When world rallying introduced a new formula for “World Rally Cars”, Ford seized the opportunity. Malcolm Wilson’s M-Sport organization was contracted to do the job, completed the design in less than a year, and spent the next 12 years campaigning this turbocharged, four-wheel-drive car all round the world.
Working from state-of-the-art facilities, M-Sport built 97 Focus WRCs, all of which proved to be worthy of World level action when they won 44 World Championship events.
Stellar drivers like Colin McRae, Carlos Sainz, Markko Märtin, Marcus Grönholm and Mikko Hirvonen all added to the mystique of an ultra-professional organization, along with substantial support and sponsorship from the likes of Martini, BP, and the state of Abu Dhabi.
By building its in-house technical expertise, M-Sport not only engineered and developed the entire car on behalf of Ford, but gradually took over development of the 300bhp, 2.0-litre, turbocharged engine, and led the design of the complex four-wheel-drive transmissions provided by Xtrac.
M-Sport’s reputation exploded to the point that when regulations changed, the company immediately produced a new-generation Fiesta WRC, and kept the winning days rolling.