2017 Ford Fiesta WRC
It’s mean, it’s powerful, and it’s ready for 2017by Robert Moore, on
Ford ushered in a new generation of the Fiesta for 2017, with a focus on new looks, lots of interior amenities, new drivetrain options, and a desire to be the absolute best hatchback out there. As is the usual case with sporty little hatchbacks that go through a generational change, the new model is also making its way into sporting events, and in this case, we’re talking about WRC. The model you see here is M-Sports fighter for the 2017 FIA WRC season, and it comes complete with all of the goodies afforded by new FIA regulations that allow more power, better performance, new technology, and a unique look for each car.
According to the accompanying press release, 95 percent of this WRC racer has been designed from scratch and, while it’s based on the road-going Fiesta, there is little about this car that is stock. It’s got 380 horsepower on tap, new fully adjustable suspension, and at least 35 liters or 1.23 cubic feet of energy-absorbing foam over the current model. M-Sport’s Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, Said, “Entering a new era in the FIA World Rally Championship, there is a real sense of excitement throughout the team, and rightly so as I believe we have created something extremely special in the new Ford Fiesta WRC. Having driven the car myself, I can honestly say that it is one of the most impressive we have ever produced. It’s exciting to drive; it sounds fantastic, and it looks absolutely sensational.”
With that said, M-Sport has clearly put a lot of work into its WRC racer for the 2017 season, so let’s dive on in a take a better look at it.
2017 Ford Fiesta WRC
As you can see from the images here, this Fiesta Rally Racer is far more extreme than the M-Sport model that it replaces and far more aggressive than the road-going Fiesta. Notice how sharp the fender flares and character lines on the front fascia are? Or how about the flatness to the rear wheel flares and side skirts? This is done to provide ample downforce to help keep this baby on all fours as it rally’s around. Compared to road-going model and last years WRC racer, the front grille is much larger than before and takes on a different styling while the air dam now makes up about 70 percent of the lower fascia. As such, there aren’t any corner air vents in the fascia. The headlights have more tint to them before now that the inner workings are a bit smaller, while the vents on the front hood have remained the same size but are oriented a little different. The scoop on the roof is a little taller, wider, and sits right on the top edge of the windshield.
This Fiesta Rally Racer is far more extreme than the M-Sport model that it replaces and far more aggressive than the road-going Fiesta.
As is the case with WRC cars, the side-view mirrors have been moved farther back to the midpoint of the doors. Down below the side skirts are insanely evident and much more stylish and aggressive than the road-going model and the outgoing racer. With an emphasis on downforce, the skirts are flat and function while providing a wildly sexy look. There is a small vent in the wheel arch flares fo the rear wheels that will allow some air to travel through to the rear wheels.
Around back, we see an insane evolution of that rear spoiler. On the last model, it was large, but nowhere near as aggressive. This spoiler looks like a mutation of a Subaru STI spoiler with some extra fins, harsh curvature, and a wider look. Down below, you find the same hatch door and taillights of the road-going model, but to each side, there is a massive rear vent that allows air flow-through from the smaller vents ahead of the rear wheels. Down at the very bottom, a wicked diffuser unit sits just inches off the ground and houses a small exhaust outlet right in the center. Needless to say, this is the most aggressive Fiesta WRC yet, and it’s sure to be a blast to watch when the 2017 season kicks off.
Little is known about the interior of the Fiesta WRC, but you can expect the usual appointments for a rally car. There is a T45 steel roll cage that is welded to the car’s chassis for maximum support in the event of a rollover. It is all features door sill reinforcements for a little extra safety. Sparco seats will be used to help keep the pilot and co-pilot in place and are wrapped in that energy absorbing foam that I mentioned earlier. Apparently, this foam increases energy management figures from some 20 percent.
Note: Interior of a previous Fiesta WRC pictured here.
There is a T45 steel roll cage that is welded to the car's chassis for maximum support in the event of a rollover. It is all features door sill reinforcements for a little extra safety.
The car is equipped with twin screens in the dash that provide all important information and map data to the drivers while engineers on the sidelines will receive on-the-fly data from the chassis and drivetrain systems for real-time diagnostics and development. With that said, the only other items worth mentioning here is the standard safety equipment that should include a fire suppression system, fuel and power shutoff systems, and five-point racing harnesses for the driver and passenger. If we get a good look at the interior we’ll be sure to provide a good look, but until that happens, we’ll just have to wait for the onboard footage from next year to get a decent look.
As I mentioned earlier, FIA regulations allow for more power and better performance. As such, the new Fiesta WRC comes with a 1.6-liter (1600cc) EcoBoost four-cylinder that delivers 380 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. The engine uses direct injection and a turbocharging system that has a 36 mm restrictor in place (this is up from 33 mm last year). Shifting duties are handled by a newly-designed six-speed sequential transmission that uses a multi-disc clutch and hydraulic shifting. Power is routed through an active center differential that Ford claims can offer enhanced control and performance. To put this into perspective a bit, the 2016 M-Sport Fiesta RS WRC had just 300 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, with a 33 mm inlet restrictor and an M-Sport / X-Trac six-speed sequential transmission. It also had a permanent four-wheel drive with mechanical front and rear differentials. Needless to say, this model is a huge departure from anything we saw last year in WRC.
The new Fiesta WRC comes with a 1.6-liter (1600cc) EcoBoost four-cylinder that delivers 380 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque.
On the suspension front, the car is equipped with MacPherson struts and Reiger external reservoir dampers that provide full adjustability in bump and rebound. To help keep momentum in check when needed, you’ll find ventilated disc brakes in the front and rear to go with four-piston monoblock calipers that are unique to this specific car. Not a bad touch for a car that’s sure to take quite a beating in the 2017 WRC season.
Toyota hasn’t been in WRC since 1999, but this year it’s taking advantage of the new FIA regulations and has turned its resident hatchback into a full-fledged rally car. I’m, of course, talking about the Toyota Yaris, but this isn’t your neighbors Yaris; no – this thing is as extreme as they come. It is powered by a 1.6-liter four-banger that pumps out 375 horsepower and 313 pound-feet. It lacks a little bit of power over the Fiesta WRC, but it does sport a six-speed sequential gearbox and has an all-wheel drive system. It makes use of a mechanical differential on each axle and an active center diff that allows power distribution management between the front and rear wheels as needed. The brakes are liquid cooled; there’s a massive rear spoiler, and it’s the most aggressive Yaris you’ll probably ever see. All told, it should be interesting to see how the Yaris competes with the rest of the competition.
Read more about the Toyota Yaris WRC here.
With the new FIA regulations, the 2017 season is shaping up to be a fuel-driven party like we’ve never seen before. Cars are now more powerful than ever and will feature their own unique looks thanks to the new regulations. As such, this season will also be the most excited. Few 2017 models built to the new specifications have been announced thus far, but older models are still able to run, albeit without the upgraded modifications made available to new models. That should actually help to keep things more interesting, but we’ll just have to see what happens. Surely, this Ford Fiesta will be tearing up the track and will hopefully help M-Sport achieve the success it’s seen in the past. I don’t know about you, but we’ll be watching from the edges of our seats.