BT Sport has signed a deal to show exclusively live coverage of up to 26 stages of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), starting with the opening event of the 2014 season, the famous Rallye Monte Carlo, on Wednesday January 15.
The WRC pits cars and drivers against each other in a series of two, three or four-day events through some of the toughest and most varied conditions in the world. Road conditions vary from the snow and ice of Scandinavia to the stifling heat of Australia – over surfaces including packed ice, smooth asphalt and boulder-strewn rocky tracks.
The BT Sport WRC programming will run across BT Sport’s three channels, BT Sport 1 and 2, and ESPN. Coverage will include a preview and a review show for each rally and a daily highlights show.
The WRC series is widely regarded as the most challenging motorsport competition in the world. Established in its current format in 1973, the drivers and manufacturers will be battling it out in 2014 for the 42nd annual drivers’ and manufacturers’ championship trophies in rallies spread across 13 countries and three continents. BT Sport viewers will now be able to follow the fortunes of GB drivers Elfyn Evans and Kris Meeke.
Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “We are thrilled to be able to show the World Rally Championship, possibly the most demanding motorsport contest in the world. BT Sport can now offer viewers two of the biggest motorsport properties in the world, WRC and MotoGP. We will bring the viewers closer to the action, the drivers and the teams, with live and behind the scenes coverage.”
Oliver Ciesla, managing director of the WRC Promoter, said: “We are delighted with this exciting new partnership with BT Sport, a broadcast partner that will deliver extensive coverage of the WRC to rally fans in the UK throughout the entire season, with a strong focus on local drivers and on Wales Rally GB and with regular live programmes from all international events in 2014.”
World Rally Cars are not ordinary cars. While they look similar to the ones you might see in your local car showroom, just about everything about them is different. WRC cars are turbocharged, 1.6 litre, four-wheel drive monsters that develop more than 300bhp and masses of torque. The result is a car that can accelerate from a standing start to 62mph in around three seconds, regardless of the road surface, and can – in the right hands – power slide between the trees on a narrow gravel track under full control at more than 120 mph.
2014 WRC calendar
- Rallye Monte Carlo – January 14-19
- Rally Sweden- February 5-8
- Rally Guanajuato Mexico – March 6-9
- Vodafone Rally de Portugal- April 3-6
- Rally Argentina – May 8-11
- Rally d’Italia Sardegna – June 6-8
- Lotos Rally Poland – June 27-29
- Neste Oli Rally Finland – August 1-3
- ADAC Rallye Deutschland – August 22-24
- Coates Hire Rally Australia – September 12-14
- Rallye de France-Alsace – October 3-5
- Rally RACC-Rally de Espana – October 24-26
- Wales Rally GB – November 14-16
Other motorsport on BT Sport includes motorcycle racing’s premier contest, the FIM MotoGP World Championship, where BT Sport has a five-year deal with Dorna Sports for exclusive rights from the 2014 season and NASCAR and Indy Car on ESPN.