M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson says interest in renting and buying the Puma WRC Rally1 has already outstripped demand for the current World Rally Car – with the British squad hoping to have up to five cars out early next year.
M-Sport Ford World Rally Team will run two or three of those Puma WRC Rally1s next year, but Wilson says he can see demand building from private drivers keen to get back aboard the World Rally Championship’s highest category cars.
Wilson said: “Renting the car is a real priority for us and I’m very pleased to say there’s a lot of interest from various customers throughout the world who are talking to us about purchasing and running a car in the WRC.”
Wilson has never shied away from explaining the importance of the commercial side of the M-Sport operation.
“It is,” he said, “crucial [to rent and sell cars] for us to actually stay in the WRC at the highest level.
“Hopefully we can be in a position to rent and to sell some cars next year. Historically, we’ve always sold between eight and 14 WRC cars per year – that’s a big part of our business model – and that’s been missing for the last four or five years.
“It seems very positive that there’s more interest in this  car than there has been in the current car.”
Having recently driven the car for the first time himself, Wilson admitted he could understand the demand.
He added: “I thought about driving it in the forest, but when I saw the speed of it, I thought I’d better not get behind the wheel!
“I did drive it at the airfield and it was fantastic. Chris [Williams, M-Sport head of rally engineering] and all of the guys have done and are doing a fantastic job.”
DirtFish understands M-Sport will be the only team renting or selling Rally1 cars in 2022.