WRC: S2000 Yes! Turbo No! For 2010 Rally Season

Tony CastaneiraAnalyst IMarch 4, 2009

The FIA have now changed their mind about the World Rally Championship’s (WRC) 2010 regulations. Originally they approved the switch to the Super2000+ formula.  The plus in Super2000+ represented an additional kit including a turbocharger and added aerodynamics. The FIA have now backed off that decision and have decided that the WRC commencing in 2010 will be Super2000 but without turbocharger, but still maintaining the extra aerodynamic package.

Reacting to the current world economic situation, the FIA's ongoing drastic cost-cutting measures come as no surprise.  The S2000 is significantly cheaper than the current WRC regulations to run, and eliminating the turbo kit means that no development is needed on cars that currently exist.  If these rules are accepted, the WRC will be using almost exactly the same cars as the rival Intercontinental Challenge (IRC).

S2000 prepped rally cars are no less spectacular than the WRC and are also relatively simple to build. New S2000 cars, as most components in the drivetrain, are standardized and further modifications are limited.

At present, only Citroen and Ford have factory efforts in the WRC. Toyota, Volkswagen, Peugeot, Skoda, Fiat, Proton, Suzuki, and Renault already have S2000 cars, while Volkswagen,  Mitsubishi, Subaru, and Chevy(Vauxhall), among others, are all expected to commence new S2000 projects.  

S2000 rules are also used in a two-wheel drive format in the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), and several other international and domestic series, which help spread development costs.

The question is which of the two major rally series will this affect more.  Will teams currently running in the IRC switch to what many perceive as the more prestigious WRC?  Or…will teams leave the WRC and move over to the IRC with its better TV package and less petty politics?

My guess is that it will help the private teams, as now they will be able to compete in both series for a lot less cost, as all they will need is one car.

Whatever the outcome, we will have to wait till the final decision is made at the next World Council meeting on March 19.