Multiple regions to host proposed Rally Ireland as World Championship bid gains momentum
Motorsport Ireland are delighted to announce that Kerry, Limerick and the South East region have been selected as the host locations for a bid to bring the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) back to Ireland for the years 2025-27.
Ireland previously featured in the Championship in 2007 and 2009 and today’s announcement is a major building block in securing a slot on the calendar for the next three years. Work on selecting a potential event base back started back in August 2023 with all 32 Motorsport Ireland affiliated clubs being invited to submit suitable locations in line with the requirements of the promoters of the Championship. Following a thorough selection process three venues, Kerry, Limerick and the South East region, remained and last week site visits took place in each location. Motorsport Ireland President Aiden Harper and Vice President John Naylor viewed each site and were accompanied by fellow section panel members; Donagh Kelly, Joe Corcoran and Sean McHugh, while Iain Campbell attended on behalf of the WRC Promoter.
Such was the quality of the proposals put forward by each venue that the selection committee, in conjunction with the WRC Promoter, have decided to rotate the venue for each of the three years Ireland are seeking to be included in the Championship.
Speaking on today’s announcement Motorsport Ireland President Aiden Harper said: "It was an honour for me and the selection panel to see the commitment from our clubs and volunteers in the three areas putting together such strong bids to potentially host WRC Rally Ireland from 2025 onwards. In Kerry, Limerick and the South East, we have a trio of world class venues that will be ideal hubs for the event. Today’s announcement is obviously predicated on securing Government funding and this is a process that is underway at present. Our bid is currently under consideration by senior management in the Major Sports Events Unit of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. A three year deal will require a €15 million investment but this will yield a €300 million return over those three years and will greatly benefit the local economies in the South West, Mid West and South East regions.”
WRC Promoter GmbH said: “"Ireland is an incredible country and since the last running of Rally Ireland in 2009, the world teams have been wanting to return. We look forward to continue working with Motorsport Ireland and the FIA to work through the necessary steps to secure a calendar slot for Ireland’s bid.”
The FIA World Rally Championship is the highest level of global competition in the motorsport discipline of rallying and it is second only to Formula One in terms of following. In 2022 the series had a global TV audience of 841 million and has a combined social media following of 6.87 million. There is strong manufacturer involvement from the world’s biggest car brands, with Hyundai, Toyota, Ford, Citroen and Skoda all fielding cars in the Championship. The WRC is the also first-ever FIA World Championship to implement 100% fossil-free fuel. Should Rally Ireland return to these shores next year it will be the biggest sporting event on the island of Ireland with over 200,000 spectators estimated to attend.