FIA Announces New World Rally Car Regulations for 2017 Evolutions

FIA approved a new World Rally Car technical regulations for 2017 onwards, yesterday at World Motorsport Council meet in Mexico city. Dramatic and individual aero package to deliver exciting new look is what been quoted. Engine power has been dramatically increased to 380+bhp, with an upgrade of the turbo restrictor from 33mm to 36mm. Other than that, the engine capacity and much of the powertrain remains the same as present ones. Also the newer 2017 homologated cars can be 25kgs lesser than the existing 1200kg of minimum weight requirement. Above is a render of how the future cars would look like.

Here is the complete press release from the federation,
Dynamic, distinctive, powerful and looking potent, that’s the new World Rally Car set to bring the FIA World Rally Championship stages alight from 2017. The outline principles of the new technical and homologation regulations, approved by the World Motor Sport Council in Mexico City today, are an evolution of the current 2014-2016 regulations but will deliver more of what the fans want to see: an increase in power hidden under a more individual and dramatic body that exudes the spirit of motorsport competition.
“Defining the principles has been an extensive but very rewarding process,” said Jarmo Mahonen, FIA Rally Director. “All of the sport’s stakeholders have been involved to ensure we meet commercial, marketing and promotional objectives, while at the same time recognising what our fans want to see. The cars will look dramatic and have more character; such are the freedoms we hope to see defined in the final technical regulations. Seeing one of these cars in action will really set the heart racing and that’s exactly what was intended.”
The 2017 regulations see enhancements to the engine, and the visual impact created by an all-new aerodynamic package will dramatically enrich the spectacle of these cars and provide far greater diversity. The 1.6 litre turbo engine is retained but the power will be increased up to the level of the WTCC race cars. The diameter of the turbo restrictor will be increased from 33mm to 36mm while the turbo pressure remains at a maximum 2.5b absolute. The minimum weight of the car has also been reduced by 25 kilograms.
Greater freedom will also be afforded with the aerodynamics, setting this World Rally Car aside from many of its recent predecessors. A free zone defined around the bodyshell of the production car could see a front bumper overhang by an additional 60mm, potentially also with additional aero devices ahead of the front wheels, while the rear overhang can be increased by an extra 30mm. Bigger door sills will also be permitted. The fixed rear wing can be dramatically increased in size and while the rear diffuser will have maximum permitted dimensions, the shape will be free and may protrude up to 50mm from the rear bumper. The WRC car will be issued from a production car from which the overall homologated length must be greater than or equal to 3.9 metres, potentially adding further opportunities for manufacturers.
"I think that the ideas for the look and performance of the 2017 car are great news,” said Volkswagen Motorsport’s double FIA World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier. “As a racing driver you are always looking for more performance. I think the larger wing and new aerodynamics will give the car a bit more downforce, more grip and more speed going into the corners. This is also good for the show, because the extra power will definitely make the driving more spectacular for the fans. And it will also make the car look a bit more aggressive with a wider body - I am really looking forward to seeing the next generation of the Polo R WRC."
The other manufacturers’ representatives currently competing in the FIA World Rally Championship were equally enthusiastic and similarly united about the prospect of exciting new regulations for 2017.
Yves Matton, Director of Citroën Racing, said: “We are very excited with the new look of the world rally car from 2017. It is difficult for us to say if we will commit to this Championship at that time, but all I can say is that the cars will look absolutely amazing. They will bear more technological aspects and lead the audience to their dream. The wings and the bumpers will be redesigned in order to attain a larger maximum width, and a larger rear wing will also bring a more aggressive look to the vehicles. We believe this will create more excitement for the public in the stages, but they will still be able to recognise the road car model they can drive on a day-to-day basis.”
Michel Nandan, Team Principal at Hyundai Motorsport: “WRC has benefited from stable regulations for the past few years, which have been good for companies like Hyundai coming into the sport. The current rules have afforded us flexibility and ease in adapting the standard road car to develop it into a WRC specification. The changes for 2017 are, however, even more ‘manufacturer appropriate’ in that we have even more freedom to work on the car, for example on the suspension, and to push the design envelope of the car, which will consequently be more powerful, larger and look more aggressive. All in all, it will be another positive step forward to improve the value of the WRC and to take the sport into an exciting new era.”
M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE: “These new regulations mark the start of an exciting new era for the FIA World Rally Championship. Not only will the 2017 cars look a lot more spectacular, but we will also see an increase in power and performance. The concept really does remind me of the Group B days. When you combine the exhilaration of that era with the fantastic safety measures that the FIA have worked to implement, this marks the start of a thrilling new chapter for the WRC. Although the cars will look completely different and there will be some substantial work on the bodyshell, a number of key components can be enhanced and carried over from our current car. From a financial point of view, a number of parts that we are currently working to develop can be taken a step further and the whole team is really looking forward to getting started on this new project.”
Toyota will also return to the WRC in 2017 with a team known as Toyota Gazoo Racing, reflecting the shared identity of the Japanese manufacturer’s other international motorsport activities. “We are excited about the challenge of coming back to the WRC. By inviting Tommi Mäkinen for our WRC project, Toyota Gazoo Racing’s development structure has been even more strengthened. Under his leadership experience, the team will proceed with car building based on 2017 regulations.”
Summarising the work collectively achieved in defining the world rally car of the future, FIA Technical Director Bernard Niclot said: “There were three main objectives with these regulations; make the car spectacular, be mindful of costs, and maintain, if not increase safety. The cars will be striking, there is no doubt about that, and there are small but always significant improvements in relation to safety. We have been attentive to the level of investment for manufacturers currently involved in the Championship and these regulations have also helped attract Toyota back to the series which is fantastic news. I think we have achieved our targets in helping to add yet more value to the WRC.”
While the new cars are set to hit the stages from 2017, WRC cars homologated between 2011 and 2016 will remain eligible in the FIA World Rally Championship but will not be updated to meet the 2017 Technical Regulations. The homologation of a 2017 World Rally Car will be completed only after a Manufacturer has registered for the 2017 Championship for Manufacturers.
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WRC, R-GT Class | Excitement, Brought To You By FIA!

