Instead of waiting for a similar series to emerge and become the semblance of environmentally friendly rallycross in the world, the FIA World Rallycross Championship is reportedly going all in on green technology—soon. According to Motorsport.com, an unnamed source said World RX will go all electric in 2020.
And, contrary to that little voice in your head saying it’s still 2007, the market hasn’t crashed yet and you’re still a free spirit with no wrinkles or obligations, 2020 is just two years away. Crazy, right?
Talks about adding electric cars to the World RX lineup became more concrete in August 2017, when Motorsport.com reported that the series’ managing director, Paul Bellamy, said World RX was working with manufacturers and the FIA to decide what electric rallycross’ cars and format would look like and “where it [would] sit in the World RX weekend.” Bellamy told Motorsport.com at the time that the introduction of electric cars would be in 2020 “at the earliest.”
But if the website’s new source is correct, it won’t be a question of where the electric championship will sit in the World RX weekend—it’ll be about who’s on board to toss out their gas-powered rallycross cars and continue competing.
From Motorsport.com’s new report:
“Electric cars will be the world championship. They absolutely, categorically will be the world championship,” the source told Motorsport.com.
“Fifteen cars are required to begin in 2020. Nine different manufacturers have been engaged in the discussions and negotiations so far, but the ability to buy the required components and build a car has to be open to privateer teams if they want to go that way too.”
It’s understood that the new electric cars will be based on a common carbon monocoque tub and safety structure that will be supplied as part of a chassis kit, expected to also include suspension and braking systems.
According to the report, the motors and composite bodies sitting on top of the cars’ chassis will be different, allowing different car models to be run as they are now. The new body shells are expected to be wider than the current ones, Motorsport.com reports.
The current cars also won’t be totally useless after 2020 if World RX does make such a radical change, according to Motorsport.com’s source. They’ll be used in other capacities. From the report:
Quizzed about the future of the existing Supercars in World RX from 2020, Motorsport.com’s source said: “Electric World RX cars doesn’t mean the current Supercars go away.
“There’s absolutely 100% commitment to keeping the current Supercars and not just as a European championship, as some form of international championship that can race outside Europe if the market dictates.”
The structure of the new cars and format is the result of multiple FIA Technical Working Group meetings over the last twelve months that have included a table of manufacturers, the FIA and World RX promoter IMG.
If World RX does make the switch, it’ll be a major move for top disciplines of racing—unlike ethanol-powered Indy cars or hybrid Formula One cars, which got beat to any potential electric move by the FIA Formula E Championship’s founding, World RX would be an international series making a revolutionary change to the very structure of the race cars it runs. This could be a step toward a quieter, more efficient racing scene as a whole—not just one that sticks by the traditional gas cars while lesser known electric series pop up occasionally.
Jalopnik has reached out to representatives from World RX for comment on the report, and will update if we hear back.
Update, Feb. 8 at 10:45 a.m. World RX PR manager Rachel Cavers told Jalopnik the series doesn’t have official comment yet because the switch to electric cars isn’t “100 percent confirmed.” World RX is currently working with the FIA on the project, Cavers said, but an official decision won’t come until May.