Sat 01 Jan 2022

Tech expert Williams to lead M-Sport’s engineering team

Ford Puma hybrid mastermind Chris Williams will lead all engineering projects at M-Sport after replacing Christian Loriaux as the British company’s technical director.

Williams has headed the design, engineering and testing programme for M-Sport Ford’s new hybrid Puma WRC Rally1 car. It will debut at the opening round of the FIA World Rally Championship in Monte-Carlo this month with Sébastien Loeb, Craig Breen, Adrien Fourmaux and Gus Greensmith at the wheel.

As head of rally engineering, Williams worked closely with Loriaux for 20 years before the Belgian headed to Hyundai Motorsport in May. Loriaux took up a consultancy role to lead the development of the Korean manufacturer’s i20 N WRC Rally1.

Williams has been responsible for many of the rally-winning Fiestas to come out of M-Sport’s Dovenby Hall base.

His first solo design project in 2005 was the birth of the entry level Fiesta ST Group N car. He also instigated the Fiesta R2 1600 and the original Fiesta R5, the most successful M-Sport customer car to date, with almost 1,000 wins to its name.

Williams implemented upgrades to the Fiesta World Rally Car in 2015 before designing and engineering its replacement two years later for new technical regulations. The 2017 car won back-to-back driver world titles in Sébastien Ogier’s hands and a manufacturers’ crown.

“It’s a privilege to be given the opportunity to lead the technical team as a whole, particularly at a time that will see such significant change in the sport we love,” Williams enthused.

“We have a small team of innovative, committed and determined engineers and designers and I’m honoured to help, guide and support them to produce cars that compete and win at the highest levels of motorsport.”

M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson said Williams’ commitment and determination had been crucial in the company’s success.

“With his proven track record of competition cars it makes sense that he moves to the role of technical director and overseeing all engineering aspects of the business,” he added.

“I look forward to not only seeing the Puma Rally1 hybrid make its debut in Monte-Carlo, where I am sure it will perform as we expect, but also what other projects Chris and his team will develop to take M-Sport forward into the future.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing technical director Tom Fowler also cut his teeth in motorsport engineering at M-Sport.

Headline photo: Dan Bathie

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