The on-again, off-again Ford Focus RS is now definitely on again. During a press event at the Race of Champions last night, Ford officially announced that a ‘no-compromise RS model’ would go on sale in 2009.
And if you can’t wait that long then Ford has released this teaser picture of what the car could look like. The company also plans to show a concept version of the car in mid-2008. Which coincides neatly with the London Motor Show…
Why has Ford waited so long to launch the Focus RS?
It’s all down to money - whether the financial trouble Ford is in on the other side of the Pond or just making the business case for the RS stack up. The previous car lost money for Ford.
But now the company has won the WRC manufacturer’s title for the past two years, it’s the perfect time to launch a halo car.
That means all of Ford’s technical know-how will be going into the RS, which is being developed by Ford Team RS. This small and specialist team is headed by Jost Capito, the new vehicle line director for Ford of Europe performance vehicles.
So will the Focus RS be a true rally-replica?
Although Ford has yet to announce final specifications for the car, it probably won’t be four-wheel drive. John Fleming, Ford of Europe's president and CEO, had this to say: ‘Make no mistake, I can assure you that ultimately, the car we plan to launch will be worthy of wearing the coveted Ford RS badge’.
We hear the top Focus will get 300bhp, a twin-clutch transmission and a trick-electronic diff, and we've already caught the prototype testing near the Nurburgring (see photos right).
The next issue of CAR blows away the smokescreen around Ford's Focus RS. For our six-page preview, get the February issue of CAR Magazine, out 27 December.