The future of the world’s premier rally competition – the FIA World Rally Championship – now has a clear and positive direction following the approval of the WRC Working Group’s proposals by the World Motor Sport Council on 28 February.

As part of the pathway that has now been established – with recommendations that span promotion, sporting and technical – results of the FIA’s WRC Fan Engagement Survey have been a central consideration. Over 11,000 respondents from across the world shared their feedback, providing invaluable insight on several topics including the format of rallies, car types and specification, and further fan focus groups allowed for a targeted review of key recommendations.

Unsurprisingly, the unique nature of WRC shines through, with Rally fans feeling strongly that it is set apart from other motor sports thanks to its format, location and variety, in particular it’s unpredictability (93%) and the role of nature in the rally’s outcome (95%), adding to the excitement.

A huge 98% agree that the WRC should continue to host events across the year to ensure a range of surfaces – snow, gravel, asphalt – which adds to the experience.

But, whilst pleased with the current state of the Championship, fans also shared their thoughts across a range of topics:

When asked about the format:

  • 80% want to see more ‘Endurance’ rallies in the future
  • In the future, fans want formats to remain variable and for the WRC and ensure there is a good balance between shorter events and ‘Endurance’ rallies.
  • 87% want to see standardization of on-board cameras to enhance TV coverage

And, when it comes to technical aspects:

  • 72% are in favour of regulations to ensure equality for larger base model cars, with 65% agreeing there should be a price cap on cars
  • 97% want to see more manufacturers involved
  • Sustainability is on the agenda with 59% agreeing with the importance of using sustainable fuels, and 23% favouring hybrid technology.

Looking at the Drivers:

  • 94% feel that the unique nature of the driver’s skills are just as important for success as the performance of the car, with 92% agreeing that the WRC stands apart from other motor sports because of the teamwork between the drivers, co-drivers and the engineers
  • Amateur drivers add to the excitement, with 86% of fans stating that they like that they can compete on the same course as professional drivers
  • 62% are inspired by the drivers, whilst 68% consider them great role models

Finally, when it comes to engagement and how fans are watching:

  • 92% get their information from motor sport media and 89% from online media
  • Of respondents who have attended WRC events, only 29% have done so in the last 12 months, with the main barriers to engagement being distance or cost
  • However, 87% of those who watch WRC events have watched one in the last 3 months, with those who haven’t watched it being because of lack of access (50%)
  • Just over half (53%) are satisfied with the amount of television/online coverage and fans would like the WRC to expand its coverage of the rallies as much as possible, striking a balance between free and paid for content

To find out more about the WRC Working Group recommendations presented at the World Motor Sport Council click here. 

FIA President, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, said: “The impressive response from WRC fans is a clear indication of the passion held for this unique motor sport, and the information they have shared is invaluable as we look to review the Championship and set future objectives. Thank you to all who took the time to share their thoughts.”

Source : Fia