The WRC Comes Roaring Back Into Action

Mexico and Chile, which have been out of the schedule for a few years, have been added to the calendar for the 2023 season


Toyota Gazoo Racing/ Mcklein

The TOYOTA GAZOO Racing World Rally Team occupies first, second and fourth position at Rally Sweden. February 26, 2022. Umeå, Sweden

Riley Zalbert, Managing Editor

The pinnacle of motorsport, racing across three different surfaces, kicked off its 51st season in Monte-Carlo on January 19-22, 2023.

The Monte has been the starting race since its inaugural season in 1973 and is one of the toughest competitions on the calendar as drivers must battle the icy tarmac(asphalt) through the winding roads of the French Alps. 

The season runs from the third weekend of January and ending on the third weekend of November, so this is an all-year campaign for the main driver’s class. The championship rounds go from country to country and on all different road surfaces. From a mix of tarmac and ice in Monte-Carlo to the loose sand of the Safari Rally based in Kenya known locally as ‘fesh-fesh’. There are also pure tarmac rallies based in Croatia and Japan this year but in the past, the calendar has also included the Wales (GB) rally and the RallyRACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada based in Spain.

There are also pure gravel rounds with some of the most famous in the championship on the calendar round almost every year which includes the Vodafone Rally de Portugal, Secto Automotive Rally Finland (known as the Gravel Grand Prix), and the EKO Acropolis Rally Greece. One of the only snow rounds is run at the beginning of the season and usually takes place in February. The snow rallies are one of the fastest as the teams use studded tires to gain traction on the snow and ice.

There are 13 rounds throughout the year and the calendar is subject to change each championship season.

WRC season Scedule. A new Central European Rally takes place in October. (Photo by WRC)

Along with the main cars, called Rally1, there are support categories such as WRC2 and WRC3 Juniors. The support category drivers do not complete a full season and can select which rounds they score points in, in which they can only race 6 rounds that count for points. The main manufacturer drivers with some having a contract for an entire season, score points on all rounds, while other crews will only run select rounds and ‘share’ the car with another team who will complete different rounds. Within the championships are individual driver’s championships in each category and overall manufacturers/team championship in WRC and WRC2. 

The main manufacturers of the WRC include M-Sport Ford, Toyota Gazoo WRT, and Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT.

In the support category, there is a wider selection of manufacturers as this championship is also a customer based and they sell to private teams and drivers. These manufacturers include Ford, Skoda, Citroen, Hyundai, and Volkswagen. This year, Toyota unveiled a new WRC2 car at the beginning of the season in Monte-Carlo and the team plans for this year to be a test year and enter the championship in the 2024 WRC2 season.

You can access highlights from each rally here. As this is only collections of short highlights of each day of the rallies there is a paid service where you can access all highlights and the events themselves live.