Ford Puma Plug-In Hybrid to tackle 2022 World Rally Championship


While other forms of motorsport have grown and declined for Ford over the past few decades, two that have been fairly consistent are NASCAR and rallying. While NASCAR is pretty much a phenomenon exclusive to the United States, rallying is popular pretty much everywhere else on the planet. For the 2022 edition of the FIA ​​World Rally Championship, Ford is preparing a brand new competitor with its M-Sport partners, the Puma Rally1 with a new plug-in hybrid powertrain.

For those reading this outside of Europe, the current Puma is Ford’s subcompact crossover, not to be confused with the subcompact coupe of the same name from the late 1990s. The Puma is based on the same architecture as the Fiesta and takes over from this model in the WRC.

The WRC is undergoing a major overhaul for 2022 with a new class structure known as the FIA ​​Rally Pyramid. At the top of the pyramid is the Rally1 class where competitors will compete for the world championship and the base of the pyramid is Rally5 with lower cost and high performance machines for entry level competitors.

The new Rally1 class brings substantial changes from the old World Rally Car format with greater use of standardized components such as a common safety cell to keep costs under control. The biggest change is the adoption of a hybrid system like many other top categories in motorsport, from Formula 1 to IndyCars 2023 and the upcoming LMDh cars for the IMSA Weathertec Challenge and the World Endurance Championship. .

Like the IndyCars and LMDh machines, Rally1 uses a standardized hybrid system supplied by Compact Dynamics. It has a 100 kW electric motor and a 3.9 kWh lithium-ion battery with connection capacity. Electric propulsion will be combined in the Puma with a 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. Rally1 cars must run on electricity when traveling in the service park and when traveling in populated areas between stages. They will also be allowed to use the hybrid to improve their performance at different times of the stages.

While other automakers have driven hybrid machines, mostly in Formula 1 and the World Endurance Championship, this will be Ford’s first attempt at an electrified race car. They are also the first plug-in hybrid racing cars to compete in a major championship.

The Ford Puma Rally1 prototype has already been tested for several months with the body of the current Fiesta WRC. From July 8-10 it will make its public debut in the Puma bodywork at the Goodwood Festival of Speed ​​in the UK along with other electrified Fords including the Mach-E GT and Mach-E 1400 that CEO Jim Farley will compete in hill climb. .


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