M-Sport's new Ford Fiesta S2000 has successfully completed its first phase of preliminary asphalt and gravel tests in the UK
After undergoing initial systems checks on tarmac close to M-Sport's Cumbrian base with Matthew and Malcolm Wilson at the wheel, the car has covered over 1200kms on gravel in Greystoke Forest.
The Fiesta S2000 will now be taken to Ford's proving ground at Lommel, Belgium, at the end of the month, where it will undergo kinomatic and compliance testing at the company's state of the art facility.
This technology, also used to test Ford's road cars, will be used to assess the stiffness of the suspension and the centre of gravity of the Fiesta S2000.
Since the announcement that M-Sport would be building an S2000 car in April this year, the team of designers and engineers have stuck to a tight schedule allowing the development team to have two cars simultaneously undergoing testing.
Following the testing in Lommel the test programme moves to Spain where the cars will undergo thorough trials on both gravel and tarmac.
The Fiesta S2000 is due for homologation in January 2010 and will be aimed at competitors in the WRC World Cup, IRC and national rally championships around the globe.
M-Sport Technical Director Christian Loriaux said: "I am very happy with the way that the first phase of testing has gone. We got the initial shakedown and debugging done to schedule and we have been able to put over 1200kms on the car during four days of gravel testing. To be able to do 300kms per day is very good with a brand new car and a testament to the hard work that the designers and engineers have put in. It is very encouraging that we have already done all this mileage without any major problems. I am looking forward to the next phase of testing continuing in the same vein."
Driver Matthew Wilson said: "Testing has gone really well so far with minimal problems, and each time I get in the car it is just getting better and better. The general feeling is that, for a car that's come straight out of the box, it is absolutely awesome. I think that is has massive potential and it has been fantastic to drive so far."
Read more about the M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000 here.