FIA Rally Star

In 2021, FIA Rally Star, the first global talent detection programme was launched by the FIA with the ultimate objective to detect, train and develop drivers to become the future stars of the World Rally Championship.

The programme was born from the simple idea that rally can become more universal, popular and inspiring. Tackling the originally high barriers to entry, FIA Rally Star’s fundamental values focus on providing accessibility through the cooperation with National Sporting Authorities (ASNs) and capitalizing on innovative grassroots disciplines to engage a worldwide mass detection and open a new pathway to inspire an inclusive and diverse next generation of talents.

With the immense support of the ASNs, around 100 selection events have been organized in over 50 countries, aimed at young people aged 17 to 26 to have a chance to demonstrate their skills behind the wheel. Two types of national selection events have been based on the Esports or Slalom challenges, which are the most accessible grassroots disciplines available. Additionally, online #RallyAtHome selections were organized in partnership with the WRC 9 game, enabling drivers with no access to local selection events to have the opportunity to participate from their own simulator.

Globally, 6700 hopefuls participated with the top drivers of each country qualifying for their region’s Continental Final, starting with the European Final at Estering in Buxtehude, Germany, followed by the Middle East and North African Final at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, UAE, the African Final at Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria, South Africa, the Asia-Pacific Final at Madras International Circuit in Chennai, India, and the American Final held at Polideportivo Motor in Maldonado, Uruguay. The competition involved three days of timed stages in LifeLive TN5 Cross Cars, physical tests and interviews with our jury panel of industry experts. One overall winner per Continental final was selected, while the best women qualified to represent her region in the Women’s Final.

The five Continental Final winners and the Women’s Final winner join the FIA Rally Star team for a training season in 2023, where the drivers and their co-drivers will benefit from a development programme. This includes participation in at least six rallies at the wheel of our M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally3 cars, comprehensive testing and coaching sessions in all necessary areas such as physical and mental training, communications, marketing and engineering.

Out of the six candidates, the top four performing drivers will be selected at the end of the training season to continue the development and join the ranks of the FIA Junior WRC. The objective is to become a prospect for a podium place, initially for a win, and later a title, which is necessary to access the ultimate prize of FIA Rally Star: a season in FIA WRC2 at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta Rally2 car. At this stage, the most talented drivers will have undoubtedly ensured their future with the manufacturers involved in WRC. Just like Loeb, Ogier, Tänak and Neuville before them!

Not all those who participate in FIA Rally Star will become World Champions, but some will discover in more detail a field in which they will be able to personally or professionally flourish. Drivers at all levels, engineers, officials and volunteers will no doubt be included among them.