Tuesday | 27 Apr 2021

WRC hybrid project on course for 2022

FIA rally director Yves Matton has reaffirmed the introduction of hybrid cars to the FIA World Rally Championship next season remains firmly on course.

Both the FIA, along with WRC manufacturers Hyundai, M-Sport Ford and Toyota, are fully committed to the implementation of Rally1 hybrid for 2022 and Matton said measures to counteract issues caused by the pandemic had been implemented.

“The Rally1 hybrid project is a major landmark in the development of rallying and underlines the FIA’s commitment to sustainability and advanced technology,” he said.

“Of course, any new product that is being developed encounters challenges. During the current test phase there is strong collaboration between the FIA, the manufacturers and our technical partners. We are working as one to complete tasks that are synonymous with a development cycle of this nature.

“At present we are operating an accelerated process due to delivery delays brought about by the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, but with eight months remaining to the start of the 2022 season, we are on course,” he added.

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In line with the sport’s drive towards new technology and sustainable energy, the next-generation of top category WRC cars will feature a state-of-the-art plug-in hybrid unit, developed by Compact Dynamics.

The FIA and the manufacturers have made a significant investment in the programme. The three-year agreement includes a shared contribution to the development costs of the innovative hybrid technology, which will have a strong focus on sustainability, cost management and safety.

The Rally1 category will also showcase major safety breakthroughs with a new safety cage design, developed in collaboration with the manufacturers following an exhaustive analysis and crash test programme.

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Together with Compact Dynamics, some of the key project milestones include:

• Design and prototype manufacture of the hybrid units
• Bench testing of the prototype units is in progress
• Initial units supplied to teams for integration into their safety cell designs
• Analysis of assimilation of turbocharged petrol engine with hybrid units along with dyno testing
• Selected private testing of Rally1 development cars