How To Get Into Junior WRC (Full Guide)

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The path to becoming a fully-fledged WRC driver is a long one. While there are multiple methods to compete across regional and national championships, the WRC has strict standards for its drivers. But one path you may wonder how to get into is the Junior WRC. 

To get into Junior WRC, you must apply through the WRC’s website, and you also must have the necessary budget to compete, as well as have a previous competition history. As with any racing series, having plenty of experience will improve your chances of getting into the Junior WRC.

Becoming a WRC driver takes commitment. There are multiple different routes you can take, but eventually, you’ll need an international rally license and a history of competing successfully, as the WRC wants only the best drivers. Below, we cover each of these different steps in detail. 

How Do You Become A WRC Driver?

You can become a WRC driver by getting an international rally license. Depending on where you are in the world, you may need a local and a national license as well. You also need a driving record of some kind in both local and national WRC events. Your team has to be approved by the FIA as well.

The path to becoming a WRC driver starts early. At the very least, you’ll need to be incredibly passionate about cars. While the WRC is open to anyone with the proper licenses, it’s not a simple matter of doing a test and submitting a form. 

So before you even think about being a WRC driver, it’s best to be honest with yourself. If you don’t live, breathe, and think about cars or driving a lot of the time, this is not the path for you! You’ll also need to have impeccable driving skills to stand a chance of winning even regional rally championships. 

Join Motor Clubs

Drivers clubs are a great way to get all the information you need to understand how you can work up to higher-level competitions within your own country. Depending on where you are in the world, it could be much more difficult to compete. It depends on how popular rally events are in your country. 

Generally speaking, Europe, South America, and Asia have much bigger rally scenes than North America. More regional and national events make it a bit easier, as you’ll have more opportunities to compete and build up racing experience. 

Motor clubs are a gateway to regional events, but there is also an opportunity to develop your skills. You may come into contact with individuals who are willing to teach you, and you’ll also come into contact with people who are as passionate about driving as you are. 

Obtaining An International Rally License

There are a few prerequisite steps to getting a valid international rally license. These licenses can only be issued by a national motorsport federation (sometimes abbreviated as ASN). The FIA website has a list of ASN members based on geographical location. The majority of the time, they will be in your country’s capital city.

You might also need a local and national license first, but again it depends on where you are based in the world. One thing you’ll need to do is compete in national and regional events. You can’t skip this step and apply for an international rally license immediately. Even if you could, it would be pointless because all would be WRC drivers need some kind of record of competing. 

Once you have an international rally license, you can start looking at competing in WRC events. While there are different kinds of WRC events (like WRC 2 and WRC 3), if you want to compete, you can, but your team must be approved by the FIA. 

FIA Regulations

As you rise up the ranks, understanding the rules and regulations becomes increasingly important, although if you’re competing at the very highest levels of the WRC, you’ll be among the best in the world. You’ll also be working closely with manufacturers who have technicians that will be familiar with any rules and requirements. 

However, it’s essential at all levels to understand that the WRC has very specific requirements. While the events are fairly open (WRC doesn’t need the money of Formula 1, for example), you will need to adhere to strict safety standards. All cars must also be in line with the regulations as there are many specification limits. But before you get to WRC, you may join the junior program.

KEY POINTS

• Getting into the WRC is a long and hard process

• You will need to obtain an international rally license

• You also need to have the skills and experience to race alongside the best rally drivers in the world

How Old Are Junior WRC Drivers?

Junior WRC drivers are aged 30 and below, with drivers typically being aged between 20 and 30 years old. The Junior WRC is primarily a way to get fresh talent into the upper leagues of any WRC competitions. It’s absolutely integral to the longevity of the sport. 

Who Is Eligible For Junior WRC?

To be eligible for Junior WRC, you have to be born from the 1st of January 1992 onwards. This means you have to be 30 years old or below. You also should not be a P1 (or Priority 1) driver for a World Rally Championship event. 

It’s also important to note that all Junior WRC driving teams will drive the same car – the Ford Fiesta Rally 3, which is produced and supported by M-Sport Poland. 

How To Get Into Junior WRC

To get into Junior WRC, you have to be aged 30 and below – this is the first requirement. There is an application form on the WRC website for the Junior WRC league. If you’re outside the age range, then you won’t be accepted. 

The application form lists criteria that you’ll need to adhere to and things you’ll need to have, including your passport, nationality, date of birth, and your competition history. While the Junior WRC is an entry-level championship, you’ll need experience in national and regional rally events. 

Budget

There is also a tick box that asks you whether or not you have the budget for this championship. In terms of numbers, the required budget hovers around $170,000. This is to pay for traveling and transport costs to the various rally locations. 

The locations vary, and there are usually 5 rallies held in the Junior championship. In 2022, they were held in Sweden, Croatia, Portugal, Estonia, and Greece. These costs add up, making rally racing an expensive motorsport.

Junior WRC Car Specs

All competitors will race in the same car. In 2022 the car was the Ford Fiesta Rally 3 developed by M-Sport Poland

Car Specs

The Ford Fiesta Rally 3 is a 4-wheel drive hatchback, and it comes equipped with a 1.5 liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine capable of producing 215 horsepower. It also has a 5-speed sequential gearbox that transmits the torque and power across all four tires. The car also has a suspension system based on three-way adjustable dampeners. 

It comes with Alcon 4-piston caliper brakes, and both front and rear brakes are supported by AP Racing ventilated front discs, as well as a hydraulic handbrake. The Rally 3 has hydraulic power-assisted steering and various racing tires for different surfaces. There is also a built-in electronic system configured specifically for racing. 

Dimensions

The Rally 3’s length is 4,065 mm (160 inches), the width is 1,735 mm (68 inches), the wheelbase is 2,490 mm (97.6 inches), and the minimum weight is 1,210 kg (2,667 lbs).

Final Thoughts

Getting into Junior WRC requires you to be 30 years old or younger with an international rally license. Depending on where you are in the world, getting this license may require you to first get a local and national rally license, alongside getting some races under your belt.