Finally, it’s official. The latest Škoda Motorsport’s creation, the Fabia R5, received FIA’s homologation. Based on the latest road going Fabia and inspired by hugely successful predecessor, Fabia S2000, the R5 machine enters a very busy and competitive arena, at the moment dominated by M-Sport’s Ford Fiesta R5 together with PSA challengers, Peugeot 208 T16 and Citroën DS3 R5. Fabia R5’s arrival means privateers have one more option at their disposal, a car fully capable of competing at national, regional or global level. Personally, I am a huge fan of Škoda Motorsport and their stubborn attitude towards rallying, (for me) it all started with Favorit and their F2 victories back in 1990s – even though Škoda is no longer a manufacturer team in the World Rally Championship their contribution to the sport is huge. This car will also enable Volkswagen to enter the R5 market and compete for privateer’s attention (and cash). Finally, Škoda Motorsport will continue to compete at the highest level, which is hardly surprising knowing they’ve been doing that for 114 years.
The zebra stripes are gone, but this new white is just a normal working uniform colour – I am sure Škoda has some cool livery ideas ready for the manufacturer cars. Even though we often complain about B segment cars and their size, something about R5 machines just works. Their aero packages are elaborate enough, their stance is aggressive and ambitious and there is also enough room for creative touches which combine design and racing functionality. I love the look of those wheel arches and I am sure liveries will just make this car even cooler. Very happy to see another player in the R5 arena, let’s hope she is competitive and reliable from the start.
Official PR thing follows below.
MILESTONE FOR ŠKODA: FIA GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO NEW FABIA R5
“We are delighted that the International Automobile Federation FIA has given us the green light. Now we can prove just how good our new rally car is in the race series,” said ŠKODA Board Member for Development Dr. Frank Welsch. “When working on the third-generation production Fabia, which enjoyed an extremely successful start, we incorporated some of the genes from our rally cars and developed the most emotive Fabia ever. Conversely, the production model now formed the basis for the new Fabia R 5.”
ŠKODA’s new rally car is pure high-tech. In compliance with FIA regulations, the ŠKODA Fabia R 5 is equipped with a 1.6-litre turbo engine. That is a considerable change from the two-litre induction engine in the Fabia Super 2000. Furthermore, the new four-wheel drive car also features a five-speed sequential gearbox and McPherson struts. The weight of the car is at least 1,230 kilograms, as stipulated in the regulations. Since the start of the project, ŠKODA Motorsport has invested 15 months of intense development work to fine-tune the car and ensure that the ultra-modern components interact perfectly.
The homologation process is a long and complex procedure, which requires close cooperation with the International Automobile Federation FIA and is made up of several parts. In recent months, the new ŠKODA Fabia R 5 has been subjected to a comprehensive approval process, which has now ended successfully with the approval from the FIA.
“We are happy that we now have the homologation from the International Automobile Federation FIA under our belt,” said ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek. “The development of our new rally hope was a tiring process and a major challenge for the entire team at ŠKODA Motorsport, to whom I would like to say a big thank you.”
Top drivers such as Asia-Pacific champion Jan Kopecký (CZ), European champion Esapekka Lappi (FIN), rally legend “Fast” Freddy Loix (B) and multiple Austrian champion Raimund Baumschlager (AT) provided valuable input during the development of the new rally car. In the run up to the homologation, about 10,000 kilometres of testing were completed on a wide range of roads and conditions, including in the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Greece, Spain and Finland. Whether in icy cold or bright sunshine, on asphalt, gravel or snow – the ŠKODA Fabia R 5 successfully passed every test.
There is already great interest in the new ŠKODA Fabia R 5 from customer teams. After all, the successor – the ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 – was a guarantee of titles. In the 2014 rally season, ŠKODA completed a hat-trick of titles in the Drivers’ and Manufacturer championships in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), while the champion in the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) was a ŠKODA works driver for the third time in a row. The list of success achieved last year also includes five national titles. With a total of almost 50 international and national titles in six years, the ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000, which made its first appearance in 2009, is the most successful project in the company’s 114-year motorsport history.
ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek: “With the new ŠKODA Fabia R 5, we want to follow on from the success we have enjoyed in recent years with speed and reliability on the rally routes of this world. Following the successful homologation, we can now initiate the next phase of the Fabia R 5 project.”