The World Rallycross Championship has failed to attract sufficient manufacturer interest for its electric Supercar format and has instead created an all-electric support series called ‘Projekt E’, which is set for launch in 2020.
While Formula E will enjoy the presence of nine manufacturer teams next year, (Audi, BMW, DS, Jaguar, Mahindra, Mercedes, NIO, Nissan, Porsche) and other series such as the British Touring Car Championship are welcoming electrification in the future with hybrid technology, WRX’s planned electrification has hit a major obstacle.
“It emerged that the manufacturers were not yet ready to commit in sufficient numbers to make a fully-electric World Championship a reality,” said WRX head Torben Olsen. “However, we believe that Projekt E is a positive step forward to deliver on our 2017 pledge [to electrify WRX].”
Ford Motorsport boss Mark Rushbrook explained that the Blue Oval witnessed manufacturers pull out of meetings to decide WRX’s electric future – and followed suit. Ford bowed out of WRX at the end of 2017 but expressed interest in returning to an electric series. He told Motor Sport: “We saw, through the technical working groups, a lot of manufacturers started to drop out, and it was clear that [WRX] was not being set-up for something with a lot of manufacturers.
“I don’t know that any automaker wants to be in that position of being the first, hoping that others come. We’re not going to go compete by ourselves only against one other manufacturer.”
Ford also confirmed it will cease its factory GT programme in both IMSA and the World Endurance Championship at the end of this season. The cars are expected to run with customer teams instead. However, Ford has expressed interest in evolving the GT to fit the WEC’s new Hypercar rules from 2020.
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