Volkswagen Pressures WRC for Alternative Energy Solutions

VW Motorsport Team Principal Sven Smeets says waiting for 2022 should not be an option.

Volkswagen is fresh off setting the record at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, an achievement which was completed by the brand’s one-off, purpose-built electric I.D. R race car. In doing so, VW showed the worth of EV technology and what it can bring not only to motorsports but to the general public.

The Drive previously reported the future of the World Rally Championship was to go electric, possibly by 2022, but to Volkswagen, that isn’t fast enough. Motorsport reports that Volkswagen Motorsport Team Principal Sven Smeets has been putting pressure on WRC officials to begin to find alternative energy solutions for the race series as soon as possible.

“The WRC needs something to connect to the next generation,” Smeets told Motorsport. “But if you ask me what does the future look like, it’s not a straightforward answer. It would be very difficult to say you have to make an electric car for the WRC now because today’s not the right time. But something has to be done.”

“It’s really time to talk about it and put a roadmap in the technical regulations for what the next step is,” Smeets went on to tell Motorsport. “Waiting until 2022 to make these decisions wouldn’t be good.”

Before the now-defunct U.S.-based Global Rallycross series ended, it was planning on making significant changes toward alternative engine power. One of those changes was to have a fully-electric class running in 2019 ahead of the World Rally Championship’s earliest estimate of 2022. 

Smeet’s influence could call other WRC teams and manufacturers to action but as the sport continues to sort out other timely concerns like safety, the idea of a complete redevelopment may not be first in the pecking order.