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WRC Promoter to set out vision for the future

The WRC Promoter is set to reveal its vision for the future of the World Rally Championship to stakeholders in a meeting at Rally Portugal on Saturday.

Sébastien Ogier, Vincent Landais, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: Toyota Racing

The meeting is expected to focus largely on conveying the promoter’s plans and initiatives regarding the promotion of the championship.

It is understood the FIA will attend the discussion on Saturday morning alongside representatives from the WRC teams and members from the Ford Motor Company.

The timing of the meeting arrives amid uncertainty regarding the technical regulations for the short-term future of the WRC, which will be ratified at the World Motor Sport Council meeting on June 11. In February, the FIA revealed a wide-ranging proposal of changes that covered technical, sporting and the promotional aspects of the category.

While WRC teams have largely been in favour of changes to the sporting regulations, they have strongly opposed the FIA’s wish to remove hybrid and reduce the performance of Rally1 cars for next year, before the introduction of new regulations for 2027.

Improving the promotion of the WRC is however an aspect that teams and drivers have been particularly vocal and eager to understand the pathway moving forward.

“There will be this week an important meeting with the WRC Promoter where they will present to us their vision for the future of the sport. It is not just a vision but a tangible action plan to execute on the vision,” Hyundai team principal Cyril Abiteboul told Autosport.

“This is important as we have had lots of discussion over the technical regulations but frankly the promotion needs to be looked at in detail.”

M-Sport team principal Richard Millener believes a clear vision on the promotional side of the WRC is a key part in answering the debate over the technical regulations.

Adrien Fourmaux, Alexandre Coria, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Adrien Fourmaux, Alexandre Coria, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team Ford Puma Rally1

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

“We are expecting to see some information tomorrow about what the strategy and vision is, so there is a lot of stuff going in the right direction, but we will know more by tomorrow I guess,” Millener told Autosport.

“I think we need to get the promotional element sorted first and have everyone agree that we are going in the right direction on that, and then we have a plan and strategy. I have said to the FIA that as soon as that is given the okay, we need to know very quickly that 2025 and 2026 [technical rules] are left alone because we have to fully concentrate on 2027.

“If we have a strategy for promotion that goes up until at least 2027 then we have to go with the framework of the 2027 regulations as well, so that not only the current manufacturers can adhere and go with it but that new ones can as well.”

The WRC Promoter is working on a number of projects to boost promotion. Last month it revealed its support to help Martins Sesks secure a two-round Rally1 programme with M-Sport, while a move to bring Formula 1-style team radio and more data to broadcasts is also in the works. 

“We have talked a lot about it [growing the WRC] but what are the individual things we are going to do to make sure that happens? That is what we are looking to try and find out,” Millener added.

“There are things like the [team radio] command centre which they [the WRC] talked about and how they implement that and get it ready for January.

“There is stuff happening in the background to make sure there are new concepts for next year. The command centre will allow us to tell stories a lot better, and for Ford updates on the US event [tipped for 2026] is key.

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Thierry Neuville, Martijn Wydaeghe, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images

“We are not asking for any surprises we just want a clear vision on all the stuff we have talked about over the last two years really that can help build the championship.

“A rule change is the best opportunity to find more manufacturers and 2027 is still an achievable target to find new manufacturers.

“We have to move very quickly as we are nearly halfway through 2024 and 2025 would be the design and build period, 2026 is testing and 2027 is go time. In two months’ time we need to have at least a framework of everything that is happening.”

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