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WRC reveals further details on hybrid future

The World Rally Championship has outlined further details regarding the use of hybrid power next year and its move to reach carbon net-zero status by 2030.

Hyundai I20 N WRC Rally1

Hyundai I20 N WRC Rally1

WRC.com

Next year sees the WRC enter a new hybrid era following the formation of new Rally1 regulations which Toyota, Hyundai and M-Sport Ford have committed to for at least three years.

The championship’s new rule set will feature cars fitted with a Compact Dynamics designed 100kW plug in hybrid units, producing 514 horsepower when combined with its 1.6 litre internal combustion engine. WRC chassis have also been re-designed to be stronger and safer to protect crews from impacts.

As previously reported, hybrid systems are expected to be used in every stage, with crews set to use full electric mode, which has a 20km range, during road sections between stages and when navigating through the service park.

Teams will also utilise special engine software programs that will be pre-programmed into the car’s ECU before a stage to allow hybrid use in certain sections of stages.

Toyota Gazoo Racing Yaris WRC Rally1

Toyota Gazoo Racing Yaris WRC Rally1

Photo by: WRC.com

However, further details were revealed during a WRC 2022 presentation at the IAA Mobility event in Munich this week.

These maps will be based on driver input only (throttle pedal and brake). They will allow the release of energy in a way that is tailored to the driver’s style and the road conditions.

The amount of power released with each press of the throttle will be decided by the length of the stage and the state of charge (SOC) of the battery. For example, a short stage and a full battery means the electric power can be delivered longer with each throttle application. A long stage means there is less energy available at each throttle application.

Electrical power can be recovered when the throttle is released and through regeneration from braking. The power can only be reused if drivers accumulate enough energy to reach a ‘valid green’ period, and after that hybrid power will return, and can be deployed depending on the ECU programmes and maps agreed.

Speaking at the Munich event, the FIA’s technical director Xavier Mestelan Pinon confirmed drivers will be able to activate the hybrid power at the start of each stage for a 10 second period.

“It will not be a push to pass system,” said Pinon.

“From the start of each stage you will be able to activate it for 10 seconds so you will have maximum power, but after that to have more power the driver will need to regenerate enough power on the way.”

Ford Puma WRC Rally1

Ford Puma WRC Rally1

Photo by: WRC.com

Pinon also revealed that should the hybrid system, which can withstand a 70G impact, fail a safe mode will engage, but crews will have limited power thereafter. It was also revealed that the charging of batteries to full power will take approximately 30 minutes.

M-Sport team boss Malcolm Wilson says the hybrid technology is providing plenty of challenges to the teams and that smart drivers will benefit from clever management of the extra power next year.

“There has been a great deal of effort, thought and design and engineering that goes into doing all of that and doing all of the programming,” said Wilson.

“There is certainly a lot more to it then probably what we all envisage. The drivers that are clever and smart are the ones that are going to be at the forefront I believe.”

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In addition to the sport’s move to hybrid power, the WRC will become the second FIA series to use 100% sustainable fuel next season, provided by P1 Racing Fuels, after WTCR adopted it for the 2021 season.

This is all part of the championship’s 360 degree sustainability programme that also has plans to ensure the entire service park will be powered by sustainable energy next year.

“For sure this hybrid and sustainable fuels is only two major steps on the 360 degree programme on sustainability in the WRC,” said FIA rally director Yves Matton.

“I strongly believe the next step will be in the service park and to be able to power the service park with renewable energy, and this will be next year, and [we will] charge the Rally1 cars with this energy."

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