M-Sport has registered as a manufacturer in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, as revealed by this week's AUTOSPORT magazine
The Cumbrian company's decision means that drivers using its new Ford Fiesta S2000 can score points in the IRC's manufacturer contest, and gives the championship eight registered brands for 2010.
"Joining the IRC allows us to offer our customers the chance to make the most out of their participation on the series, as well as the opportunity to showcase our products in new markets," said M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson.
The new Fiesta - which will form the basis of Ford's World Rally Championship future when the series switches to a variant of the S2000 rules - was first seen as a course car on last year's IRC finale in Scotland. Works Ford WRC driver Mikko Hirvonen will give the car its first competitive outing on the Monte Carlo Rally later this month.
"Initial testing with the Ford Fiesta S2000 has gone extremely well, and we're very much looking forward to seeing our car make its competition debut with Mikko Hirvonen in Monte Carlo," Wilson added.
M-Sport joins Abarth, Honda, Peugeot, Proton, Mitsubishi preparation firm Ralliart, Skoda and fellow new addition Subaru on the list of manufacturers registered for the 2010 IRC.
The fifth Intercontinental Rally Challenge was the best yet, and it was Skoda UK driver Andreas Mikkelsen who emerged as champion from a tense five-way shootout at the season finale. Matt Beer reviews the season