The 2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed officially kicked off today and will run through July 11th, 2021. As Ford Authority recently reported, The Blue Oval will switch things up a bit this year, by showing off an entirely electrified lineup at the event, and by having Ford CEO Jim Farley pilot one of those vehicles – specifically the Mustang Mach-E 1400 – up the legendary Goodwood Hill Climb. However, the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team recently announced another interesting bit of related news as part of the show: that the all-new Ford Puma Rally1 prototype is officially set to replace the Ford Fiesta WRC next year.
Although currently just a running development vehicle ahead of its official debut as a rally car, the Ford Puma Rally1 is being designed as a comprehensive and environmentally friendly performance vehicle that can help promote Ford of Europe’s ongoing pivot towards electrification. It accomplishes that task by operating as a plug-in hybrid, as the Ford 1.6L EcoBoost I4 works in conjunction with a 100 kW electric motor and a 3.9 kWh battery to help propel it on whatever course it’s being asked to navigate. The electric motor can use its maximum output to boost the Rally1 for up to three seconds during competitive driving events, and can do it multiple times, if needed.
Unlike The Blue Oval’s street-oriented plug-in hybrids, the Ford Puma Rally1 boasts a powertrain that is purpose-built for rally use. The battery can be recharged in about 25 minutes at service points between stages via an external power source. Additionally, the 95 kilogram (209 pound) hybrid system, which is liquid- and air-cooled, is housed in a ballistic grade casing to better protect it against debris and the g-forces that can come about in an accident.
“Ford is 100 per cent committed to an electrified future, and the white heat of competition has been responsible for many of the innovations that appear in our road cars today,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance. “The M-Sport Ford Puma Rally1 will put hybrid power to the ultimate test, and prove that the technology is capable of delivering thrilling performance.”
This reveal comes after uncertainty clouded the M-Sport Ford Rally Team’s future, as the organization previously stated it would ditch WRC if the adoption of hybrid powertrain technology got delayed. The incorporation of the Ford Puma Rally1 into its future is clearly why it had taken such a firm stance on the issue. All told, it will be interesting to see if the vehicle can live up to not only its street-focused counterpart, but also the Ford Fiesta WRC as well, which racked up an impressive number of victories during its tenure.