Rally the most popular form of Motorsport in Britain

Motorsport and, in particular, rallying is the best test environment in which to prove our technology by benchmarking ourselves against the major manufacturers. Nine out of the ten leading global car manufacturers have previously been, or are still involved in the top level of rallying.

An arduous test of man and machine

In its early years, rallying was an arduous endurance test of crew and machine, many of the now “infamous” events were often run over distances of 1000 miles and could last up to two weeks. In modern times shorter distances, more compact schedules and increased media coverage have led to manufacturers using rallying as one of their arsenal of weapons in raising their brand profile and, ultimately, increasing sales. Rallying has been repeatedly used to test and demonstrate technological advances. One classic example of this being the four wheel drive system used in the Audi Quattro. Turbo charging and run flat tyres are other examples of technological achievements which were initially tested/demonstrated in rallying.

British Rally Championship
Our test and development programme
Whilst we believe that rallying is the best proving ground for our technology, at this stage the World Rally Championship is a little over ambitious, so we will be focusing on the British Rally Championship (BRC).

Attracting major car manufacturers and top teams, the BRC regulations and event formats provide close competition, allowing the development of vital skills and speed, and encourage great camaraderie amongst competitors and teams.

Next year’s BRC will be contested over six events covering England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the Isle of Man. Run between late March and September on tarmac and gravel surfaces, the BRC events will expose the cars and crews to everything that nature has to throw at them from rain to shine - including fog and snow – and from dawn to dusk and beyond. The championship is contested over 750 miles of flat out, competitive driving which pushes all elements of the car to the limit. Typically only 45% of the cars that start will even reach the finish, let alone have a chance of winning!

A typical BRC event starts on a Thursday with a shakedown (or test) followed by a ceremonial start. This is a great PR opportunity where drivers meet and greet both the fans and the media. The rally is then run over two days, often with the first day continuing into darkness. After all the action there is ceremonial finish, followed shortly after by a prize giving presentation - another great PR opportunity.

Showcasing reliability and performance
Current regulations, based on standard (or near standard) production models have been supported by manufacturers because it creates a relatively level playing field on which they can all showcase their reliability and performance.

Fun in the pressure cooker
Believe it or not, this highly competitive environment is a great place to be! At the heart of any team is a group of individuals that can rise to any challenge, under circumstances, from changing a gearbox in 15 minutes to lying under the car in the rain at night, always working together to ensure the best possible result. That said, it must be pointed out that rallying is not all rain and hard work - we have our enjoyment too. It’s not just about opening the champagne after a victory, although that is nice. Setting a good stage time, beating a class rival, or making the most of a bad day all contribute to the team spirit and encourage us to strive for ever higher goals.

Media and PR opportunities
Media days and PR opportunities also provide a great opportunity for hosts, sponsors and fans to get close to the team, often spending time in the cars to experience the thrill first hand. Next year’s BRC will be broadcast on Sky Sports, covering all rounds, including class and team features. It will also receive top class media coverage in the press, on the radio and on the internet.

Reducing CO2 emissions
We believe that the quickest, easiest and most cost effective way to reduce CO2 emissions is for a lot of people to make a “small” change. In conjunction with renewable energy, electric motoring can provide that. The majority of consumers would buy an electric vehicle, if they were convinced that it was “equal” in terms of range and performance to their current car. We will prove this via rallying by competing against existing high performance vehicles and then, once proven we will put our knowledge and technology to good use in the everyday road cars we all like to drive.

Definitions for those unfamiliarly with Rallying
Rallying is a form of motoring competition that takes place on closed public roads or private (often Forestry Commission or MOD) roads. Competing cars are modified production, or specially built road-legal cars. Rallying is distinguished by running not on a circuit, but instead in a point-to-point format in which drivers and their co-drivers are timed between set control points (special stages). Providing that crew and car have the reliability and endurance to even get to the finish, rallies are won by pure speed within the stages, whist adhering to an overall time schedule.

WRC: The World Rally Championship is a rallying series organised by the FIA, culminating with a champion driver and manufacturer. The driver's world championship and manufacturer's world championship are separate championships, but based on the same points system. The series currently consists of 12 three-day events driven on surfaces ranging from gravel and tarmac to snow and ice.

BRC: The MSA British Rally Championship is a rallying series based in the UK. It consists of six rounds throughout the British Isles. The first championship was run in 1958 and it is licensed by the MSA Previous Champions include Hannu Mikkola, Ari Vatanen, Stig Blomqvist, Colin McRae and Richards Burns.

IRC: The Intercontinental Rally Challenge is a rallying series organised by the FIA, aiming to "give new opportunities to young or amateur rally drivers competing in recognized regional and international rallies, while offering organisers an innovative TV format concept, created by Eurosport. This was started in 2006