Just like Formula One, the World Rally Championship has a bunch of new rules coming into play for the 2017 season, which will make the cars quicker and give the designers more freedom.
It all sounds pretty good news for us and the cars look set to both sound and look absolutely insane. We haven’t had any official 2017 car reveals but manufacturers have been busy testing them out, giving us a glimpse of what’s to come.
Power will be boosted from 300 to 380bhp next year, with weight reductions and deregulation of aero components like the diffuser and wheel arches increasing stage times and performance by a considerable margin.
A whole host of videos have burst onto the internet over recent months with footage of the WRC 2017 pack in action during testing. The mad engine noise is matched by the beefy, aggressive new exteriors and aero.
Citroen’s new car will be called the C3 WRC. We recently got a glimpse of what it could look like with a concept version, which looks downright mean with its chunky front bumper, diffuser, bulging wheel arches and monstrous rear wing. That’s what we like to see!
The French manufacturer’s new WRC machine has been testing for a little while now and shows all the signs of the concept that will be unveiled at the Paris motor show. Even looking at just one contender, it’s already clear next year’s rally cars will be the best looking in some time.
Because the WRC technical rules have been opened up in terms of aero, we’ll see more variety in the exterior design of the 2017 competitors. That always makes for good looking cars because it’s no fun when the entire pack looks exactly the same.
Plus, design genius and skill should be rewarded, not pegged back. It’s good to see WRC opening up the scope for aero innovation in this way and giving designers the chance to do something different. All good fun and it should (hopefully) produce spectacular results.
The Volkswagen Polo WRC has also been testing on a range of stage types, showing off insane wheel arches, a more aggressive front end and sculpted lines. The rear wing can’t quite match the C3 in size but it’s still pretty bonkers.
Hyundai’s i20 WRC design looks subtler compared to the Polo. The VW looks meaner but that might not necessarily be the fastest option and it’s pretty mad to describe next year’s Hyundai WRC challenger as “subtle” when it still looks epic.
It’s pretty cool to see a boring car like the i20 being turned into a monstrous racing machine. The same can be said for the new Toyota Yaris WRC, which brings the Japanese manufacturer back to rallying. Most of its testing has been done with a camouflage livery but that can only cover so much. We can see you, mean and mighty Yaris.
We haven’t heard as much from Ford with its Fiesta WRC for 2017, but it has begun testing with a mule version featuring a new engine and a mock rear diffuser. So we’ll have to wait and see just how the new Fiesta compared to rivals in the looks and pace department.
One thing is for sure though: WRC is back in business in 2017, maybe even back to its best and with a line-up of cars that look brilliantly insane. We can’t wait to see the new cars be officially unveiled and racing around forest stages, snowy roads and through sandy deserts very soon.