The blue oval is one of three brands alongside Toyota and Hyundai currently represented in rallying’s top tier through its long-standing partnership with British operation M-Sport.
Ford renewed its commitment to the WRC by agreeing to help M-Sport develop the all-new Ford Puma designed to compete in the WRC’s new Rally1 hybrid regulations, introduced last year.
Ford Performance and its expertise in the US continue to assist M-Sport in developing the Puma that is undertaking its second season in the WRC this year, driven by Ott Tanak and Pierre-Louis Loubet.
Speaking following the announcement of Ford’s return to F1 as an engine supplier to Red Bull Racing, global director Mark Rushbrook said the move won’t affect its current involvement in WRC, as well as its global motorsport programmes, which include NASCAR, Supercars and sportscar racing.
Coincidentally, M-Sport is currently backed by drinks giant Red Bull.
«What I can say is, our motorsports plan based upon this, this [F1 return] was an independent decision,» said Rushbrook when asked about Ford’s future involvement in WRC.
«We are very committed to motorsports globally. We have changed our strategy in terms of focus on Mustang in all different levels of racing around the world and off-road racing with the Bronco, Ranger, and we include the Puma as a Rally1 and the full pyramid of Fiestas underneath it as part of our off-road strategy.
«And now Formula 1, which gives us maybe the most global reach out of all of those, and even more electrification, which is now the fourth pillar.
«We have those four pillars as part of our motorsport cycle plan and we have no intent to change any of the current programmes that we have.»
Adrien Fourmaux, Alexandre Coria, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Fiesta Rally2
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
The WRC is expected to unveil its revamped Rally1 regulations, which will come into play from 2025 onwards, within the next two months.
The rules are expected to be an evolution of the current regulations but with an expanded use of the current 100kW Compact Dynamics hybrid unit.
It is hoped that these regulations will ensure the WRC keeps its current brands and attracts a new car maker to the championship.
Outside of its commitment to Rally1, Ford’s passion for rallying has resulted in the manufacturer becoming a key player in trying to establish a WRC round in the USA.
Speaking at the WRC’s opening round in Monte Carlo last month, WRC event director Simon Larkin revealed that plans for Rally USA are reaching a critical point, and an event could join the calendar next year.