Become the FIA’s Next Junior Rally Star by Winning This Video Game Competition
The ongoing competition is called FIA Rally Star and is held via the WRC 9 video game.
Ever wanted to get into rallying but didn't really know how? Well, now you have a chance because the FIA is giving young drivers a shot at a real rally career—all via playing the WRC 9 video game. This is a pretty big deal and even the DirtFish rally school is lending its participation.
Held via WRC 9—the WRC's official racing game—across the PC, PlayStation, or Xbox platforms, the new FIA Rally Star competition is open to drivers aged between 17 and 26 and based in the United States or Canada. The competition is also specifically holding a place open for women drivers, intended to encourage participation. Budding competitors can enter the game's #RallyAtHome digital challenges.
There are four challenges, each consisting of a timed run on a previously unseen rally stage. A driver can run the stage up to 100 times to practice before they're given five timed runs. The fastest of these five serves as their entry to the competition.
DirtFish will join in on the fun with its simulator rig at its rally school in Snoqualmie, Washington. In this case, the competition will run under the FIA's Digital Challenge regulations and using the organization's official Rally Star Thrustmaster hardware. Competitors will be allowed to drive the stage as many times as they can within an 18-minute window.
The first challenge for the U.S. and Canada has already taken place, with the next scheduled for Sept. 10 to 18. (Registration information for the next three can be found on the official FIA Rally Star website.) Canadian Alexis Moisan had the fastest time across the stage and was closely followed by American Chase Gere. Both will move on to the next stage of the competition.
Those who win the various challenges will progress further, with the elite eventually reaching the All-American FIA Rally Star Finals in Peru this December. Succeeding at that event secures a grand prize intended to kickstart the driver's rally career in earnest.
The winner will join six other drivers on the FIA Rally Star team in 2023, which puts them through six training rallies behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta Rally3. From there, the drivers will enter the Junior WRC in 2024. The top three finishers from that program will race the series once again in 2025, and winning the Junior WRC title in that year will land the driver a WRC2 drive in a Rally2 car in 2026.
It's an immensely valuable prize. Not only does it give the winning drivers plenty of seat time, but it guarantees access to training and most importantly, a racing seat. Often, young drivers in motorsport must spend a great deal of time chasing sponsors and making sure they have a spot in a team for future seasons. This program instead offers up a three-year deal on a platter for those who succeed.
It's not the first time that video games have been used to find new motorsports talent. Nissan had great success partnering with Gran Turismo with the GT Academy, and McLaren has even hunted for simulator drivers using video games. However, the FIA-backed prize is essentially a complete career-starting program in a box, the value of which can't be denied.
If you're young and interested in rally, get yourself a copy of WRC 9 and start practicing, stat. If you're running a rally team and want to spot the next generation of hot drivers coming through, keep a close eye on the FIA Rally Star team in the coming years.
Got a tip? Let the author know: firstname.lastname@example.org