A Fast Hatchback Ford Is One of the Most Successful Racers Ever

You may have heard the term “homologation special” to describe some Fords, BMWs, and other specialty cars in specific circumstances. Pertaining to racing, it refers to a road-going companion for a racecar, like the Ford Sierra Cosworth or the BMW E30 M3 and their racing counterparts. However, a very special fast hatchback Ford still stands as one of the most successful homologation specials ever. Enter the Ford RS500 and its bonkers 1980s story. 

Is the Ford RS500 a fast hatchback racecar?

The Ford RS500 is a homologation special descendant of the Sierra Cosworth. Goodwood reports that the RS500 packed a larger intercooler, more fuel injectors, and upgraded suspension. Also, The Blue Oval changed the bodywork slightly from the original Sierra. The result was a sharper, more powerful RS500 to capitalize on the raw potential of the Sierra Cosworth

The Ford RS500 carried the legacy of the Sierra Cosworth forward.
RS500 in a Group A Touring Cars demo | Michael Cole, Corbis via Getty Images

How successful was the RS500 in racing?

The fast little hatchback was one of the most successful homologation special racecars ever. Motorsport Magazine reports that the RS500 managed to win 84.6% of the races it entered. That is a staggering figure for any racecar. Furthermore, the little turbocharged Ford hatchback secured the top 10 positions in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) seven different times. 

Also, Motorsport Magazine reported that the Ford RS500 won four out of six of the races it entered in the 1987 World Touring Car Championship. The fast hatchback was a dominant force on the racetrack. 

The Ford RS500 Sierra Cosworth looks planted on the track.
Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 | Sjoerd van der Wal, Getty Images

How much horsepower does a Ford RS Cosworth have?

The predecessor of the RS500, the Sierra RS Cosworth, produced around 200 horsepower and around 205 lb-ft of torque. According to Classic.com, the RS500 made around 20 extra horsepower than the RS Cosworth. For a purpose-built track car with a low curb weight, it was more than enough power to make a dominant homologation racer. However, some variations, like the Cosworth YB-equipped models, made well over 500 horsepower.

Can you buy a Ford RS500?

You can buy an RS500, but it might be a tricky proposition. First, The Blue Oval only produced 500 of the cars. Plus, with a racing record like this, the little hatchback demands a premium. According to Classic.com, the top sale for a 1988 RS500 is $151,773. So while you can purchase this little piece of Ford racing history, it will not come cheap or easy. 

What other fast hatchbacks did Ford make?

The more modern Ford Focus RS is an arguable spiritual successor to the wild and crazy RS500. In addition to the legendary “RS” letters, the Focus packed an eager 350-horsepower turbocharged 2.3L four-cylinder engine with a capable all-wheel drive (AWD) system. That means if you want a fast Ford with a pedigree linking back to the Sierra Cosworths of yesteryear, you can find a used car with performance credentials like the Focus RS. 

Of course, the Focus won’t have the old-school appeal of the Sierra Cosworth or its successor, but it is still a spiritual connection to the homologation special. Scroll down to the following article to read about other fast Fords!


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