Francois Delecour driving Porsche 997 GT3, RMC 2015
WRC 2015, has seen a lot of changes in cars and also driver lineup. But one new feature induced in the Championship went rather quietly!. 

Yes, its the R-GT class introduced by FIA as RGT Cup which will run across Europe in WRC and ERC rounds. Last year Tuthill Porsche has already shown glimpses of action running a Porsche 911 RGT and completing Rallye Deutschland. Thats almost after 28 years a Porsche completing a WRC rally!


Now going a little back into the history, RGT class was first introduced in 2011. Technically this class is for series production GT cars. The car must be a two wheel drive only. Lotus came up with the Exige R-GT. It was debuted in 2012 Geko Ypres rally. But after that it all went quiet again.

Lotus Exige R-GT



Tuthill Porsche at Rallye Deutschland
Then in 2014 Tuthill Porsche built Porsche 911 RGT on a 997 circuit racing platform. The car was stripped down and transformed into a rally racing machine. In the process getting the power down from 450bhp to 320bhp to comply with the RGT regulation.

Car made its first appearance in Harry Flatters Rally 2014 running as a course car. Then again the car burnt some rubber in WRC Germany this time as a competitive car. Then this year FIA came up with this brilliant idea of having a RGT Cup! A five round championship which will be run on WRC and ERC tarmac rounds. 



The 2015 RGT Cup Calendar (accurate ERC event dates yet to be confirmed);
  1. Rallye Monte Carlo (22nd-25th January, WRC) 
  2. Geko Ypres Rally (late June, ERC) 
  3. Rallye Deutschland (20th-23rd August, WRC) 
  4. Rallye du Valais (late October, ERC) 
  5. Tour de Corse (early November, ERC)

  
In the making....
Finally into this...

To give a boost to this, in Finland a Aston Martin Vantage RGT rally car appeared on recently concluded Arctic Lapland Rally. Makela Auto-Tuning is responsible for this madness! They stripped down a 2012 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 into a rally beast! Adding to it FIA has also given its approval for the RGT class. Sweet isn't it! Seeing a V8 rear wheel drive roaring through the rally stages. This car is likely to be seen competing in more rallies.
Aston Martin Vantage RGT


These candy-eyed cars have got a lot of interest in rally, this could be the beginning of a successful RGT championship. And of course this Excitement is brought to you by FIA!

