The WRC will move to new hybrid Rally1 regulations next year with Toyota, Hyundai and M-Sport Ford currently developing brand new cars incorporating a 100kW hybrid systems.
Originally the move to Rally1 sparked the end of the much loved World Rally Car era, but the FIA has since confirmed to Autosport that the generation of vehicles introduced in 2017 will still be able to compete in WRC events next year.
In order to compete the WRC cars will run with approximately 30 horsepower less than the current specification, which will be achieved by a modification to the turbo restrictor.
This will ensure that the grandfathered cars won’t be able to topple the new Rally1 cars and win events outright.
At this stage, the plan is centred around privateer and gentleman driver entrants that currently own WRC vehicles.
“The cars will be eligible to compete in the events next year and in terms of the interest shown, from the manufacturer teams, there is not a lot of interest shown,” the FIA’s rally department explained to Autosport.
“The priority is to support the privateers and the gentleman drivers who already have the cars and want to continue to compete in WRC events.
“The only change on the cars will be to change the restrictor from 36mm to 33.7mm which is calculated to be a power reduction of 30 horsepower.”
Gus Greensmith, Chris Patterson, M-Sport Ford WRT Ford Fiesta WRC
Photo by: McKlein / Motorsport Images
Of the three manufacturer WRC teams, M-Sport has a history of running customer programmes, and while team principal Richard Millener is pleased the current cars will still be eligible, he says his squad’s focus is running customer Rally1 cars next year.
In September, the British squad revealed it had received “a lot of interest” from customers in its new Puma Rally1 car.
“Our intention is to run customer cars in the new Rally1 category,” said Millener.
“That’s why these technical regulations were built up, to make the cars simpler and more affordable in a lot of areas.
“That should hopefully allow us to have more Rally1 cars, which we all know has been missing over the last few years.
“The old cars will still be around but like with anything, at times you’ve got to move on. You’ve got to look to the future and not to the past.
“The cars are there and they can be used, which is great, but the future is still hybrid cars and the new set of regulations, and that’s what we’ll be concentrating on.”
Next month’s Rally Monza will be the last event for the current WRC car in full specification.