was unclear what the team was building until now. Farewell, Fiesta. Hello, Puma:
The Puma Rally1 combines one of Ford’s EcoBoost engines with the WRC-specced electric drivetrain, per M-Sport:
Making its global public debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, West Sussex, U.K., the M‑Sport Ford Puma Rally1 features a next-generation hybrid powertrain that seamlessly combines the performance of a championship-winning, turbocharged 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol engine with a sophisticated 100 kW electric motor and 3.9 kWh battery.
M-Sport is not sharing the output figures of the EcoBoost engine yet, since this is still in its prototype stage, but the electric motor will stick to specs outlined by the WRC. That motor will make about 134 horsepower and 133 lb-ft of torque.
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The debut of this Puma Rally1 makes sense for two reasons. The first is that M-Sport says the Puma already has rally heritage, and that much is true. The other notable reason, I think, is hinted at by Ford’s EV lineup in the UK.
There, the Ford Puma and Kuga are available as hybrids, so the Puma Rally1 is something of a souped-up production car that the company can show off, as the team describes:
The Puma Rally1’s hybrid system operates using similar principles to the Puma EcoBoost Hybrid 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 100 kW 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 95 kg, 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.
Overall, this new rally machine will carry the torch for Ford in the WRC and show off what the company’s hybrids are capable of when you put a world-class motorsport team behind them.