The story of the 97 Ford Focus WRC cars during their 12-year rallying career; there were 44 World Championship victories, and the team won the World Rally Manufacturers’ Championship. Drivers included Colin McRae, Carlos Sainz, Marcus Grönholm and Mikko Hirvonen, with sponsors including Martini, BP (and Castrol), and the state of Abu Dhabi.
When world rallying introduced a new formula for ‘World Rally Cars,’ Ford needed a completely new car to meet the new rules. Malcolm Wilson’s M-Sport organisation, then small but soon to expand considerably, 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 premises at Dovenby Hall, near Cockermouth, in Cumbria, M-Sport built a total of no fewer than 97 Focus WRCs, which were always competitive at World level, this being proved by the fact that they won 44 World Championship events. In that time, stellar drivers such as Colin McRae, Carlos Sainz, Markko Märtin, Marcus Grönholm and Mikko Hirvonen all added to the mystique of an ultra-professional organisation, along with substantial support, and sponsorship, from the drinks giant Martini, the oil company BP (and its major subsidiary Castrol), and the state of Abu Dhabi.