It will compete in the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship.
Earlier this year, Ford CEO Jim Farley posted a cryptic tweet that led us to believe that the attractive Ford Puma subcompact crossover could be coming to North America. We believe it would be a much better competitor than the EcoSport, but while the Puma hasn't materialized here yet, there is a new one that we can all get excited about.
The M-Sport Ford World Rally Team has just taken the covers off the new hybrid Puma Rally1 prototype. This rally car will take part in the FIA World Rally Championship from next year and represents a switch from the team's use of a Fiesta for the last few seasons.
Making its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK, the Puma Rally1 is an impressive piece of kit. It pairs a 1.6-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine with a 100-kW (134 horsepower) electric motor and a 3.9-kWh battery. The powertrain is able to capture energy that would typically be lost when braking or coasting, thereby storing this energy in the battery. This can provide multiple 100-kW boosts for periods of up to three seconds when competing.
The rally car's battery can be recharged in around 25 minutes and the hybrid system is both liquid- and air-cooled. To manage the high loads that it will be subjected to, the system is set in a ballistic-strength casing.
The Puma Rally1 prototype has no chance of being mistaken for a road-going Puma. Its shouty bodywork includes a giant rear wing, large multispoke wheels, and bold Ford branding.
"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," said Mark Rushbrook, global director at Ford Performance.
Ford and M-Sport have been partners since 1997 and have won seven FIA World Rally Championships, three of which were achieved by the M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC that the new Puma Rally1 replaces.