Although the Ford Fiesta only went on sale in the United States recently, Ford has delivered just shy of one million copies of its subcompact around the world since 2008. Today at the Paris Motor Show, Ford unveiled a sportier version of the popular hatchback, which will serve as its 2011 World Rally Championship contender: the Fiesta RS.
Based on a standard, two-door Fiesta hatchback, Ford's rally car builder M-Sport stripped the car and completely rebuilt it to WRC specifications. As expected, front and rear fenders were widened to fit the larger wheels and tires, while a complete body kit helps the hatch slice through the air with less resistance. Its hood, roof panel, and rear spoiler have also been modified to redirect air. Inside, Ford insists the car will remain fitted with several production components in order to bear a resemblance to a production Fiesta.
"We've worked hard to ensure the car is undoubtedly related to the best-selling Fiesta road car," said Gerard Quinn, Ford of Europe's head of motorsports. "We can't wait to debut our official car in the hugely demanding World Rally Championship next year."
In order to conform to the FIA's 2011 WRC engine size regulations, Ford ditched its 2.0-liter powerplant in favor of a 1.6-liter I-4. The new, smaller, turbocharged engine is based on the same 1.6-liter engine found in European Fiestas, and could produce up to 300 horsepower. Unlike a dealership-spec Fiesta, the WRC contender will feature a full roll cage and all-wheel drive.
Final testing is being carried out by the teams as the new Fiesta RS prepares for its rally debut at the start of the 2011 WRC at Rally Sweden next February.