It seems that nothing will escape the automotive sector's shift towards electrification, not even the high-thrills World Rally Championship or WRC. Yes, the next series of rally cars will come with electric motors and batteries, just like your Prius.
Following the World Motorsport Council meeting in Paris, the FIA has announced new rules for WRC which will have all vehicles use hybrid systems starting the year 2022. According to the FIA, teams will initially use a 'supplementary hybrid system' for the first three years during the rule's implementation in 2022.
Specifically, this means that all vehicles entering WRC will be sharing the same hybrid components and software as vehicles from different teams, making it a more even playing field. Teams will only be given more technical freedom to develop and tweak their vehicle's hybrid and electrical system starting in 2025. The level of technical change teams will be allowed to make to the hybrid systems will also depend on the success of the three-year transition period.
The aim of the shift to hybrids in WRC is to provide rally cars the ability to run purely on electric power in cities during the transit stages. At the same time, the hybrid system would also be used as an electric power boost during the rally stages.
Aside from having hybrid vehicles in WRC, other changes include a body scaling system. This would allow teams to scale down their bigger cars for competition in order to meet FIA vehicle dimension regulations. The FIA will also be bringing back a control tire in 2021 in order to 'help reduce costs' and prevent another tire war from happening. Similar to Formula 1, teams will only be using tires from a single manufacturer, who has yet to be chosen at the moment.
If you think about it, 2022 is only three years away. Now, we're curious to see how manufacturers can quickly adapt to the rule changes and what the future of rally cars will be like.