Ford rally car holds a special place in rally racing history thanks to legendary models like the RS200, Escort RS Cosworth, and Fiesta RS WRC. These icons proved Ford’s capabilities by dominating rally events worldwide with their advanced engineering and tenacious performance. Let’s revisit Ford’s most significant rally racers through the decades.
The Legendary Escort RS1600
Ford’s rallying success began in earnest with the Escort RS1600, which quickly proved a dominant force in the 1970s international rally scene. The lightweight rear-wheel-drive RS models packed the newest Cosworth BDA dohc engines that generated over 200bhp in competition trim.
Stiffened suspension, five-speed gearboxes, and bigger brakes transformed the Escort into a racing machine. All-star drivers like Ari Vatanen pushed the RS1600 to multiple victories and championship titles. Ford cemented its engineering prowess during this Escort era.
Group B – the RS200
Seeking ever more power, Ford designed the outlandish RS200 to meet the new Group B class rules of the mid-1980s. Its radical mid-engine, Kevlar and carbon fiber construction aimed for the ultimate evolution of the Escort.
The Ford 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder sat behind the driver, enabling up to 500bhp in racing trim. Four-wheel drive traction tamed the immense power for accelerating out of corners and slides. While the RS200 encountered some growing pains, in skilled hands it became unbeatable.
The Escort RS Cosworth – King of the 90s Ford rally car
After Group B’s demise, Ford launched the legendary Escort RS Cosworth. Its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine generated north of 220hp in street trim, and over 300hp when racing. The Cosworth cemented dominance by capturing manufacturer’s titles in the World Rally Championship.
An advanced rear differential ensured power channeled securely, even over loose surfaces. Massive aero including the signature rear wing kept the Escort planted at high speeds. With its balance of power and grip, the Escort RS Cosworth became the 1990s rally icon.
Pikes Peak Success – The Escort Cosworth
Seeking new challenges, Ford took aim at the fearsome Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. They returned for 2003 with an extensively modified Escort Cosworth piloted by legend Ken Block.
The heavily tuned engine screamed to 8,200rpm and churned out 600hp. Custom suspension, brakes, and chassis tweaks allowed traction over dirt portions. The specialized Escort proved unstoppable, smashing the previous record by over a minute with a blistering 10:09.90 run.
The Mighty Focus RS WRC
Entering the 21st century, Ford introduced the Focus RS WRC succeeding the dominant Escort. Engineers outfitted the hatchback with a 2.0-liter turbo four cranking out 300hp paired to an advanced four-wheel-drive system.
From its debut in 1999, the Focus RS WRC took championships in the hands of legends like Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz. Over the next decade, the Focus cemented itself as one of the most successful rally cars ever fielded.
The Fiesta RS WRC – Ford rally car Supremacy
Building on the winning Focus formula, Ford introduced the Fiesta RS WRC in 2011. A 1.6-liter turbocharged EcoBoost motor propelled the supermini to continue Ford’s rally dominance for years to come.
Advanced aerodynamics including a massive rear wing kept speeds high over loose surfaces. Bespoke suspension and brakes allowed confident charging over any terrain. In the hands of all-stars like Sebastien Ogier, the little Fiesta won World Rally Championships through 2016.
Ford rally car Committed to Motorsport Excellence
From the advanced RS200 to the spritely Fiesta RS, Ford proved it could engineer world-beating rally cars through decades of competition. Names like Escort, Focus, and Fiesta became globally revered for their tenacious grip and ability to withstand extreme rally punishment.
Ford teams prioritized racing innovation that filtered down to improving street car technology. The brand remains firmly dedicated to chasing motorsport glory across rally, Le Mans, NASCAR, and beyond. Ford’s rich heritage shines brightest flying sideways over dirt and tarmac at the limits of control.