M-Sport commits to hybrid WRC future
Long-standing relationship with Ford to continue into WRC’s hybrid era, guaranteeing jobs and the team’s top-tier status in the championship M-Sport has confirmed its ongoing relationship with Ford, and its continued presence in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), with the news that it will develop, build and run the manufacturer’s next-generation hybrid contender.
Work had already been going on behind the scenes to develop the new electrified car for the 2022 season, but this announcement strengthens M-Sport’s close relationship with Ford, and secures skilled jobs at its Dovenby Hall headquarters in Cumbria. Having invested in the construction of an on-site test track and expanded manufacturing facilities, it is a vindication of Malcom Wilson’s vision to create a world-class high-tech business in the heart of his native Cumbria, opening up opportunities in the region and creating his own northern motorsport powerhouse in the process.
As a former factory driver himself, there is also considerable pride in being integral to Ford’s move into the hybrid era. “It’s always been important for our sport to move with the times, and this commitment to hybrid technology aligns the future of rallying with Ford’s global commitment towards a more sustainable future,” says Wilson. “As the toughest championship for production-based cars, the FIA World Rally Championship provides the perfect platform to test, develop and promote the latest road car technology – making this development integral to the relevance and continuation of our sport.”
It is also good news for Ford, meaning it has a trusted partner at a time of big changes for the sport and wider car industry. “The WRC’s transition from pure internal combustion engine powertrains to hybrid technology comes at an opportune time for Ford,” confirms Mark Rushbrook, Global Director for Ford Performance.
“The company is rapidly moving towards an electrified future, developing hybrid and electric vehicle technology for our newest passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles around the world. Running a hybrid Rally 1 car next season will enable us to test and demonstrate this technology in the thrilling spectacle that is WRC, and we can’t wait to show you what it can do!”
The drivers are also looking forward to the new car, Brit Gus Greensmith telling us in previous interview that although his attention is focused on his 2021 WRC campaign, the new rules come at a good moment for the team.
“Every time M-Sport builds a new car it’s always the fastest,” he told us, clearly hopeful that the hybrid era offers an opportunity to get back on terms with Toyota and Hyundai and add to the seven world championships and 61 WRC victories the M-Sport and Ford partnership has already delivered.