WRC Promoter launches new talent pathway to grow female participation


The programme will provide a launchpad for up-and-coming female drivers to advance their careers, beginning this European summer.

WRC Promoter has launched a multi-year initiative to increase female participation at the pinnacle of rallying by providing a launchpad for up-and-coming female drivers to advance their careers, beginning this European summer.

The first stage of the project, which will take place under the banner of WRC’s Beyond Rally initiative, invites applications from females aged 27 and under as of 1 January 2024 to apply to be part of a programme that will offer a yearly prize package including a fully-supported 2025 FIA Junior WRC entry.

Applications are open here and require potential applicants to provide a two-minute introductory video expressing their motivations to be part of the programme, as well as a copy of their driving resume.

The 15 most-suited applicants will be chosen to be part of an intensive training camp to be held at the M-Sport Poland headquarters in Krakow. This camp will include a day of gravel and a day of Tarmac testing in a Ford Fiesta Rally3 as well as simulator testing, pace-note and reconnaissance competence, PR training and an evaluation of mechanical knowledge.

A jury of top-level WRC stakeholders will then select three participants who will move to the second step: competing at this October’s WRC Central European Rally in an M-Sport Poland-run Ford Fiesta Rally3.

Following this WRC event, the same jury will decide the winner of the ultimate prize: the supported 2025 Junior WRC programme, including testing.

“WRC has a storied history of female participation,” opined WRC Promoter Senior Director Sport, Peter Thul. “Michèle Mouton is one of the greatest motorsport legends, period, while in the past three years we have crowned female world champion co-drivers in WRC3 and WRC2.

“But it has been some time since we have had female drivers consistently competing at the top levels of our sport and we hope this programme will go some way in helping to bridge this gap.

“We have a long-term vision with this project and we will continually evaluate the process to ensure that increased female participation is lasting.

“We are focusing primarily in the initial stages of selection – including Central European Rally – on being on Tarmac, creating an easier transition for entrants with a background in karting and circuit racing.”

Burcu Çetinkaya, Chair of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission and competing rally driver, said: “I applaud the WRC Promoter for the opportunities they are affording young up-and-coming female drivers. We see so many female co-drivers succeeding in the WRC and in the coming years, we want to see just as many female drivers enjoying the same successes.

“As Chair of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission I’m delighted to share my support for this important mission and I look forward to seeing FIA member clubs encouraging participants and applicants from across the globe.”

Introduced in 2022, Beyond Rally is the WRC Promoter’s umbrella platform for sustainability initiatives that contribute to shaping the future of motorsport and materialise its positive impact on society, focusing on areas such as climate, diversity of participation, biodiversity, innovation, responsible management, and social impact, while driving the transition towards a sustainable future.

Potential applicants interested in joining the programme should register their interest by emailing beyondrally@wrc.com. More information on the Beyond Rally website.