Long-standing Head of Rally Engineering, Chris Williams, becomes M-Sport’s new Technical Director ahead of an exciting 2022 WRC season.
As Chris Williams approaches 25 years of service at M-Sport, and having been responsible for many of the winning rally projects to come out of Dovenby Hall, today sees his promotion to Technical Director. Williams will now oversee all current and future engineering projects within the business.
Williams’ direct involvement in M-Sport projects extends right back to 2005 and the Fiesta ST Gp.N, his first solo design project, which saw him transform the standard ST150 road car into a globally successful entry level rally car, still often seen in competition today. The philosophy of this customer focused car would be replicated across many of his future projects.
Next was the Fiesta R2 1600, which replaced the ST in 2009.The R2 would become the first car in the newly formed category to be released, again seeing global success with over 300 kits sold and multiple championship wins to its name.
In 2013 Williams would design and engineer the most successful M-Sport customer car to date, the Fiesta R5 Mk1. Again, the first car in this class to be released, it would become a market leader and a model that now boasts a total of 956 victories since its launch, and is still seen as a benchmark product within its category.
May 2015 saw Williams take on engineering at the sports highest level, the Fiesta WRC, where he would implement the midlife cycle upgrades for the WRC at that time.
2017 would see the biggest test for Williams where he was trusted to design and engineer the Fiesta WRC for the new set of technical regulations. With only an 18 month timescale, he would use all of his experience to create a car that not only won its maiden event in Monte-Carlo, but went on to win consecutive Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ titles and a Manufacturers’ title for the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team. The Fiesta WRC, which finished its last event in November this year, has claimed a total of 32 victories and 68 podiums over its WRC lifetime.
M-Sport’s most recent project, the highly anticipated Puma Hybrid Rally1, has also been in Williams’ capable hands. The challenges presented by the new era of WRC cars, not to mention the additional safety features and precautions necessary for working with hybrid vehicles, have not slowed Williams and his team down, the team has just completed a busy 21-month design, engineering and testing programme. M-Sport is now well poised for an incredibly exciting season which begins in a matter of weeks when the Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 will make its debut on Rallye Monte Carlo.
Chris Williams, Technical Director, said:
“I’d like to extend a big thank you to Malcolm for his continued faith in me and for the many opportunities to lead projects over the years, from my first car project, the Fiesta ST Gp.N, all the way to the present day and the Puma Hybrid Rally1.
“It’s a privilege to be given the opportunity to lead the technical team as a whole, particularly at a time that will see such significant change in the sport we love.
“We have a small team of innovative, committed and determined engineers and designers and I’m honoured to help, guide and support them to produce cars that compete and win at the highest levels of motorsport.”
Malcolm Wilson, Managing Director, said:
“Chris has been responsible for many successful projects at M-Sport and without his commitment and determination we wouldn’t be in the position we are today.
With his proven track record of competition cars it makes sense that he moves to the role of Technical Director and overseeing all engineering aspects of the business.
I look forward to not only seeing the Puma Rally1 Hybrid make its debut in Monte Carlo where I am sure it will perform as we expect, but also what other projects Chris and his team will develop to take M-Sport forward into the future.”
Photo credit: Dan Bathie
Photo credit: Dan Bathie