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Toyota Announces WRC Return From Season 2017

Yaris WRC, with its elder sibling Corolla WRC

Toyota Yaris WRC - Front view
Global automotive major, Toyota has confirmed its ambitious return back to WRC from season 2017. From its newsroom release, earlier today in its Japanese website, the intention to return to top level Rallying is evident. Again its a 'win:win proposition' for the sport and automotive community(?) as a whole.

Toyota Yaris WRC - Rear view
Toyota agrees that by its WRC programme, it will help to understand, improve the level of their product line, for motorsport & finally pass it on to road going cars. A thumbs up here! The rally vehicle will be based on the "Yaris" hatchback and will be developed and tested by Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG).
Toyota Yaris WRC - Side view


Yaris in its WRC outfit was seen a few times testing in European region since early 2014, although the car was de-badged during the time. Perhaps, the automotive outfit wanted to keep it under wrap until its final 'GO' word for the Yaris platform, which happened early this week.


Excerpts of Toyota's Official Press Release!

Toyota Yaris WRC - Studio
  • Toyota has started preparations for its return in 2017, judging this event to be a leading stage to promote its ever-better-cars activities.
  • Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) is developing and testing the engine and vehicle, which is based on the Yaris.
  • Between 1973 and 1999 (with a temporary suspension between 1996 and 1997), Toyota won 43 WRC rallies and won the championship three times.
Vehicle Yaris WRC (length 3,910 mm; width 1,820 mm)
Engine 1.6-liter direct-injection turbo (in line with global race engine stipulations)
Tires Michelin
2015 test drivers Stéphane Sarrazin, Sebastian Lindholm, Eric Camilli

Drivers for the 2017 competition are as yet undecided.

Morizo Test Drives Toyota Yaris WRC


The Yaris WRC Story


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Ever Fancied Co-Driving For A WRC Driver? Read on, if YES!

Group F BMW 325i in Neste Oil Rally Finland - 2007

This opportunity is for those 'Been a rally fan for long & always wanted to get inside the Rally Car', who only dreamt or still dream to be a co-driver for a WRC grade driver, (who drove a Ford Focus WRC prepared by M-Sport, roughly about a decade back). And the driver's name is Antony Warmbold!

To put things clear & straight, you don't get to co-drive in a REAL-rally-event, just with the title of being a 'Rally FAN' or even a 'Rookie Codriver', let alone for a WRC-cadre pilot!

Now to the next obvious question. Who is 'Antony Warmbold'?

Let us allow to introduce himself here!

Antony Warmbold
My name is Antony Warmbold and I want to give back to the sport I love – Rallying! The result is a wonderful opportunity for our lucky winner. I competed as a rally driver in the World Rally Championship in 2003, 2004 and 2005. I got my start in rallying as a co-driver to my father Achim Warmbold, who originally drove with none other than the head of the FIA and former Ferrari team Principal Jean Todt as one of his co-drivers.

I have a desire to pass on the knowledge acquired from my experiences in
the European and World Rally Championships. I passionately believe Motorsport fans should get the opportunity to experience rally sport up close and personal.


What a wonderful concept isn't it! Now let us move towards the business end of it.

How does it work?

Gemma Price codriving for Antony
They will raise some of the funds to finance the project through crowd funding. 21.000 € is the target. As the first part of this competition – each backer (who wishes to enter the selection process) will have to write a short e-mail explaining to me why he/she would be an ideal candidate (max 150 words, see below for address). The minimum donation amount is 10€ and that entitles you to enter the selection competition.

Yes, 10€ and you or someone like you could be in it! Though it is not like, you pay the meager amount and you 'will' get a drive. But it has a selection process to get there, & yeah, a little bit of luck won't do any damage!

Once the project is underway (i.e., successfully funded), everyone will be able to follow the program via the blog, Facebook and a dedicated public YouTube channel.

Now let's understand the process.

Eligibility Criteria, Who can apply?

