Ford Puma hybrid WRC rally car breaks cover ahead of 2022 season

If you had doubts about the future of motorsport being electric, prepare to meet the hybrid Puma Rally1 car. As it says on the tin, it’s an electrified rally car scheduled to compete in the FIA World Rally Championship from 2022. Developed by M-Sport Ford World Rally Team, the sporty plug-in hybrid crossover made its debut today at the 2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

At the heart of the Puma Rally1 is a turbocharged 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine feeding on biofuel and working together with an electric motor that develops 134 horsepower (100 kilowatts) and a battery pack with a 3.9-kWh capacity. The new rally car is a significant departure for M-Sport as aside from the adoption of a PHEV powertrain, it also switches the body style from the old Fiesta supermini used since 2011 to a crossover.

It’s worth noting the original Ford Puma was a sporty coupe that spawned a rally version, which competed in the early 2000s in the Junior WRC as well as other national series. In other words, the name has some motorsport credentials, albeit the moniker is the only thing that has been carried over from the original Puma.

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The Puma Rally1 will have an unspecified pure electric range that will help the team travel through cities and service parks between stages without emitting any emissions. Much like it’s the case with the road-going Puma and its hybrid powertrain, the WRC-spec version grabs the energy normally lost while braking and coasting and channels it to the battery to juice up the electric motor. Doing so not only improves efficiency, but also brings extra performance.

Ahead of its 2022 racing debut, the Ford Puma Rally1 will be driven by M-Sport’s current driver Adrien Fourmaux up the famous hill this week at the Goodwood FoS. He has been heavily involved in the vehicle’s development and will share the steering wheel with M-Sport’s test driver Matthew Wilson, son of team boss Malcolm.

Source: Ford

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