Test event announced as WRC Rally USA 2024 bid progresses

As reported in January, Rally USA emerged as a genuine candidate to join the calendar next year when the WRC stated its desire to run a test event this year, which has now come to fruition.

Chattanooga, located in southwest Tennessee, has been selected to host a Rally Tennessee demonstration event from 7-8 April, followed by a test rally in September, the exact date is yet to be announced.

According to local reports, the event will be headquartered in Chattanooga and will utilise gravel roads located in the Cherokee National Forest and around the Ocoee River region in Polk County.

The planning committee for the project features an experienced group of rally competitors and organisers and has the support of the American Rally Association (ARA), Chattanooga Tourism, the State of Tennessee, regional governments, and private sponsors.

This is a significant step in bringing WRC back to the USA for the first time since Lancia driver Miki Biasion won the Olympus Rally in Washington state in 1988.

The WRC has been working for several years to return to the USA with the American market deemed a key battleground for championship stakeholders.

«We want to reintroduce international rally racing … and we need to get the US back in this competition.» said Barry White, president of Chattanooga Tourism Co in an article by the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

«The demonstration rally will introduce to this region again what a rally race is, and then we would hold a test event in September to show the WRC and the FIA (Federation of International Automotive International) racing authority. The WRC has been looking to get back to the U.S., and we’ve been working them for the past year and a half.»

«We welcome the announcement coming out of Chattanooga today. WRC Promoter has been interested in a return to the USA, a country that was an occasional host to WRC events between 1973 and 1988,» added WRC event director Simon Larkin.



Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

«We are currently negotiating with a consortium that we believe has all the necessary ingredients to bring the WRC back to the USA and will make further announcements in conjunction with the FIA, when details and timelines can be confirmed.»

Should September’s Rally Tennessee test event be deemed a success by the WRC and FIA, the rally could join a 2024 schedule that is shaping up to feature several new events.

Last month the WRC announced that Latvia will join the schedule for the first time, while the championship is known to be working on adding a potential round in Saudi Arabia to the calendar after plans for a visit this year fell short.

The UK is also working to secure a place on the calendar if the necessary funding can be secured for a revived Rally Northern Ireland bid.

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