What It Takes to Turn a Ford Fiesta ST Into a Rally Car and How It Is Done

Ford Fiesta ST rally car 8 photos
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube video by Team O'Neil
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Have you ever dreamed of transforming a vehicle into a rally car? Well, it takes more than just adding a set of wheels, fitting a race suspension, and a roll cage. Yes, all those components are essential, but a video from Team O'Neil Rally School shows a few details that many people overlook in their builds.
You should watch this video even if you do not plan on building a rally car but want to tune your vehicle for racing purposes. It should also be interesting to watch if you plan to make a build that looks as if it were made for racing but do not plan to drive it competitively.

In the worst-case scenario, you will learn a few things about rally cars, which is not something you do every day. For example, you may have noticed that many rally cars have their roll cage painted white, and the same goes for the rest of the interior.

You may think that white was chosen as a base since the rest of the vehicle will get a livery and stickers, but the real reason is different. As Jarred Ainsworth of Team O'Neil explains, making the interior and the roll cage white makes it easier to spot whenever the material suffers from any tears. If they spot the damage on time, it can be repaired, and the vehicle gets an uncompromised safety structure.

However, the upper part of the roll cage is partly painted in matte black, which is meant to prevent reflections and scratches. The former can be disturbing during a rally stage or in regular driving, while the latter will just affect the way that the interior looks after just a few cycles of getting in and out.

Another thing you should notice is the fact that the rally-tuned Fiesta ST runs the biggest brakes that can be fitted under 15-inch alloy wheels. This allows the least unsprung mass while also featuring the best braking performance with such small wheels.

As you may observe, the brake discs are not slotted or drilled. While some forms of motorsport use that kind of brake disc for its cooling ability, in the case of rally cars, some teams prefer to stick to vented brake rotors instead.

The reason? If the car is driven through a lot of dust or even through mud, the dirt can get into the vents or the drilled holes and clog the rotor, thus preventing it from being cooled properly or causing damage to the brake pads.

As some of you already know, the best possible braking results are obtained if the brakes get to cool back down to normal temperature as fast as possible. The system that manages the quickest heat dissipation manages to obtain the best results in the case of repeated braking.

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About the author: Sebastian Toma
Sebastian Toma profile photo

Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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