Mirror, mirror – on the side of the Puma – who is the fairest of them all?
That’s a slight bastardisation of what Walt Disney originally had in mind, but I’m sure he’d understand the need to bend Snow White a touch here.
It didn’t take long for the cellphone to start ringing once Adrien Fourmaux had wheeled the Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid out on the roads around Kall, northern Sweden, earlier this week.
“Toyota mirrors!” was the first message. The ensuing notes didn’t vary much.
Toyota technical director and the man responsible for the Yaris Rally1’s wing mirrors, Tom Fowler, told DirtFish: “That was quick! We noticed in the launch event many images were captured of our car by the opposition. Our aero was heavily copied in 2017, but we didn’t expect it to start again so quickly.”
It’s hard to argue with Fowler. The Puma’s mirrors had been set horizontally for the season opening Monte Carlo Rally. But when the car took its first steps on Sweden’s full snow, the mirrors had been turned through 90-degrees to ape those on each side of the Yaris (check out the video above).
In terms of the regulations, there’s no issue with mirrors – just with the length of the arm and the fact that the outer limit of the arm remains the center point of the mirror. The advantage of running them vertically is that you develop a greater area of aero.
What does M-Sport think? Team principal Richard Millener is quick to point to the development date of its vertical mirrors.
“We’ve been working on this for some time,” he told DirtFish. “It’s not like we saw theirs and thought ‘we’ll have some of that…’
“The homologation around the mirrors are free. We might run them vertically, we might not. And if we do for Sweden, we might not for Croatia. We have different options and we’re still doing the research with Ford.
“Even if we had copied, which we haven’t, it wouldn’t be anything new – copying’s been around for a while. You only have to look at how similar some of the other cars were to our Fiesta by the end of 2017 to see that.”
Probably best we leave that one there.
If DirtFish was going to comment on this, our only comment would be to say that wing mirrors on Rally1 cars all look rubbish compared to the old moulded mirrors – preferably housing a Safari-spec running light – from early World Rally Cars.