WRC goes all electric from 2022!

WRC goes all electric from 2022!From Chris Biewer [ 01/04/2019 ].
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Remember Citroen said the WRC has to go Electric or Hybrid from 2021 or they pull out? By now the FIA has confirmed that the current rules will stay until at least 2022, and note that Citroen has quickly altered their threat until 2022. Anyway, we all know the future is electric. And that no manufacturer was interested in an all electric World Rally Cross series lately, opens even more potential for the WRC! We could shorten WRC events and rival the WRX failure? Anyway WRC has to either go Hybrid or Electric. It is believed that Toyota - the hybrid pioneers after all - kept saying a hybrid future for WRC is not what they want, Akio Toyoda wanted exciting cars instead - this played a major role in the all electric WRC future!

Well, it is the old subject all over again. And we have to do something. The WRC in only its second year 1974 had several events cancelled for the oil crisis. Public media told if we don't cut back, our oil and fuel will only last maximum another 15 years. That was back in 1974, and the WRC cancelled half their 1974 calendar, and that is exactly the reason why we still have fuel and oil today, 45 years later, when it all was supposed to end after 15 years.

Anyway, it is cristal clear, we can't go on like this. During the Tour de Corse last weekend there was a meeting with the FIA Rallies Commission to decide on the WRC future from 2022. Toyota is the car manufacturer with the biggest Hybrid experience of the lot, and that they did not want a Hybrid WRC future is thought to be the final decider for the FIA deciding the WRC future must be all electric instead!

The FIA also says that the Formula-E is a great success, and they carry over some of the Formula-E ideas into the WRC. A source close to the FIA told us: "Some old fashioned fans keep insisting WRC can't go electric for the long distances and the endurance element, but we have learned from Formula-E! Formula-E has no reliability issues at all, all they do is they change the entire car in the pit stops, and all the sudden they last the distance!"

Interestingly the same source tells us the WRC can keep its adventure and endurance aspect. Having learned from Formula-E, the cars can be changed at every service. Initial regs drawn up by the FIA say that each driver can have a maximum of 5 cars per WRC event!

Citroen is already reported to be very happy with that idea and they confirm they would stay for at least another 2 years!

In fact Citroen CEO Linda Jackson underlines that this idea is very fascinating indeed! It gives far more variety to the WRC. If you see that especially in Corsica the C3 WRC worked very well on some stages, but not on others. I.e. Seb Ogier would have won the 47km Castagniccia stage had it not been for an anti lag problem, which would not have happened in the first place if the car was coal powered. Plus the effort of changing the set up all event. The new proposition is much better. Citroen could use a compact C1 for the twisty stages and a long wheel base C4 for the faster stages, or even the new C5 Aircross for rough, high in the air stages crossing the Argentinian Andes Mountains! It is a fascinating idea. Like in Formula-E, where they have 2 cars per race for 1 car can't last the distance, the future WRC is even better, we use up to 5 cars per rally - and why not even 5 different models of cars, depending on the stages to come?

Well, this all sounds a bit strange, but it is fact that Formula-E only works for drivers swap cars in the pit stop. And why not actually, since in WRC you can retire and SupeRally the next day, this is a success and the same principle!

And above all, it eliminates the problem of the low battery range, while we can keep the long distance element of rallying!

One problem is in all that: Allowing up to 5 cars per driver per event is costly. But since many years the FIA found a good way to cut costs, despite extending the calendar to ever more events. To cut cost there will be further limits on testing and on tyres.

This still needs to be discussed with mainly F1 based FIA experts, but we could cut huge cost in using only 2 sets of tyres per WRC event!

This seems to be the perfect solution. We will even keep the service park excitement in WRC, as the tyre changes are all the same. I.e. once Ogier, Neuville, have completed a 47km stage, with the electric car battery near enough dead by then, the tyres will then be changed as is now in 2019. It is only a tiny detail really, that the tyres are taken from one chassis and put onto the next chassis. It is basically instead of changing tyres, the drivers change the whole car but still use the same set of tyres for the rest of the day! This is not only saving huge budget, it is making things far less complicated: No more playing with set ups, damper clicks, just have specific cars for each type of stages! Imagine, after having seen Kris Meeke's tactics on the last day of Corsica: "I take the 3-cylinder Aygo for the penultimate stage to save my tyres, and it will be the Celica for the power stage!"

At the same time this opens up the WRC for more concepts, more developments, and all is environmentally friendly. Talking environment, range, different projects, how much will it cost, this will rule out teams as M-Sport....:

No, right in contrary: M-Sport is already waiting for this change as they have the perfect partner: M-Sport is the first to come up with a collaboration with super racing fuel! M-Sport being based in Cockermouth, Lake District, they will get their special racing fuel from neighbouring Sellafield. Sellafield will produce even high voltage Racing Power, and it get's even better, as M-Sport's Malcolm Wilson confirms: "I know Sellafield since my childhood, and M-Sport doesn't have to pay a penny for the fuel any more, as long as for every WRC event except Wales Rally GB, we take a couple of tins of their waste and leave them on a motorway lay-by in France!"

Toyota - who was the main objectors to a Hybrid-WRC - appear to work on similar lines as M-Sport, as Akio Toyoda confirms: "We are talking to Fukujima for special Racing Fuel, and it will be even more powerful than the Sellafield Racing Fuel, but we would prefer the plans to be delayed to maybe 2024, as there is a question mark if Fukijima can pick up production again after their slight incident in 2011!"

Most exciting however are the plans of Citroen. They were the driving force of 'WRC must go Hybrid or similar by 2022' for Citroen develops ideas to this scenario since a long time. And surprisingly Citroen goes a completely different route to M-Sport and Toyota: Citroen apparently already has a deal with German based electricity giant RWE. They get Racing Fuel from a German Coal Power Plant!

Coal? Really? Pierre Budar explained exclusive to Rallye-info: "We thought about this really long and found out, the best way of putting black marks on the roads in braking areas or tight hairpins in future is coal, as simple as that! In fact this is perfect alone if you see the Corsica recce situation and the fact that electric cars don't produce any CO2 at all! That all said, Linda Jackson and I do respect, if not even envy Toyota and M-Sport, the more racing power Fukujima and Sellafield produce, the less will be the percentage of plastic waste in our Oceans as the percentage of nuclear waste is higher. But at the end of the day all electric cars are free of any CO2, and the deal we have is that on the Tour de Corse 2022 we can even make huge black marks on the roads on this beautiful island, and we can do so with even 3 drivers (15 cars, as long as we cut cost elsewhere), while the CO2 is contained in Germany. We won't even have snow on Corsica recce!