Antony Warmbold in a Rally Car!
The project is open for anyone who has a car driver’s license, and should be a project backer (as simple as
that!)

In order to take part in the rally with me, it will be necessary to obtain a rallying license from your local Car club or Motorsport authority, whichever is appropriate. This will be looked at in detail on a case by case basis because modalities change depending on where your residence is. Antony will help you with this part.

Upon reaching the target amount (i.e., 21k €), Antony will select 8 candidates from the project backers (i.e., who has paid the humble 10 €, and emailed him their interest to participate). The 8 selectees and he will then hold video conferences which will enable him to start introducing you to the project. At the end of the video conference sessions, he will shortlist 3 candidates. Lets call them 'chosen 3', for familiarity sake.

The program will be covered in social media (ie. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, his blog) therefore as a participant you must agree to appear (film, photo, writing) and be interviewed.

What happens next, to the 'chosen 3'?

BMW 325i group F - Rally car
The next step will be to meet at a rallying facility in Finland, where the 3 candidates will be introduced to the
co-driver’s job in real-world exercises. At this point in time an experienced co-driver will assist in the training.

The objective will be to familiarize you to the environment of a rally car, practice reconnaissance (or recce as we know/read about it), note reading at rally speed in a rally car, changing tires (on-stage), basic mechanical interventions, introduction to time-controls, road-books, etc.

We will then select the best of the 3 after the training has ended. Finally, the winner and Antony will participate together in a rally event.

Brilliant ain't it? How many times in a lifetime of an average person, like us, get a chance like this? Well, with my stats, almost never!

How to account in for the training & rally expenses?

All the expenses, till they are inside the 'chosen 3', would be at their own expenses. i.e., email, video-conferencing, and other internet communications.

Then the 'chosen 3' will be covered from the funds raised, for;

Training

  • Full transport (to and from) between your home & training area / hotel (Hämeenlinna, Finland)
  • If any flights required: economy class
  • Accommodation and food (http://www.katistenkartano.fi/en/katinen-manor)
  • 3 days on-site for training
  • Training stage: 4 km long typical Finnish style forest road (rental, repair costs)
  • Rally car: BMW 325i group F
  • Consumables (tires, brake pads, fuel, other fluids)
  • Insurance for rally car
  • Service crew for rally car
  • Standard practice car (rental car)
  • Consultant co-driver
  • Facility manager
  • Social media coverage

Rally

  • Full transport (to and from) between your home & Rally location (Finland)
  • Accommodation and food
  • Rally entry fee
  • Reconnaissance car rental and service
  • Rally car rental and service package
  • Insurance for rally car
  • Consumables (tires, brake pads, fuel, other fluids)
  • Driver/co-driver equipment (All regulation required clothing, helmets, Hans devices, etc.)
  • Rally driver / co-driver licenses (To be obtained from country of residence’s automobile club or association or federation)
  • Social media coverage

Not covered by budget

  • Your own liability insurance
  • Your own medical insurance (Make sure with your insurance provider that you are covered abroad or subscribe a specific sports medical insurance for the time of the event)

We are confident that the budget can be reached with the help of you backers; so please feel free to share with your friends!

Finally the Event, & the Rally Car!

The plan is to compete in the Finnish national rally ITÄRALLI JOENSUU (13.06.15) in a Group F BMW 325i.

What and how the rally car sounds & feels like, have a look at this below clip (although not driven by Antony himself)



What is the role of a Co-driver?

Just watch this for the answer!

Still Interested?

Then here are the contact details below of, Antony Warmbold & Thrill Pledge!
  • antony.warmbold@gmail.com
  • +33 (0) 6 78 63 08 43 

Best of luck!

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Ogier wins the Season Opener | Rally MonteCarlo, WRC - 2015

Neuville over the icy roads around Monaco | pic courtesy - ColinMcMaster

The Pole - Robert Kubica
Rally MonteCarlo, was expected to be a battle of the Sebastiens', and it was, although for a very short time of the event. A couple of mistakes, proved costly to the senior Seb and the VW driver Ogier took charge and keep it till the victory, at the end of SS15, today.

