“Dominant” is one word that springs to mind when considering the Ford Fiesta’s performance in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship (GRC). Going into the 2014 season, the supermini was responsible for three driver’s championships and three manufacturer’s championships, each claimed consecutively since the series’ launch in 2011. In 2013, the Fiesta won nine of the 10 scheduled races and claimed 22 of the 30 available podium spots. Last year, this American-bred hatchback added to its already impressive record with yet another driver’s championship, another manufacturer’s championship, three race wins, and 18 podiums.

Of the six different teams flying under a blue oval in the 2014 GRC season, Sweden’s Olsbergs MSE was undoubtedly the best. While other Fords contributed to the automaker’s overall series supremacy, it’s only Olsbergs MSE that can currently boast a four-peat championship drive, with Tanner Foust crowned winner in 2011 and 2012, followed by Toomas Heikkinen in 2013, and Joni Wiman in 2014.

The Fiesta has a long history of rally competition success, with different versions of the party-maker entered in series both nationally and internationally. But somehow, it’s the Olsbergs MSE Fiesta that comes out on top every time at GRC.

So, what is it that makes this Fiesta ST so successful? Part of it is the talent behind the wheel, which in 2014, included Patrik Sandell, Brian Deegan, Nelson Piquet Jr., and the new reigning champion, Joni Wiman. The other half of the equation is the team itself, which works closely with Ford to develop the Fiesta ST platform to its utmost potential. Olsbergs MSE is also responsible for a variety of GRC Supercar Lites, which extends its competition knowledge even further.

Like any good racing team, Olsbergs MSE is always in development, constantly building on past successes, solidifying its lead around a competitive field hungry for victory. Simply put, it’s a philosophy that translates into trophies.

Click past the jump to read more about the Ford Fiesta ST Olsbergs MSE.

  • 2015 Ford Fiesta ST Olsbergs MSE
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    560 @ 6400
  • Torque @ RPM:
    620 @ 4000
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    2 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    500000 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Ford Fiesta ST Olsbergs MSE Exterior
- image 611261

The Olsbergs MSE rallycross champion sports an updated body that imitates the bodylines found on the Mk. VII three-door Fiesta ST. However, the body panels are made from super-strong and super-lightweight composites to resist the copious amount of fender rubbing seen in each GRC match.

The rest of the car is built equally tough and feathery. For example, the Swedish team worked closely with Motegi Racing to create custom wheels, which are “designed to sit flush with the car, decreasing the risk of broken wheels from contact.” They also decrease rotational mass and can withstand the rigors of repeated 70-foot jumps.

Total weight for the Ford comes to a minimum of 2,866 pounds, which includes the driver.

Interior

2015 Ford Fiesta ST Olsbergs MSE Interior
- image 611267

The office for the Olsbergs MSE Fiesta is as you would expect, with bucket seats, racing harnesses, and a chrome-molly roll cage to protect the occupant should he find himself suddenly running out of talent. An AIM digital information readout sits in a carbon-fiber dash directly behind the removable steering wheel, feeding through all vital numbers and figures. Rising above a large layout of switches and buttons in the center console, you’ll find a hydraulic handbrake and sequential gearshift lever to round out all necessary driver inputs. Oh yeah, there are some pedals too. But that’s pretty much it.

Drivetrain

2015 Ford Fiesta ST Olsbergs MSE Exterior
- image 611263

The screaming heart of this race car is a 16-valve, turbocharged, 2.0-liter, Duratec-HE four-cylinder with an Olsbergs MD head. The team is partnered with Mountune to help calibrate engine parameters for absolute reliability and as much performance as possible. Performance parts include a Pectel ECU, Tibuc inlet manifold, PWR intercooler, Magnaflow exhaust, and a titanic Garrett boost-maker. These reportedly add up to 560 brake horsepower at 6,400 rpm (although peak power is probably closer to 600), and 620 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. 0-to-60 is achieved in around two seconds

Putting that power to the ground is eased with a permanent four-wheel-drive system, complimented by no less than three limited-slip differentials. Either a Sadev six-speed sequential tranny, or five-speed Maktrack tranny is used, depending on gearing needs, while an Alcon three-plate carbon clutch keeps it all connected.

The 2014 GRC season saw the implementation of a new radial tire from Yokohama, which is a surprisingly big change for a race car. New tires can have a cascading effect on general suspension set-ups, but luckily, Olsbergs MSE was able to keep the overall geometry unchanged. The team instead focused on maximizing traction for the dual-surfaces upon which the new compound would run. Finding the right balance between dirt and tarmac grip, while compensating for large jumps and variable track configurations, is not an easy task, but the Olsbergs MSE Fiesta seems to handle it without much fuss.

