Cosworth electronics help Ford to podium clean sweep
Cosworth played a starring role as the new-look FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) got underway with Rally Sweden at Karlstad earlier this month. In one of the closest rallies ever seen, Ford's all-new Fiesta RS World Rally Car, featuring some of Cosworth's most advanced electronics systems, secured a podium clean sweep.
Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen took the spoils for the Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team after three days of exhilarating rally action in Sweden, finishing just 6.5 seconds ahead of Mads Oostburg and Jonas Andersson for M-Sport Stobart Ford World Rally Team. Hirvonen and Lehtinen's team-mates took the final podium spot Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila - all three cars benefitting from state-of-the-art Cosworth electronics which have been a crucial feature in Ford's World Rally Cars for a decade.
Such is the competitiveness and reliability of the Cosworth solutions that they have helped Ford to secure points in over 130 consecutive events in this ten year period. This year's WRC Series has seen significant changes to the technical regulations but Cosworth's close working relationship with Ford has resulted in another successful rally with Ford's first podium clean sweep since Rally Sweden in 2008.
The new Fiesta RS WRC has been developed as a platform in Super 2000 specification last year but 2011 sees the car's debut in full WRC trim with immediate results. Cosworth's electronics division provides the complete set of systems for Ford's rally cars, from R2 through IRC, Super2000 and WRC, with the latter being the highest level that Cosworth provides.
This specification includes the MQ12 engine controller, the most capable that Cosworth has produced, which ensures maximum power and performance is obtained from the direct injection 1.6L turbo spec engine, new to WRC in 2011.
As with any world championship series, whether Formula One, Touring Car or IndyCar, Cosworth's WRC electronics systems collect and record a considerable amount of data which is subsequently analyzed by the team's engineers at service stages and back at the factory in pursuit of optimum performance.
Power management is also a key factor with the Hyllus controller unit employed to manage everything from headlights and fans on the car to the windscreen wipers. An electrical fault on a stage can be costly and so units like this are important not only in providing every last possible ounce of performance to the driver but in reporting and automatically managing problems so that the car keeps running.
The driver instruments and cockpit controls have been updated extensively for 2011 with a new multifunction display unit replacing the switches and screens that took up space in the previous WRC Focus. This unit provides access to all the car's systems in a similar way to the complex carbon fiber steering wheels used in Formula One. However the WRC car system provides greater levels of control and diagnostics information to the driver and co-driver including the Bluetooth radio intercom that enables SMS text messages to be relayed to the car out on stage.
Martin Tolliday - General Manager of Cosworth's Sport Business Unit
"We have enjoyed a successful partnership with Ford for over a decade in WRC and the podium clean sweep in Sweden is another positive landmark for us. We are in a new era for WRC with substantial changes to the technical regulations so it is great for Cosworth to play our part in the future of the sport with Ford. Our electronics solutions for WRC are some of the most sophisticated that Cosworth has in motorsport so it is particularly pleasing to see them deliver excellent results against some tough competition in such challenging conditions."
Malcolm Wilson - Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team Director
"This is the fourth generation of WRC car that we have developed with Cosworth electronics and we are pleased with the results that our technical partnership delivers. Their electronic engine management and chassis data acquisition systems are top of the range solutions which give us peace of mind in our work at the factory and on event. It has been a fantastic start to the 2011 World Rally Championship. The new rules appear to have worked exactly as intended and all the cars are very evenly matched. It bodes well for an exciting year ahead."