It’s mean, it’s powerful, and it’s ready for 2017

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.

Exterior

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.

2017 Ford Fiesta WRC High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Ford Fiesta WRC High Resolution Exterior
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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.

Interior

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.

2011 Ford Fiesta RS WRC High Resolution Interior
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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.

Drivetrain

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.

Competition

Toyota Yaris WRC

2015 Toyota Yaris WRC High Resolution Exterior
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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.

Conclusion

2017 Ford Fiesta WRC High Resolution Exterior
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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.

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Press Release

Embarking on a new era in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), we introduce the Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC – an innovation based on the new-for-2017 road-going Fiesta which will spearhead M-Sport’s challenge throughout next year’s eagerly anticipated season.

Designed to next-generation technical regulations implemented by the FIA, the Fiesta WRC ushers in the latest technology in world rally cars.

Despite being built to this new set of regulations, the class of 2017 evoke images which hark back to the Group B days of old and M-Sport’s latest creation retains a strong pedigree – sharing a platform with Europe’s number one best-selling small car.

Based on the recently-unveiled, all-new, road-going Ford Fiesta, the Fiesta WRC derives its performance and style from a car beloved on both the road and the stage.

2017 Ford Fiesta WRC High Resolution Exterior
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Since its introduction into the sport, the Fiesta – in its various guises as R1, R2, R5, S2000 and WRC – has become rallying’s most successful model with countless victories and championship laurels around the globe.

This year alone, the Ford Fiesta R5 claimed an impressive 159 outright victories – that’s more than any other R5 – as well as countless class wins and a second successive FIA European Rally Championship.

Designed from a completely clean-sheet of paper, M-Sport’s latest challenger adds another string to the Fiesta’s impressive bow and the development team are confident of making a return to the top step of the podium.

Looking the part, a fully CFD designed aerodynamic bodyshell features a front and rear splitter, dive planes and impressive rear wing which gives the Fiesta WRC a striking visual design.

2017 Ford Fiesta WRC High Resolution Exterior
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More spectacular and more powerful than its predecessor, the top-specification Fiesta has undergone a complete redesign and 95 percent of the car has been designed from scratch to deliver more power, and more mechanical grip.

Producing 380 bhp and 450 Nm of torque from its bespoke Ecoboost-powered 1600cc direct injection engine and 36 mm inlet restrictor, the sound has to be heard to be believed.

A newly-designed six-speed sequential gearbox with hydraulic shift runs alongside a multi-disc clutch and an active centre differential offers enhanced control and performance.

Evolving further, redesigned MacPherson struts with Reiger external reservoir dampers are fully adjustable in bump and rebound, while ventilated brake discs with unique four-piston monoblock calipers provide the stopping power.

2017 Ford Fiesta WRC High Resolution Exterior
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Full chassis and engine data acquisition allows our engineers to conduct on-event diagnostics and performance development, while twin-dash screens for both driver and co-driver keep our crews on track.

Improved safety has also formed a key part of the Fiesta WRC’s development. A T45 steel rollcage is welded to the chassis with structural door sill reinforcements.

The presence of enhanced energy absorbing foam has also been significantly increased from 60 litres to a minimum of 95 litres. The crew’s Sparco seats are cocooned by this foam and energy management figures have increased by as much as 20 percent.

Needless to say, a new and exciting era is almost upon us. Having racked up 6,392 kilometres of testing with more to follow next week, the Fiesta WRC is ready to tackle some of the most arduous and demanding stages that the FIA World Rally Championship has to offer.

M-Sport 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.

“Every team is starting on an equal footing and I’m confident that we have produced another car which is capable of challenging – and winning – at the very highest level.

“More than 95 percent has been designed from scratch and our team has had whatever they’ve wanted to build the best possible car. No expense has been spared, and we start the 2017 season with one goal in mind – returning to the top step of the podium.”

M-Sport Head of Engineering, Chris Williams, said:

“A tremendous amount of effort, passion and enthusiasm has gone into this project and there has been a real commitment from our entire team.

“Designing a brand new car from a completely clean sheet of paper has allowed our team to re-evaluate every single component to produce the lightest and most innovative car possible.

“We’ve pushed the physical boundaries in all areas and have some very interesting things going on underneath the surface that we are sure are unique to this car and have already improved performance significantly in testing.

“It’s not been an easy ride, but everyone realised how much potential this car has early on and that has given us the energy to keep on pushing flat out.”

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