Competition

Volkswagen Polo

no article Exterior
- image 611789

Despite four race victories, 553 total points scored, and two former GRC Champions on its driver roster, VW just couldn’t compete with the Ford swarm of 2014. Still, the Polos did clench a second place overall in the manufacturer’s championship, which is impressive given the fact that just four Polos ran for the season, two of which only competed in the second round. Backed by Andretti Autosport, VW driver Scott Speed finished third in 2014, just behind Ken Block, another blue oval driver under Hoonigan Racing Division. Realistically, the Polo is the only non-Ford entrant with a decent shot at taking down the unflappable Olsberg MSE Fiestas.
*Gallery is of the standard Volkswagen Polo, not the GRC model*

Subaru WRX STi GRC

2015 Subaru WRX STI GRC Exterior AutoShow
- image 549494

When it comes to building a catalog of rallying icons, you’d be remiss to exclude the STi. It’s a model built specifically for the job, with a long list of past victories to back it. Unfortunately, that list does not include a whole lot of success in the GRC. However, this Japanese pocket-rocket remains strong in the running, scoring third in the manufacturer’s championship and fifth in the driver’s championship for 2014. With X Games stars Bucky Lasek and Travis Pastrana at the wheel, plus Britain’s David Higgins and Norway’s Sverre Isachsen, you can be sure this fan-favorite group of underdogs will be back with a vengeance.

Conclusion

2015 Ford Fiesta ST Olsbergs MSE Exterior
- image 611266

In racing, winning means you’re doing something right. But even with Olsberg MSE’s impressive record, the slightest complacency is all that’s needed to lose the lead. Once it’s gone, getting it back is much more difficult.

The 2015 GRC season, set to begin May 31 in St. Petersburg, Florida, will once again test this Swedish team’s mettle, pitting its half-million dollar hyper-hatchbacks in some of the scrappiest, most exciting racing currently televised. Last year, Ken Block very nearly toppled the Olsbergs MSE dynasty. What will happen this year?

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Press Release

Although Ford Racing has enjoyed tremendous success in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship (GRC) since its inception, the organization is well aware that even greater focus and commitment will be required in 2014 to maintain that level of success.

During the three-year existence of GRC, Ford Racing has set a high standard, claiming three driver and three manufacturer championships. In addition, the manufacturer has registered 16 race wins in 19 events and 19 X Games medals. Last season, Ford won nine of the 10 series races and claimed 22-of-27 podium spots overall.

However, 2014 is another year with new challenges.

"We believe in constant evolution of our vehicles to make them faster every season," said Olsbergs MSE (OMSE) team owner Andreas Eriksson. "We’re confident in the Ford Fiesta ST platform and we expect to extend our winning streak with Ford in 2014."

Complacency was not an option for Eriksson, who knew that advancements needed to be made in order to continue to find success within the series. The combination of enhancements in the Fiesta ST Supercar and changes in series regulations created an opportunity for improvement that had to be carefully managed and executed.

A few areas of focus included:

Suspension — The Fiesta ST Supercars suspension was an area of significant development with the series changing the spec tire from a bias ply tire to a radial Yokohama tire. That’s a big change for all the teams and drivers and OMSE dedicated a significant amount of off-season testing to maximize grip on both tarmac and gravel, a challenge unique to rallycross.

Engine — The OMSE Ford Fiesta ST produces 600 hp and 600 ft-lbs of torque from a turbocharged 2.0L engine. OMSE worked very closely with team partner Mountune to maximize performance through engine calibration while maintaining engine reliability.

Wheels — The team worked with partner Motegi Racing to develop a lightweight, rallycross-specific wheel designed to sit flush with the car, decreasing the risk of broken wheels from contact. This year’s version reduces rotational mass and is strengthened to handle the unique demands of rallycross.

Body — The Ford Racing OMSE factory Supercars will have a refined look for 2014. Although the geometry is very similar to last year’s car, OMSE has updated the look to more closely reflect the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST styling.

Ford Racing knows that innovation goes hand in hand with success and has been working closely with OMSE engineers and technicians during this process, and both sides are hoping the combination of Eriksson’s expertise and Ford performance will continue to provide the recipe for success.

“The combination of Ford Racing, Fiesta ST and OMSE has been a pretty potent one over the last few years. The preparation, effort, and most importantly, the dedication the entire team has put into the development of this year’s 2014 Fiesta ST GRC puts us in a great position to build on that success,” said Scott Denby, marketing and strategy manager, Ford Racing. “We know this year will be the toughest championship fight yet, but we feel pretty good about our chances. We are ready.”

The new OMSE powered Ford Fiesta ST will make its Red Bull GRC debut May 18-19 in Barbados with drivers, Patrik Sandell, Joni Wiman, Brian Deegan, and Nelson Piquet Jr.

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