UK Rally, organisers of the Dulux Trade MSA British Rally Championship, have confirmed that the series will be open to two-wheel drive cars only from 2012 onwards.
The move is designed to re-establish and lower the cost base for competitors, engage with UK car manufacturers and importers and put the BRC on a firm footing for the next five years.
The 2012 Championship will solely focus on competition with homologated two-wheel drive cars up to two-litre engine capacity, as well as cars that are still homologated in groups A and N, it includes the new breed of Group R class cars currently produced by Renault, Peugeot, Suzuki, Ford and Citroën. Following discussions with manufacturers, it is also known that other marques are expected to homologate two-wheel drive cars in 2011, including Mini and Skoda.
Manufacturer-based single-make series will continue to feature as a foundation, and discussions are ongoing about incentives include works drive type prizes similar to those run successfully in the past by Peugeot UK and Mitsubishi GB.
The series will retain its international status which has been successful in attracting foreign competitors from all over the world. The MSA British Rally Championship for drivers and co-drivers will be fought out in overall honours from qualifying international rallies limited to two-wheel drive cars. The teams' championship will once again become a manufacturer and model featured series, which as well as being open to factory teams will encourage participation from privately-owned motorsport outfits running their own works supported cars.
The junior championship will be focused on the Rally 1 class, a manufacturer backed one-make series, where budding juniors will be able to showcase their talent and incentives will be provided so that natural progression up the Group R categories is realised.
Contracts that are already in place for 2012 include Sky Sports who will continue to showcase the series with high definition technology. Pirelli will continue to provide the control tyres and with it, the coveted Star Driver programme.
“We are at a cusp in the sport and firm leadership is required," championship manager Mark Taylor said, "Having spent months in discussions with competitors, teams, car manufacturers and organisers, I believe this is the future for the British Rally Championship. With the loss of Group N, retaining four-wheel drive cars and the rising costs attributed to that type of car is just unsustainable here in the UK.
"2011 will be the final year for the four-wheel drive, Group N and Super 2000 cars in the BRC. We have not made it a secret that we were going to move in this direction but with competitors looking at significant investments, I couldn't delay the announcement any longer. One season notice gives current owners time to realise their investment whilst giving prospective purchasers a choice.