In the midst of the controversial Ford Focus RS renderings, which apparently were not frauds but instead early illustrations from a year ago to present to board members for approval, Ford has released today photos of an early Focus RS prototype undergoing performance and durability testing at the Nürburgring Circuit in Germany.

Set for its European market launch in early 2009, Ford confirms the Focus RS will be front-wheel-drive with a limited slip differential and feature the same turbocharged Duratec 2.5-litre five cylinder in the 225 PS Focus ST, however, optimized to generate over 280PS and more than 400 Nm of torque.

The public will have their first look at a “production-intended” Focus RS vehicle at its world premiere at the London Motor Show in late July. Further technical details of the all-new Focus RS will be released closer to launch.

See press release below for further details.

Official Focus RS Photos & Details Released