Malcolm Wilson has revealed that his M-Sport team will benefit from technical backing from Ford Performance in America ahead of its World Rally Championship title defence next year.
Key to M-Sport’s ability to retain world champion Sebastien Ogier was an increased presence from the Blue Oval to the programme. Briton Elfyn Evans will handle the team’s second Ford Fiesta WRC.
With Ogier’s services secured for another year, Wilson revealed to Motorsport News some more aspects of his deal with Ford. It will now come from US-based Ford Performance, which runs the firm’s GT racing programmes.
Asked to outline Ford’s involvement and what it means for M-Sport’s programme, Wilson said: “Sebastien [Ogier] made it very clear that he wanted to see Ford involvement and obviously I do as well. I would love to think we could get back to the budgets our competitors have, but, at this point in time, that’s not going to happen.
“Ford Performance is controlled from America and we will be working closely with them on the technical side at the technical centre of excellence in America. Seb has met the people from Ford Performance, he met [global director, Ford Performance] Mark Rushbrook in Rally GB.
“The great thing for me is that we’ll have more technical support to keep us right at the very sharp end and that needs funding – but a lot of that stuff they can do in-house in America. The aero is one example where this is working, they have the facilities to really help us.
“There’s no question we had great technical support from Europe – and we shouldn’t forget that we were actually rallying a car in January this year that wasn’t even on sale to the public until May or June! But now we’re getting it from America where all the GT stuff comes from, there’s some really important aero-specific work being done with them, that kind of input and help is invaluable.”