A mid-August deadline has been established for manufacturers to commit to the newly announced FIA Electric World Rallycross Championship.
The series, which currently features a mix of works-supported and privateer teams with internal-combustion engines, plans to go all-electric for its top Supercars class in 2020.
While approved by the World Motor Sport Council in May, e-racing365 understands that a final go-ahead for the planned launch year could hinge on formal commitments from multiple manufacturers.
Currently, only Peugeot has publicly announced intentions of competing, although Ford, Volkswagen, and its sister brand Audi have all reportedly expressed varying levels of interest.
“We have to wait a little bit to confirm how many manufacturers will be there,” Peugeot Sport director Bruno Famin told e-racing365.
“The FIA World Council already approved the World Championship. Now we have to make sure all of the manufacturers will be there.”
Famin indicated that the FIA needs at least four manufacturers for the championship to go ahead as planned for 2020, with a deadline of Aug. 15 established.
“I don’t know what would happen if there’s only three or we have two and need a couple more months [for others to confirm],” Famin said. “It’s a question of timing.
“If we want the World Championship in 2020, we have to formalize everything very soon. But we’re not sure if all the manufacturers will be ready. Let’s see in the coming weeks.”
Ford Performance global motorsports director Mark Rushbrook said they continue to study EWRX, alongside a potential entry into the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
The American manufacturer previously supported Ken Block’s Hoonigan Racing team in the series, prior to refocusing its rally efforts entirely on the FIA World Rally Championship for this year.
“Knowing that we want to be racing somewhere that has an electric powertrain, that’s certainly one of the ones we’re considering,” Rushbrook told e-racing365.
Rushbrook said they will respect any of the FIA’s deadlines in regards to entry submissions.
Both Volkswagen and Audi are currently involved in the series with teams fielded by Tommy Kristoffersson and former DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom, respectively.
A full works team for Audi, however, is believed to be dependent on the future of DTM.
EWRX Has Potential for “True Innovation and Tech Transfer”
Ford’s Rushbrook believes EWRX will be an attractive platform for manufacturers, due to the brand relevance and tech transfer.
While all teams will utilize a common, ORECA-built chassis, cars will feature manufacturer-specific bodywork and have significant freedoms in electric powertrain development.
As is the case in Formula E, a spec battery, developed by Williams Advanced Engineering, will be utilized.
“What’s appealing to Electric Rallycross is that it will have a silhouette of a road car, it will have a relevant powertrain to what we’ll have in our road cars,” Rushbrook said.
“So there is an opportunity for a true innovation and tech transfer.
“It’s also a short and exciting format, and it’s global. So there’s a lot that’s attractive about that for sure.”
Peugeot, which stepped up as a full factory team this year running Hansen Motorsport’s Peugeot 208s, shares similar viewpoints on the all-electric series’ future.
“It’s fast, it’s a show, it’s very spectacular,” Famin said. “It’s easy to broadcast to social networks and has really good support.
“The fact that in 2020 it will be electric also goes well with the brand strategy. The new generation of 208s will have electrical cars. It makes a lot of sense.”