After a long winter break for the teams to recharge and refresh, the 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship is back. The second season of the all-electric era of the sport launches at Montalegre, Portugal on 3/4 June. With a few driver, calendar, and rule changes for the new year, here is your guide of what to look out for in the upcoming season.
Credit: Rallycross Promotor GmbH
The 2023 calendar features a wealth of returning favourites and rallycross classics. After such a lengthy break, the championship crams a lot of action into a relatively short space of time. Kicking off at Montalegre, the championship then heads to Scandinavia for rounds at Hell, Norway, and then the Magic Weekend at Höljes, Sweden. This year’s event promises to be doubly special, as it will be World RX’s 100th event.
Then we see a quartet of returning favourites, conspicuous by their absence from the 2022 calendar. Firstly, rallycross returns to its birthplace on 22/23 July for the British round at Lydden Hill. This will be World RX’s first round on the newly reconfigured track layout and will also feature some classic rallycross machinery in action, so it promises to be an event not to be missed. After that, the championship returns to Mettet, Belgium, scene of some spectacular battles over the years, before heading to the legendary Estering, Germany, home of World RX’s most famous opening turn. After a break, the championship heads to the southern hemisphere for the World RX of Cape Town in October, before culminating at the first ever World RX street circuit in Hong Kong. With 10 rounds over 8 events, and a mix of rallycross classics and new territory, this calendar promises to provide thrilling racing all season long.
Much like its European relative, the biggest change in the rules comes with the reshaping of the weekend format. Rallycross fans, rejoice: the progression race has gone. The series is returning to a more traditional format as enjoyed from 2014-2021. The SuperPole shootout remains to determine the grid for the first heat race. There will then be four heat races spread over the two days (three races in the case of double-header events, with two rounds happening over two days). The top three drivers overall will receive championship points (3 for 1st, 2 for 2nd, and 1 for 3rd), and the results will also determine the semi-final grid.
Those grids have returned to a staggered formation, with six cars spread over three rows, making the results of the heats much more important. The top three from each semi will progress to the final. The winner of the final will be declared the overall event winner and will walk away with 20 points. 2nd will receive 16, then descending from 14 for 3rd position. The promoters hope that this combination of a small amount of points in the heats and the grand prize at the end will encourage the drivers “to push as fast as possible in the early stages of the competition while preserving the ‘winner-takes-all’ anticipation ahead of the final.“