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M-Sport World Rally Team

When the rubber hits the road on a punishing race track, timing and precision is everything for the M-Sport World Rally team.

45 technicians

20,000 parts

300+ checks

M-Sport logo


In a punishing rally, milliseconds are the edge. Every detail matters. Nothing can be overlooked — and no one knows that better than M-Sport. 

M-Sport is responsible for running the Ford World Rally Team in the FIA World Rally Championship. In this 12-event series, cars speed across all sorts of terrain — icy tracks, desert sands, twisting forests. 

The competition at the top is tough. Breaking records can sometimes require taking risks, and a safe and reliable car allows drivers to do just that. We chat with M-Sport’s Team Principal, Richard Millener, about how M-Sport stays at the edge of speed with the SafetyCulture platform. 

Making sure safety and quality is 100% 

Motorsport is the ultimate test of humans working together to push machines to previously unachievable limits. Each rally is different, so M-Sport has to cover every variable outcome. Events can take place at -35°F (1°C) in the Arctic or amid the searing heat of Greece.

“At every turn, you’re thinking what could happen here? What might go wrong?” Rich explains. “Three days of rallying involves weeks and weeks of preparation. People work very hard, but things get missed. The goal is to limit those risks.”

The team at M-Sport is responsible for the design, development, production, and manufacturing of its high-performance vehicles. World-class engineering pushes these vehicles further and further with each iteration. The logistics involved in maintaining and enhancing these machines are complex, and there is next to no margin for error. 

“We’re on a world stage. Ultimately, our goal is to win. Realistically, winning is not easy.”

M-Sport Team Principal Richard Millener
Richard Millener,
Team Principal, M-Sport

Quality assurance is a huge component of M-Sport’s daily remit. Before anything is released to their customers, extensive testing and development exercises are carried out. This is where SafetyCulture comes into play.

M-Sport uses the SafetyCulture platform at an operational level to carry out equipment and service checks. This allows them to inspect all parts and ensure things are up to scratch, and it also heightens visibility across the entire team of where they’re up to in the build. Checks done on the factory floor can be easily accessed back at headquarters — vital when you have a 118-acre facility in the UK and another one in Poland! Centralizing data becomes essential with dispersed teams working together.


Winning is a team sport

Rally drivers describe the adrenaline and the buzz as they steer a car right on the edge of grip. Everything comes together in those moments – from the mechanics and development of the car to the trust between the driver, co-driver, and the wider team. Sure, there may be two people in the car, but winning is really a team sport. 

“Rally is probably one of the biggest team sports there is,” Rich says. “Every single person is responsible for making sure the team’s at the next rally. The drivers, co-drivers, technicians, transmission, engines, electrical, hydraulics, logistics, the list goes on.” 

To give you an idea of the precision involved in every single step leading up to that race, here’s an example. With every race, the team takes the seats out, and strip the car back. “Even the smallest of things – like the seat in the wrong position – can often put the driver off, and that means he can’t operate and drive at the level he needs to win rallies,” Rich says.

When you are at the edge of your limit, you really need to be able to trust your team. Everything needs to be perfect.

M-Sport driver Adrien Fourmaux
Adrien Fourmaux,
Driver, M-Sport

The different parts of a well-oiled machine

So how does M-Sport foster confidence in its team? Well, it isn’t just a one-off trust exercise  — it’s something M-Sport practices every day, from workshop to rally. It starts with debriefing engineers on a car’s performance on the track, rebuilding, and checking everything is done properly. It’s in the meticulous preparation and pace notes shared between driver and co-driver. 

The team uses the SafetyCulture platform to bring together seamless communication and collaboration because different people often work on things at different times. They use Assets to account for and manage each of their cars. They scan a QR code attached to their rally cars, and this then brings up an Inspections checklist on all the things they need to address for that vehicle. They also use it to flag and report Issues that need to be rectified. Pretty seamless, right?

It’s also about ensuring all this knowledge is passed on within the organization so everyone learns and grows together. With Training, quality assurance training becomes easier to deliver to the entire M-Sport team in easily digestible bite-sized lessons. This way, they’re always compliant, and everyone stays in touch with best practices.

“One of the biggest challenges we faced last year was the introduction of hybrid technology into the rally cars,” Rich says, explaining the big battery pack that each car is now fitted with to give it extra power. “It was imperative that everybody undertook mandatory safety training for that, and SafetyCulture was the perfect tool for that with the ability to do online direct training.”

The work the team does on the track is quite significant because they’re essentially helping to develop technology that gets fed back into road cars. “As we move forward into the electrification period of road technology, what we learn and how we learn to be safe will go forward and be implemented by normal road cars and normal road users,” Rich says. 

Driving towards better

In rallying, preparation is the competitive difference. That’s why you’ll often see drivers traditionally peak later compared to other competitive sports. There’s so much to learn because the conditions, the engineering, and the groups are always changing. Getting everything right takes time. “The smallest detail is what makes the difference between winning and losing,” shares Malcolm Wilson OBE, Managing Director at M-Sport. 

M-Sport knows what it takes to be the best. It has lived the highs and lows, competing and winning at the highest level throughout the company’s life. Seven M-Sport cars won on their debut events. With SafetyCulture as their Workplace Operations Partner, they continue to drive towards better because they know a better way of working isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a must.

“Improvement is key to future success,” Rich says. “The competition will catch you, and the competition will pass you unless you keep on improving. SafetyCulture allows us to find more time to improve.” 

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