Kubica's SS14 crash
Robert Kubica proved his speed, but lost over consistency as he had many off's and crashes. The pole's latest retirement was today at the penultimate stage finish, where he crashed due to a broken/lost brake pedal?!

Latvala a bit sideways
VW drivers were the cool headed [& talented] chaps of the entire competition, and occupy all the steps on the podium. Sebastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala & Andreas Mikkelsen proved their mettle of being the champions of the yesteryear, and trying hard to keep it that way.

Today, the day started with the rally's final service and laden with their choice of tyre compounds, the WRC brigade rolled towards the first stage; Col St.Jean - St.Laurent 10.16 km in total closed section, which was also the final [Power] stage [offering bonus points] of the rally.

Rally Winner's collage - Seb.Ogier
Penultimate stage of the rally, the SS14 La Bollene Vesubie - Sospel with a competitive distance of 31.66 km, was a stage where few drivers powered it hard, while others saved it to the final stage that offered extra bonus points. The stage conditions were favourable to the drivers, as the weather was clear and roads drier; compared to last year and with little snow ice except between the famous pass through Col Du Turini.

Kris Meeke happy with PS win
Kris Meeke had saved the tyres from the previous stage, and gunned it on the Power Stage and earned the 3 bonus points, Loeb took the two bonus points and Latvala the final one with a third quickest time. In the end it was the overall victory that counted to the defending champions, and they took to the podium finally.


Power Stage - Top 5 {SS15 COL ST JEAN - ST LAURENT 2 / 10.16 km}

Pos Flag + Driver Time Diff Prev Diff 1st
1. 3 GBR  K. MEEKE 6:30.5

2. 4 FRA  S. LOEB 6:30.7 +0.2 +0.2
3. 2 FIN  J. LATVALA 6:32.4 +1.7 +1.9
4. 1 FRA  S. OGIER 6:33.2 +0.8 +2.7
5. 9 NOR  A. MIKKELSEN 6:34.9 +1.7 +4.4
Seb.Loeb speaking to media staff


Volkswagen bagged the maximum points for constructor title, while Hyundai with the second maximum with no retirements, while Citroen & MSport had to deal with their share of DNF's.



Final Overall - Top 10

Pos # Driver Time Diff Prev Diff 1st
1. 1 FRA  S. OGIER 3:36:40.2 - -
2. 2 FIN  J. LATVALA 3:37:38.2 +58.0 +58.0
3. 9 NOR  A. MIKKELSEN  3:38:52.5 +1:14.3 +2:12.3
4. 12  NOR  M. OSTBERG 3:39:23.8 +31.3 +2:43.6
5. 7 BEL  T. NEUVILLE 3:39:52.3 +28.5 +3:12.1
6. 8 ESP  D. SORDO 3:39:53.1 +0.8 +3:12.9
7. 5 GBR  E. EVANS 3:42:03.9 +2:10.8 +5:23.7
8. 4 FRA  S. LOEB 3:45:14.9 +3:11.0 +8:34.7
9. 21 CZE  M. PROKOP 3:46:35.0 +1:20.1 +9:54.8
10. 3 GBR  K. MEEKE 3:47:35.8 +1:00.8 +10:55.6

Ecstatic Winning Team of Volkswagen Motorsport @ Rally Monte-Carlo

Next of WRC action resumes towards the north pole, at Rally Sweden from 12th next month; which is again cold and fast
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WRC, 2015 Rally Monte-Carlo Final-Leg - Rolling On!

The WRC's famous pass, Col de Turini - pic courtesy: rallytravel.com
Neuville in his Hyundai i20 WRC
In a few minutes from now [in progress], the remaining final three stages of Rally Monte-Carlo will begin with the pass through the famous - Col du Turini. The first stage, COL ST JEAN - ST LAURENT, with a total of 10.16 km competitive section will be re-run later at noon, as the rally's Power Stage, to conclude the event at Monaco. Second stage would be LA BOLLENE VESUBIE - SOSPEL, which is 31.66 km.


