Rally – 1.6 Litre Turbo the Future

The WRC is on the brink of making a decision in regards to its engine future and the 1.6 litre turbo looks to be the choice heading into the 2011 championship if last weeks talks come true.

There has been much deliberation as to what engine would be run in the championship as they move into the super 2000 era. The championship currently supports a 2.0L turbo charged engine, however the Super 2000 regulations typically have a 1.6 litre naturally aspirated engine as the powerplant. That is one of the big points in regards to the S2000 vs. Group N debate. The group N still uses the turbo but is heavier in weight compared to the naturally aspirated S2000. Engine control through flowing corners is said to be better when using a S2000 and the weight reduction plays a large role in making the S2000 very dominant in competition.

The biggest issue to me is the WRC’s decision to go with the turbo in hopes of bringing new manufacturers on board. This will push new manufacturers to develop an engine for the turbo which is not that appealing when I can take what I already have to the IRC and race it. Perhaps for teams like Volkswagen that don’t really have a heavy involvement in proper rally, it may be easier. However a team like Skoda may be less likely to enter the top flight because of the extra costs. Skoda is already on a limited basis in the IRC with decisions being made weekly on how involved they plan to be.

I like the idea of the turbo and the S2000 chassis being meshed into one for some brand identity, but I don’t think it was the best move by the WRC unless they already have teams showing interest at the idea of developing the turbo. It certainly lends itself to the marketing of vehicles like this on car lots also. Ford is already designing a 1.6 litre engine with a Eco-tech turbo and having the Fiesta run with one in the WRC may help sell a few more units. Ford and Citroen have already started work on the engine design and expect to have a test bed car available in the early fall. Keep it here at the paddock as we await more news from the all knowing World Motorsport Council this spring.

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One Thought to “Rally – 1.6 Litre Turbo the Future

  1. From a industry relevance perspective, the 1.6L turbo configuration makes a lot more sense. Now the key is to keep this standard for long enough for teams and manufacturers to amatorize their costs over several seasons. That’s what will draw competitors back to the second best rally series in the world. After Rally America, of course. 😉

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