With a better power-to-weight ratio than most supercars, this 850bhp, all-wheel drive tuned Ford Fiesta has been the ultimate project car build…

If you’re a car enthusiast like us, you know that the joy of owning a project car lies in the transformation. Whether it’s a mild refresh or a wild overhaul, the process of breathing new life into a vehicle is a rewarding experience. But what if your project car is no ordinary fixer-upper? What if it’s a tired track car with rallycross roots, waiting to become the ultimate Gymkhana machine? Enter Tom Blackwood and his awe-inspiring 850bhp Ford Fiesta, a project that will leave you speechless.

Tuned Mk7 Ford Fiesta in white

A Vision Inspired by Gymkhana Legends

Tom Blackwood is no stranger to the Ford community. He has owned and built several high-profile Fords that have made waves in the scene. When he stumbled upon a worn-out Fiesta track car, previously built to full rallycross specification, he saw an opportunity to create his own Gymkhana masterpiece. And boy, did he deliver.

Accordingly, this heavily modified Mk7 Fiesta takes inspiration from the iconic Gymkhana 3 Fiesta driven by Ken Block himself. Just like its predecessor, Tom’s Fiesta boasts a five-cylinder Duratec engine mated to a sequential gearbox, transferring power to all four wheels. But that’s where the similarities end. Tom’s creation generates a mind-blowing 852bhp and 623lb.ft of torque, thanks to extensive modifications and a touch of magic by Swedish tuning firm Tibuc.

Unleashing the Beast: Crafting a Rallycross Monster

Like any great story, this Ford Fiesta had humble beginnings. Tom found it online, listed as a broken race car in need of some serious attention. Located in Poland, it was far from a local bargain. However, something about the car’s history and potential caught Tom’s eye. This was no backyard build but a professionally crafted competition car by Olsbergs MSE, a renowned motorsport firm based in Sweden.

The shell of the Mk7 Fiesta had been extensively modified to accommodate all-wheel drive running gear. The build required substantial fabrication work, including a larger transmission tunnel, a WRC-specification roll cage, and modifications to the suspension turrets and rear axle. The front end even underwent surgical modifications to house a longitudinal-mounted engine and subframe. The result? A car that oozes adjustability, with increased travel and limitless performance capabilities.

tuned Ford five-cylinder Duratec engine tuned Ford five-cylinder Duratec engine

Powering the Dream: A Five-Pot Turbocharged Monster

To propel this lightweight beast, Tom relied on a heavily reworked 2.5-litre Duratec five-cylinder engine built by Tibuc. While the exact specifications of this competitive motorsport engine remain a secret, we know it produces over 850bhp and 620lb.ft of torque. It boasts an array of top-of-the-line components, including a roller barrel throttle body inlet manifold with anti-lag, a Schwitzer Turbo unit, and custom-fabricated alloy parts to hold it all together. And let’s not forget the six-speed sequential gearbox, beautifully paddle-shifted for lightning-fast gear changes.

Ford Fiesta race car interior

Attention to Detail: Designed for Performance and Style

Tom’s attention to detail is evident in every inch of his highly-tuned Ford Fiesta. Öhlins three-way dampers and Eibach springs take care of the suspension duties, providing unrivaled control and handling. Alcon brakes with six-pot front calipers and four-pot rear calipers ensure the Fiesta stops on a dime. The exterior is adorned with a full WRC wide-arch body kit, a carbon fiber roof and rear spoiler, and lightweight polycarbonate windows. Inside, a WRC-specification roll cage, Recaro seats, a flocked dashboard, and carbon fiber inserts create an environment that screams business.

Tuned Mk7 Ford Fiesta showing tuned engine through the bonnet

From Neglect to Greatness: The Journey to Perfection

Tom Blackwood’s Gymkhana dream machine wasn’t always a polished gem. When he acquired the car, it was in a sorry state after being laid up for five years. But with determination and the expertise of Andrew Gallagher at AG Motorsport, the car underwent a significant refresh and rebuild. The once battered and bruised Fiesta received a fresh coat of white paint inside and out, bringing it back to life.

Tuned Ford Fiesta drifting at Knockhill race track with smoke coming from the tyres

The Ultimate Machine: Fast, Furious, and Fun

After months of hard work and dedication, Tom’s tuned Ford Fiesta is now the ultimate machine. It’s fast, incredibly fast, and undeniably fun to drive. The pictures taken at Knockhill Circuit perfectly capture the raw power and agility of this Gymkhana masterpiece. Tom himself describes the car as “very fast and very fun,” a statement that still seems like an understatement.

What’s Next for the Gymkhana Master?

With the build complete, Tom has been busy putting his car to good use. But what does the future hold for this incredible machine? Tom reveals that he’s currently saving up, having just finished building a house. But knowing his passion for unique projects, we won’t be surprised if he embarks on another ambitious venture in the world of rallycross or racing.

For now, let’s celebrate the incredible journey of Tom Blackwood’s Gymkhana dream machine. With its breath-taking power and meticulous craftsmanship, this Ford Fiesta has firmly secured its place among the legends of modified cars. It’s a testament to what can be achieved with passion, skill, and an unyielding desire to push the boundaries of automotive excellence.

Tech Spec:


  • 2,521cc Ford Duratec five-cylinder built to rallycross specification
  • Tibuc roller barrel throttle bodies inlet with air bypass anti-lag system
  • Wiggins clamps throughout
  • Schwitzer Turbo, tubular manifold, dry sump, Maxx ECU
  • Custom air intake, custom intercooler


  • 852bhp and 623ft lb of torque


  • Matrak six-speed sequential gearbox with paddle shift
  • Maktrak rallycross specification active center, front, and rear differentials


  • Öhlins three-way dampers with Eibach springs
  • Electric power steering


  • Front: Alcon six-pot calipers with 380mm two-piece floating discs
  • Rear: Alcon four-pot calipers with 380mm two-piece floating discs
  • Fly-off handbrake, bias pedal box, remote reservoirs

Wheels and tires:

  • 9x18in front and 9.5x18in rear Volk Racing TE37 wheels, 5×108 ET20
  • Bridgestone 245/35/18 front and 265/35/18 rear tires


  • WRC specification roll cage
  • Recaro seats and side mounts
  • Tilton harnesses, flocked dashboard
  • Carbon fiber dash inserts, fiberglass door cards, dry sump tank


  • WRC wide arch body kit
  • Carbon fiber roof and roof vent
  • WRC carbon rear spoiler, Aero Catches
  • Tinted polycarbonate windows

This article was first featured in Fast Ford magazine in 2023. Words: Simon Holmes. Photos: Ade Brannan