For many young people, the diamond of all birthday parties was a day out at the indoor karting track at Maryport (well it definitely was for me!).
But Cumbria actually holds a much richer motor sporting history than just this, which flies under the radar and out of sight for a lot of us.
Operating a flourishing global motorsport business, M-Sport has quickly become an industry leader with state-of-the-art facilities and winning performances around the globe.
Chosen to mastermind Ford’s assault on the FIA World Rally Championship, the Cumbrian-based team have secured seven FIA World Rally Championships, 62 victories and 264 podiums – making them one of the sport’s most successful outfits.
In its mission to be a world leader in rallying, M-Sport also operates a thriving customer support business for private teams.
Assisting Ford drivers with motorsport programmes around the world and establishing a true Ladder of Opportunity, they are the only manufacturer to offer a car across all levels of the FIA Rally Pyramid and the biggest manufacturer of Ford racing vehicles in the world, and all of this is happening in the beautifully quaint Cumbrian village of Dovenby.
They also have a state-of-the-art facility in Krakow, Poland where all the responsibility for the two-wheeled activities take place.
Formed in 1979 under the name Malcolm Wilson Motorsport, the company was originally next door to Wilsons' house near Cockermouth.
Following the career of Malcolm Wilson as a driver, the company grew steadily through the 1980s, with rapid expansion in the early 1990s reflecting the success that the company was having throughout the world with the Ford Escort RS Cosworth.
In 1994, the team won national titles in Italy, Portugal, the Middle East, and indeed the British Rally Championship with Malcolm Wilson himself behind the wheel of the Escort.
The start of the 1997 WRC season also saw the name change to M-Sport. Victories in Greece and Indonesia saw faith in the small team rewarded, and they went on to finish runner-up in the manufacturers' championship.
They won their first WRC in 2006 and since then, they have had some of the world’s greatest rally drivers, such as 9-time World Champion Sebastian Loeb and Estonia’s Ott Tanak.
They are currently sitting 3rd in the standings in the 2022 season, with their next race being the Safari Rally in Kenya.
Best of luck M-Sport!
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