Rally USA Aims to Become Part of WRC by 2026

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Rally USA sets sights on joining WRC in 2026

The WRC is strategically targeting entry into the US market, designating it a key goal, with the last North American round held in 1988 at the Olympus Rally.

Plans to resurrect Rally USA have materialized, featuring a new event in Chattanooga, southeast Tennessee, utilizing gravel roads in the Cherokee National Forest and around the Ocoee River region in Polk County.

The project’s planning committee, supported by the American Rally Association (ARA), Chattanooga Tourism, the State of Tennessee, regional governments, and private sponsors, includes experienced rally competitors and organizers.

Rally USA Aims to Become Part of WRC by 2026
Rally USA Aims to Become Part of WRC by 2026 (Credits: Motorsport)

A demonstration event took place in September last year, observed by FIA’s safety delegate Michele Mouton. Another event is scheduled for 14-16 June, mimicking a WRC event schedule, aiming to attract overseas privateers.

The goal is to hold a candidate rally next year, potentially making it onto the 2026 WRC calendar. A Rally USA contingent attended the WRC season opener in Monte Carlo for a fact-finding mission.

Rally manager Stuart Wood emphasized the need for a series of events to build momentum, expressing optimism about the June event paving the way for a candidate event in 2025. The ultimate aim is inclusion in the WRC calendar for ’26 or ’27.

WRC event director Simon Larkin emphasized a cautious approach, indicating the USA won’t be ready for WRC in 2025. Larkin emphasized the desire to create a lasting legacy and an impactful event, with funding and time being crucial factors.

Insurance requirements pose a challenge, considering the complexity and expense of the US insurance market. Larkin and Wood expressed confidence in overcoming this hurdle, highlighting ongoing efforts with brokers and underwriters.

Wood’s upcoming meeting with an insurance broker aims to address concerns raised by the national motorsport governing body (ASN) in the US, focusing on safety measures such as new event design, fan culture, and limited access to forest stages, which inherently reduces the risk of large crowds.

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