Farewell to 400cc: The World Rally Car evolves
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This is a discussion on Farewell to 400cc: The World Rally Car evolves within the Motorsports Talk forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; The formula was as simple as it was brilliant. The best things usually are: just ask whoever it was who ...

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    Farewell to 400cc: The World Rally Car evolves



    The formula was as simple as it was brilliant. The best things usually are: just ask whoever it was who decided to break with tradition and sell sliced bread.

    In the mid-1990s, world rallying was struggling. Few manufacturers had four-wheel drive machinery fit for the stages and the sport was beginning to lose some of its appeal. The answer was the World Rally Car.

    And last week’s Wales Rally GB was the final round for that formula as we know it. From next year, there will be 400ccs fewer under the bonnets of the cars competing.

    The original World Rally Car idea was simple, to allow manufacturers to use a car of which they produced 25,000 and 2,500 versions of the basic engine. Crucially, as long as the car fitted the basic requirements of being more than four-metres long with an engine no bigger than two litres, then it was fair game for a WRC.

    The manufacturer could then slot in a four-wheel drive system, slap on some aero bolt a big blower to the side of the engine and go rallying at the highest level. All they had to do was produce 20 of the kit of parts they were fitting to their ‘standard’ car.

    It was a formula which revolutionised the sport, allowing manufacturers like Seat, Hyundai and Skoda, firms with little of no experience of four-wheel drive to come into the sport with competitive machinery.

    The first World Rally Car turned its first competitive kilometre on the first stage of the Monte Carlo Rally in 1997. On the second stage, Armin Schwarz had the dubious honour of being the first to bin one, when the German dropped his Ford Escort WRC and biffed the rockface after missing a particularly slushy right-hander.

    Early cars from existing manufacturers in the sport, such as Ford and Subaru were evolutions of their Group A cars. Both cars looked similar inside, but from the outside, certainly, the Impreza WRC97 was a staggeringly different motor. It was a thing of beauty. And it went as well as it looked, as Piero Liatti’s Monte win in 1997 demonstrated.

    Read More: wrc.com/news=13955


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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    I was skeptical of any change because I have always felt FIA will usually make changes if and only if F1 is threatened somehow in their minds by rallying -- that remains more popular than their F1 cash cow despite their best efforts.

    However I feel this is a good step forward. In fact I remember yelling about Subaru increasing the displacement in the WRX motor to 2.5L, wanting them to decrease it to 1.8L instead at the time.

    Every time FIA tries to make cars slower the engineers eventually think their way around the limitations and end up with something faster anyway. In time the 1.6L cars will be quicker than today's 2L cars.
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    Resident meany-rator 06wrx4me's Avatar
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    I see this as an awesome move. I would love to own a twin turbo MINI COUNTRYMAN, a 1.6L T AWD Ford Fiesta, an AWD Fiat 500 t.

    There is amazing potential for not only trickle down technology, but some awesome road cars. Imagine a quick paddle shifting DSG (think Ferrari 458) in a mid $20k road car. I'm a fan!

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    Hammerdown Mod of Thunder josnroh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post
    I was skeptical of any change because I have always felt FIA will usually make changes if and only if F1 is threatened somehow in their minds by rallying -- that remains more popular than their F1 cash cow despite their best efforts.
    Good point,I've never considered that before.
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    Registered User 22B05STI's Avatar
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    As someone that has been in professional motorport for 10 years and seen the huge decline in manufacturers involvement in racing in general, I will miss the wrc in it's current form but I hope that it will bring more manufacturers back and more opportunites for Technicians like myself.
    I am interested in returning to rallying again so hopefully the opportunities will come in the future because of these changes.
    On the other hand I really don't like the way racing has become so "spec" to keep manufacturers involved, hopefully the formula will grow and the technical aspects of the sport are able to evolve as the series health grows

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