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Group B Reborn: WRC Rally Cars Could Look Like This in 2017

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 7/14/2015 Alex Nishimoto

Modern rally cars look aggressive, but not nearly as aggressive as the extreme cars of the Group B era. That may soon change, as the World Rally Championship (WRC) has outlined new regulations for 2017 that will dramatically affect how rally cars look going forward.

2017 FIA WRC rally car concept© Provided by MotorTrend 2017 FIA WRC rally car concept

WRC's sanctioning body, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), says the changes are evolutionary rather than revolutionary, building on the current 2014-2016 regulations. Visually, however, the cars may look very different, as the rendering above shows. A new aerodynamic package that includes a larger rear wing is one of the major highlights, along with huge fender flares facilitated by a new maximum width increased by 55 mm. Longer front and rear overhangs will also be allowed. The new rules specify a turbocharged 1.6-liter I-4 just like the one used in current WRC cars, but power is increased to 380 hp with a larger turbo restrictor. An electronic center differential will be allowed again for 2017, but it can be up to 55 pounds lighter.

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The teams are apparently just as excited about the 2017 rules as the fans.

"These new regulations mark the start of an exciting new era for the FIA World Rally Championship," said M-Sport managing director Malcolm Wilson OBE, in a release. "Not only will the 2017 cars look a lot more spectacular, but we will also see an increase in power and performance. The concept really does remind me of the Group B days."

"I think the larger wing and new aerodynamics will give the car a bit more downforce, more grip and more speed going into the corners," said current WRC champ Sébastien Ogier. "This is also good for the show, because the extra power will definitely make the driving more spectacular for the fans. And it will also make the car look a bit more aggressive with a wider body."

The new rules were approved by the World Motor Sport Council in Mexico City this week, so the changes will go into effect in two years. What do you think of WRC's new look? Tell us in the comments below.

Source: FIA

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