Sim racing has been used before for promoting natural talents into real-world racing seats and the FIA World Rally Championship is looking to be the next group to do so.
The WRC is launching the “FIA Rally Star” program in 2021 using the upcoming WRC 9 game. Using DLC released shortly after launch, Rally Star will be used to host a qualification phase in which drivers can prove their mettle in the online world.
Nacon/KT Racing has said that Rally Star will involve a “multi-phase selection process” but have not unveiled the full format just yet. The final stage will involve seven drivers, one place reserved for a female competitor. The seven racers will take part in a training program under the supervision of the FIA with the grand prize being a funded drive in a WRC support series.
With the announcement from the WRC came a statement from FIA rally director Yves Matton:
“Being innovative and global, FIA Rally Star’s ambition is to develop new solutions allowing young drivers from all over the world to reveal their potential. As soon as we introduced the project to NACON and KT Racing teams, they showed great enthusiasm and we couldn’t have hoped for a better platform than WRC 9 to select the most promising candidates.
“The FIA World Rally Championship brings together fans from every continent. Many of them dream to get behind the wheel and our wish is to make our sport more accessible. Through FIA Rally Star and its digital version in WRC 9, living this passion is simpler than ever.”
The whole idea of the talent-spotting process is to promote young talent who has the potential of fulfilling a career in the sport. Thus, the competition is open to those aged between 17 and 26.
WRC 9 is pencilled in for a September 3 launch on PS4, Xbox One and PC with a release on the next generation consoles coming later in the year. The FIA Rally Star DLC itself will arrive in December once the game is out on all platforms.