M-Sport is ready to begin production of the new Ford Fiesta Super 2000 rally car this week and construction of the first shell should be completed by Friday, it was announced today.
The car, which is based on the Ford Fiesta road car, has been confirmed as the vehicle which Ford will use to campaign the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship, replacing the Focus RS WRC.
Work began on the Fiesta S2000 in April and is currently said to be well on schedule, with the first engine due for installation at the end of this month.
"The Fiesta S2000 rally car is really starting to take shape now," said M-Sport managing director and BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally team boss, Malcolm Wilson. "We have been spurred on by the announcement last week of Ford's two-year commitment to the FIA World Rally Championship and the introduction of the Fiesta S2000 as its car to campaign the 2011 series."
The design of the vehicle has been led by technical director Christian Loriaux, the brains behind the record breaking Focus RS WRC and he is said to have applied the 'same design philosophy'.
"The knowledge gained from the development of the Focus RS WRC has gone into the design of the new Fiesta S2000 rally car, whilst still working within the new technical regulations laid out by the FIA," explained a statement from M-Sport.
One of the first areas to be finalised was the roll cage and the new-look cage is 5 per cent stiffer than the current Focus RS WRC design - delivering increased safety without incurring a weight penalty.
"M-Sport is a proven leader in roll cage design concepts, and we have put into practice all of our experience in the design for the new M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 rally car," Loriaux added.
"All of the design has now been completed and our excellent in-house facilities at Dovenby Hall have allowed us to challenge our theories through live testing. All aspects of the new car are progressing according to schedule and we are very pleased with the progress so far."
The car meanwhile will make its debut in the World Rally Championship next year, when it will be run in the new 'WRC Cup' for S2000 cars.
Wilson is looking forward to seeing what it can do, before it is used by the works Ford squad in 2011.
"Next year sees the introduction of the World Cup for S2000 cars within the World Rally Championship," he continued, "and this will give privateers and teams alike a real chance to challenge for victory in a new car which has been built with all our technical expertise and experience."