M-Sport has revealed it is already taking orders for its new Ford Fiesta R5, despite cars not being available for another five months.
The Cumbrian firm is nearing completion of the first Fiesta R5, a category which many feel is the future of the World Rally Car.
The car, which is 90 per cent new from any Fiesta built at the Cockermouth base previously, will be unveiled shortly after the New Year and will be ready for delivery in April.
M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson admitted he was delighted with the early orders for the car.
"We've had a lot of interest in this model and it's set to be one of the most popular cars in the Fiesta family," he said.
"Our engineering department is working flat-out developing the Fiesta R5 and the first car is due to be tested in the coming weeks. Needless to say, we're all looking forward to launching the R5 in January."
The car will feature a 1600c turbocharged engine - based on the Fiesta ST road car, but developed in-house by M-Sport - and new four-wheel drive transmission which has been designed in conjunction with Sadev.
The car will be seen in the WRC-2 category next season, but senior figures in the sport are calling for the simpler and more cost-effective R5 regulations to be used as the basis of the World Rally Car post-2015.