This is Ford’s new-generation, hybrid Puma WRC car | Top Gear
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Monday 20th March

This is Ford’s new-generation, hybrid Puma WRC car

The 2022 World Rally Championship kicks off next week, and Ford has unveiled its wild contender

Published: 15 Jan 2022

We’ve already seen the contender that Hyundai is fielding in the World Rally Championship this year, and now it’s Ford’s turn to reveal its entry for the new, eco-friendly (ish) era of rallying.

This, people of the internet, is the Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1; named as such because the WRC is operating under a completely new book of regulations for 2022.

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As before power comes from a 1.6-litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine, but now that’s been married to a 100kW electric motor for boosts of up to three seconds at a time, many, many times over, per stage.

With engine and motor working together you’re looking at more than 493bhp and in excess of 369lb ft of torque, and a 0-62mph figure in the region of 3.2 seconds. That’s on either tarmac or gravel, by the way.

The hybrid tech also gives the WRC the chance to project a cleaner, greener image, with the ability for cars to travel between stages under electric power alone. For a bit anyway, 3.6kWh only gets you so far.

What else is new? There’s been a lot of focus on simplification in order to reduce costs, so the aero, suspension and transmissions have all been made less complex.

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Add the hybrid system’s 95kg of bulk into the mix and this year’s cars should be a tad slower than before. Not that mere mortals like us will be any less terrified by the on-board footage of night stages taken at full tilt.

“One of the most captivating aspects of WRC down the years has been the clear link between the ultra-high performance rally cars and their road-going equivalents," says Mark Rushbrook, global director of Ford Performance. "That's why it's so important that this new era of WRC reflects our industry's shift to electrification.

“At Ford, we're fully committed to an electrified future, and campaigning the M-Sport Puma Hybrid Rally1 car in the toughest conditions is going to help us develop even more exciting electrified powertrains for our customers.”

This season also marks 25 years of the partnership between Ford and M-Sport, which has so far yielded seven championships and some 1,500 stage wins between predecessors like the Fiesta WRC and Focus RS WRC.

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Three Pumas will be fielded in 2022, with regular drivers including Craig Breen, Adrien Fourmaux and Gus Greensmith. Oh, and nine-time champion Sebastien Loeb - who TG has been riding shotgun with this week in Prodrive's BRX Hunter - is joining in for a one-off appearance at the Monte Carlo Rally.

He’s won the event seven times before, so his cameo might be pretty spectacular. Tune in next week…

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