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gennaio 24, 2023 - WRC Fia World Rally Championship

WRC Innovation Forum: Multiple solutions essential in future of mobility

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Politicians, journalists, innovators of the tech industry, motorsport and mobility experts gathered in Monaco on the occasion of the 91st edition of Rallye Monte-Carlo for the WRC’s inaugural Innovation Forum, supported by Pirelli, OCI and #CleanFuelsforAll by Fuels Europe.

Throughout various panels on Friday (20 January), there was a clear overlaying theme: improving sustainable mobility will require a multi-faceted approach - with a transfer of technology from the motorsport sector essential in achieving this.

The Honorable Mr. Ababu Namwamba – Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, Sports and the Arts, Republic of Kenya - spoke of a need for a cocktail of solutions – not just in the motoring sector but also in the wider spectrum. He referenced Kenya’s extensive tree-planting project which also featured at Safari #rally Kenya in 2022, adding that the nation’s energy production is over 80 per cent renewable.

Speaking as part of the first panel, Patrice Ratti – Former President of Renault Sports Cars and Member of the Automobile Club Monaco’s Board of Directors – was full of praise of the forum.

“This is a great idea to have this type of event where #people from the industry, #people from motorsports and journalists can talk about the big issues from tomorrow and talk about what motorsport can be used for – to develop the cars of the future,” he said.

He also stressed the importance of hedging future development across multiple technologies, referencing renewable fuels, as used in #wrc today, as well as hydrogen and electricity.

“Motorsport has always played a big role in developing future technologies, today even more than before. It is very important – as is, I think, the strategy from the FIA to have different technologies in different championships.

“In #wrc you have hybrid and renewable fuels. I think that is very good because we are going to see in real conditions how these fuels and technologies will perform. I think that, overall, it is a great strategy.

“Nobody can say what will be the technology of the future and my bet is we will need several technologies,” added Ratti.

Echoing the words of Ratti was Toyota Gazoo #racing team principal Jari-Matti Latvala, who said: “The Toyota philosophy is to transfer what we learn in motorsport. Here [in rallying] we push the cars to the extreme. If they survive here, they should survive everyday usage.”

Since the beginning of 2022, all cars in the #fiaworldrallychampionship have been running exclusively on renewable fuel provided by P1 #racing Fuels. CEO Martin Popilka revealed at the forum that a fleet of German governmental vehicles will now use the very same fuel researched and developed in the #wrc for everyday driving in Berlin, with his company targeting wider availability throughout the German market.

Sitting alongside Popilka on the day’s third panel was Toyota Gazoo Racing’s powertrain project manager Norio Aoki. He insisted that Toyota will remain committed to the combustion engine alongside other technologies, stressing that the switch to P1’s sustainable fuel in the #wrc in 2022 required no hardware changes.

Further information in the press release to download

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