Ogier posing for Sophie Grallion
Yesterday, the day was scheduled with 4 stages; but the day's opener stage was cancelled due to safety reason, because of huge spectating crowd lining along the stage. Hence the day begun with the monster 51.7 km run, where Robert Kubica made a pleasing time of 33.4s ahead of Kris Meeke. Rally leader Ogier lost nearly 2 minutes in this test, but maintained enough gap to retain his top spot with a 42.8 second lead, at the end of the day.

A busy service park @ MSport

Today's start order would be like; 1. Lorenzo Bertelli 2. Sebastien Chardonnet 3. Ott Tanak 4. Yuriy Protasov 5. Robert Kubica 6. Henning Solberg 7. Kris Meeke 8. Sebastien Loeb 9. Martin Prokop, 10. ,11. ,12. , and 13. Mads Ostberg, 14. Andreas Mikkelsen, 15. Jari Matti Latvala & 16. Sebastien Ogier.



Citroen camp, with Loeb!
An early morning's & final 45-min service [in the rally] for the cars prepared them to tackle the final stages without any hiccups.

And as usual the tyre choices rule the roost; Ogier has 3 Super soft + 2 soft, Latvala with 4 SS + 2S, Mikkelsen: 3 SS + 2S, Tanak: 4S + 2SS in boot, Evans has 4SS + 2S, while the boys at Hyundai & Citroen have 6 Softs for each of their car.
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#WRC Rallye MonteCarlo, 2015 - VW Drivers Dominate after Loeb Crashed out!

Mikkelsen ends the day on overall 3rd
Ogier takes the leadership, EOD
Epic battle of the Seb's, resumed on Day 2 of Monte-Carlo rally, and was totally action packed. Loaded with 3 special stages that were repeated once more after a mid-day service, the rally passed through the Col's around Monaco. The stages had different surface conditions, damp at times, with ice reported at certain sections, and also had dry stretches. 

Ott Tanak does a good job so far
Tyre selection was crucial, and the day began with a thorough analysis of possible weather & surface conditions, to select the best set of tyres; along with spare wheels, which would be used later to change for specific stage(s). Studded winter tyres were the preferred option this morning.

Meeke, Loeb, Ostberg and Neuville left with 5 studded tyres. Evans, Tanak, Sordo, Ogier, Latvala and Mikkelsen had 4 studded and 2 (non-studded) Michelin winter tyres for the morning loop. Kubica and two others were driving on Pirelli rally tyres for the event.


Loeb won the opening stage, while the Pole, Kubica won three stage of the day, until he crashed twice on the last stage to loose nearly three minutes and lost many positions on the ranking.

Loeb & Elena trying to fix the damage
The battle of the Seb's continued, and it was until the 9-time World Rally Champion made mistakes, the reigning Champ, Ogier, who took the advantage to gain back the lead. However in the last stage, Loeb made a costly error on an icy corner; slid off the road and damaged his left-rear wheel & had to give up on the transport section back to the service park. Frantic repairs did help a little, but at the end it was over. He would be returning the next day under super rally format.


Overall - after SS8

Pos  # Driver Time Diff Prev Diff 1st
1. 1 FRA S. OGIER 1:52:07.4

2. 2 FIN J. LATVALA 1:53:52.8 +1:45.4 +1:45.4
3. 9 NOR A. MIKKELSEN 1:54:42.2 +49.4 +2:34.8
4. 6 EST O. TANAK 1:54:51.8 +9.6 +2:44.4
5. 12 NOR M. OSTBERG 1:55:10.3 +18.5 +3:02.9
6. 5 GBR E. EVANS 1:55:22.6 +12.3 +3:15.2
7. 7 BEL T. NEUVILLE 1:55:37.3 +14.7 +3:29.9
8. 8 ESP D. SORDO 1:56:10.4 +33.1 +4:03.0
9. 21  CZE M. PROKOP 1:57:07.0 +56.6 +4:59.6
10. 14 NOR H. SOLBERG 1:58:46.3 +1:39.3 +6:38.9

Four stages don the list of specials for Day 3 ,starting at 9.17 am local time, and with an epic 51.7 km marathon stage as the day's second test. After the mid-day service, the day's first stage is repeated and ends with the classic Sisteron-Thoard as final test for the day.



Action so far in videos! 


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