Based on the Ford Fiesta Sport model, the Ford Fiesta R2 was M-Sport’s very first global rally car: allowing competitors to graduate with Ford from national level, right through to the top epsilons of the WRC.
The Fiesta R2 has been built from a standard conversion kit developed by M-Sport. The kit to convert the car to rally specification includes engine parts to lift the engine performance. The gearbox has also been replaced for a sequential shift unit with a limited slip differential, as have the brakes and Reiger suspension. Beyond these specific items, M-Sport has used as many standard Ford components as possible in order to reduce costs for the competitor.
M-Sport’s expertise in design and engineering has been transferred to the creation of the Group R car. Based on the new B299 model and launched at the 2009 WRC Rally d’Italia Sardegna, the Fiesta R2 was developed as the successor to the highly successful GpN Fiesta ST and has since taken countless class victories across the globe.
Chris Williams, the M-Sport’s Principal Engineer in charge of the R2 development, explained, “The Group N regulations that we had to apply to the Fiesta ST meant that the car had to be production based with the necessary compromises that this inherently produced. The production engineers designing the ST road car had a myriad of criteria to fulfil: noise, vibration, emissions, as well as performance and handling. The R2 regulations, however, allow us to vary the standard mechanism and to ‘cherry pick’ components from the manufacturer’s portfolio in order to optimise the competition benefits.”
The engine is a 1.6 Zetec 16V 1598cc Ti-VCT with four cylinders in line, DOHC, 16 valves, alloy cylinder head and block with variable cam timing. The sump has been modified and the car now has bespoke engine mount bracketry welded to the bodyshell. “The engine mount on the right-hand side is machined aluminium, while the gearbox mount on the left is cast into the gearbox casing, resulting in lightweight, stronger and more cost-effective engine mounts,” explained Williams.
The engine conversion kit consists of pistons, conrods, camshafts, valve springs, injectors, an airbox, air filter, spark plugs and a sump baffle kit.
The engine delivers 163 PS @ 7,500 rpm and torque of 182 Nm @ 5,700 rpm.
The suspension comprises of Reiger adjustable dampers with Eibach springs, spherical jointed top mounts front and rear. The front dampers are adjustable for bump and rebound. Competitors will have the ability to adjust the geometry by use of camber washers on the front, a similar system to recent Ford Focus WRC cars. The rear suspension beam is taken from the standard car, but has uprated mounts.
The R2 has a two-bolt clamped front upright rather than the spigot fit of the Fiesta ST. Williams explained, “The R2 will have an adaptor pin securely mounted in the upright and a spherical bearing connecting the lower arm, as opposed to a ball joint. We use standard uprights and, to increase the safety margin and clamping force, we will use a five stud hub rather than four stud.”
The standard front brake callipers have been removed and replaced with lightweight four piston competition callipers. The servo has been removed to give improved pedal feel. The Group R regulations mean that the brake lines can be simplified to a standard H-pattern with a bias valve adjuster rather than the dual circuit and pattern of the Fiesta ST. The AP brake discs are 285mm (gravel) and 310mm (Tarmac) and they share a common calliper.
The standard drum brakes have been removed and replaced with Ford Focus derived AP rear discs (280mm) and single piston callipers. An upright hydraulic handbrake is included in the standard kit, not as an option this time around.
Unlike Group N regulations, the R2 rules permit the removal of superfluous panels and brackets. “This allows a considerable weight saving,” explained Williams. “We expect to be bang on the class weight of 1030kg, which is a good saving when compared with the Fiesta ST.” Jacking points are included and seam welding is permitted on the bodyshell.
“We’re using a T45 multipoint rollcage, which is lighter and considerably stiffer than the Fiesta ST rollcage. The door bars are the same size, design and material as currently used in the Ford Focus RS WRC, which is an improved safety feature,” said Williams. The rollcage picks up on suspension points, the seat position is optimised and an integrated dash bar has been incorporated to create additional strength. 35 meters of T45 is used to build the rollcage, which will be supplied in kit form and must be fitted by an ASN approved centre.
“The R2 sumpguard is lighter and stiffer than the one used in the Fiesta ST. The composite tankguard – a positive feature on the ST – has been carried over into the R2 design,” explained Williams.
The R2 employs a five speed sequential gearbox developed by Sadev with plated limited slip differential and uprated driveshafts. A bespoke gearbox casing has been developed specifically for the Fiesta R2. The gear linkage is very simple, running a straight rod with spherical joints. “The driveshafts have been uprated throughout. The tripod design has been carried over from the series production car and is significantly bigger than that used in the Fiesta ST, thereby increasing the strength of the R2,” said Williams. The clutch has been uprated and the Pi Research engineered ECU has a flat shift feature with full throttle closed loop control shift.
Exhaust System and Manifold
The stainless steel exhaust system and manifold is TIG welded and manufactured by Pankl. A FIA homologated catalyst is included in the system, which is designed to comply with a work limit of 98 dBa at 4,500 rpm.
Sparco ADV seats with side-impact head restraints are included in the R2 standard kit, with six-point Sparco seatbelts and quick release buckles. “Replacement door cards will also come as standard and have been specifically designed to be lightweight and to fit with the rollcage,” concluded Williams.
The R2 has an overlay loom for all auxiliary controls. It also features a Ford Power button to start car and an electrical fire system.