M-Sport Ford has signed sim-racing driver-controls specialist Fanatec as a new technical partner ahead of the upcoming 2022 season and the launch of the Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1.
In a partnership that will encompass sim products and rally technology, the teams at M-Sport and Fanatec have been working together to develop the steering wheels for the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s all-new Puma Hybrid Rally1, which will debut at Rallye Monte Carlo.
M-Sport team principal, Rich Millener, commented, “I remember when I got my first sim wheel over 15 years ago and I have to say the development of this area of gaming is hugely impressive. To now have the same steering wheel that is used in a real-life Rally1 car also on your home gaming setup is really quite incredible. Although I am not a prolific gamer these days, I do keep an eye on what is happening in the sim world because I truly feel that there are genuine benefits that can be transferred from the sim world to the real world.”
M-Sport said that its previous involvement in eSports gives it an appreciation for sim racing, seeing it as a crucial and effective testing ground for developing both car and driver performance. It feels that the unique crossover between virtual and real-world motorsport benefits the functionality of the steering wheel inside the car as well as the sim setup used worldwide by drivers and fans alike.
Thomas Jackermeier, CEO of Fanatec/Endor, added, “Last year Fanatec made huge strides toward our goal of blending real and virtual racing, so we wanted to start 2022 equally strong. Working with M-Sport to include Fanatec-made parts in the Ford Puma Hybrid Rally1 for the upcoming WRC season is another example where the line between motorsport and sim racing is becoming harder to define. We’re happy and proud to be part of the new hybrid era of WRC and to give our customers more motorsport-grade products to choose from. If a nine-time world champion like Sébastien Loeb thinks our product is a vital part of the car, then we know we are on the right path.”