Ford has taken a significant step forward in the development of the Fiesta RS WRC, its next generation World Rally Car which takes over from the Focus in time for the start of next season.
Team director Malcolm Wilson has admitted for the first time that the all-new 1.6-liter turbocharged engine which will be used in next year's Fiesta RS WRC is up and running on a test bench at the team's headquarters in Cumbria. With technical regulations only recently confirmed, the new motor is the last part of Ford's new car to come together. But Wilson is confident the engine will be in the car as planned in the late summer.
"There has been a version of the engine running at M-Sport for the last few weeks," he said. "There's a lot of work to do and the engine is evolving all the time.
"We're working on the solutions for various aspects, so this is by no means the final version of the engine that we will run in the car. We're working on things like the fuel pressure, which is going to run at 200-bar instead of six or seven bar of pressure, which we have in the current car."
Wilson added that he expected the final version of the engine to be ready in the next couple of months.
"I would say it's going to be July or August when we have the engine pretty much done in the workshop, and then we'll look to have it in the car in September, as planned," he said.
The chassis work is already well under way for the Fiesta RS WRC, with the car running a very similar specification as the Fiesta Super 2000 car which is dominating this year's Super 2000 World Rally Championship.
In readiness for running a more powerful engine, the Fiesta RS WRC chassis has already run with the current two-liter turbocharged engine to test the reliability and performance of key transmission parts.