Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

WRC to abandon hybrid-powered Rally1 cars from 2025

The FIA has announced that modified and cost-effective versions of the current Rally1 machines without hybrid power will form the World Rally Championship’s top class from next year.

Elfyn Evans, Scott Martin, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: Toyota Racing

The world motorsport governing body has shared its key objectives for the future of the WRC which was presented at today’s World Motor Sport Council.

These objectives have been put together following an extensive analysis of the WRC current form carried out by the FIA’s working group that was created in December last year to “evaluate and recommend the future direction of rallying” triggered by a decrease in top level entries.

A recently-launched FIA fan survey, which received more than 11,000 responses, also contributed data to assist in the decision making process.

The FIA has confirmed a number of proposals for the future of the WRC, including a move to abandon hybrid power and the introduction of new set of Rally1 regulations from 2026.

The future of the Rally1 hybrid class was at the centre of the debate, with suggestions the championship could abandon Rally1 and move to Rally2 or a new 'Rally2 Plus'.

The FIA has announced that the Rally1 car will continue to form the base of the top tier but will run without a control hybrid unit and a reduction in aerodynamic and turbo restrictor to reduce costs.

Cost has been a critical element of the current Rally1 hybrid cars that were introduced in 2022, with the FIA, teams and competitors stating the near one million euro price tag as too expensive.

Regulations passed for this year have allowed Rally1 cars to run without with hybrid if ballast is put in its place, however entries are ineligible to score championship points.

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: M-Sport

The new sporting and technical regulations form 2025 onwards will be published in June this year.

“The current Rally1 car will continue as the WRC’s flagship vehicle in both 2025 and 2026 but with modifications to reduce cost and performance,” read the statement from the FIA.

“These include the removal of the plug-in hybrid unit, with the performance compensated by a reduction in overall weight, and a reduction in the air restrictor and aerodynamics.

Rally2 cars will continue in their current form for the duration of their homologation as the basis for national and international series.

However, Rally2 cars competing on WRC events from 2025 and beyond will have an option to run with a WRC kit consisting of a larger restrictor, a larger exhaust, an optional paddle shift gearbox and a rear wing with the objective of reducing the performance gap between Rally1 and Rally2 cars.

From 2026, revised Rally1 technical regulations for the WRC’s top-level category will be introduced based on the current Rally1 concept. These regulations will run alongside the current Rally1 regulations for the 2026 season.

These new rules will use a common safety cell to reduce costs and complexity, and allow manufacturers and tuners to develop cars with their own bodywork based on production models including B-class, C-Class, compact SUV or a Concept Car designed to tight technical criteria such as centre of gravity and aerodynamics in order to equalise performance.

The power output will be targeted at 330hp, with the engine performance controlled by a reference torque curve for all cars. Engine and transmission will be cost-capped and technology limited to Rally2 equivalence. Aerodynamic efficiency will be limited along with a top speed restriction to reduce development and cost.

Andreas Mikkelsen, Torstein Eriksen, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Andreas Mikkelsen, Torstein Eriksen, Hyundai World Rally Team Hyundai i20 N Rally1

Photo by: Austral / Hyundai Motorsport

The cost per car will be capped at €400,000 and WRC manufacturers will be required to make their cars available for sale directly from the finish parc fermé of a WRC event.

At the earliest opportunity, an electric category will be introduced into the WRC, with the FIA technical department charged with establishing suitable technical regulations that could utilise the new Rally1 safety cell and achieve parity of performance with Rally1 cars running on sustainable fuel.

“The WMSC members carefully considered the recommendations of the WRC Working Group and were united in their support of the series of objectives that have been established,” said FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

“To be at the point where the WRC Commission can now work on finalising proposals that will go a long way towards cementing the WRC’s future course, once approved by the WMSC, is a significant moment for the championship, its stakeholders and the rallying community in general.

“It’s also important to note that the results of the WRC Fan Engagement Survey will be carefully considered by the WRC Commission during the process of drafting the final proposals.

“I thank all those who took part as we continue the process of delivering a WRC that’s relevant for the present and fit for the future.”

The FIA has also announced it will form a WRC Promotion Team within the FIA in close collaboration with stakeholders from the WRC Promoter, event organisers and manufacturer teams "to leverage promotional opportunities around each event and maximise the WRC’s full potential."

Event organisers will be given more freedom when developing the route of their rally. However, while the starting day of an event and the number of stage kilometres can vary, all rallies should finish on a Sunday with the Power Stage.

The global calendar may include a small number of shorter sprint-style and longer endurance events in addition to the rallies that follow the existing format. Nevertheless, the overall timed kilometres covered during a season will remain largely unchanged with events still organised on a mix of asphalt, gravel and snow.

As part of cost-cutting measures, the target number of personnel of a three-car team will be capped in the future.

The service park set-up will follow a new model with manufacturers allocated locally sourced structures as a working space. As well as saving costs and reducing the amount of transportation required, the move provides more flexibility, should the service park location change during an event. It also reduces the total area required for the service park by event organisers.

To allow organisers to adopt less rigid formats, reduce liaison section distances and spread the reach of events, remote service opportunities will be encouraged with teams permitted to carry limited parts in a small support vehicle. 

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Rovanpera adds Safari Rally Kenya to WRC part-time programme
Next article WRC Promoter backs FIA vision for WRC future

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe