THE WRC CELEBRATES ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY IN 2022!
To celebrate the 50th season of the Championship in 2022We offer a retrospective of events and best pilots of the last 50 years, with some development stories from our level design team.
Back in time
Acropolis 1973 - As early as the 1960s, car manufacturers realised that it was in their interest to develop the discipline. By developing cars adapted to these events, their role quickly became preponderant and the WRC was initially the International Brands Championship (IBC). In 1973, for the very first season of the World Rally Championship, it was theAlpine A110 "berlinette which seems best equipped to offer the title to its manufacturer, Renault Alpine.
Sanremo 1981 - In 1979, in parallel with the constructors' championship, the International Sports Commission (ISC) introduced a real championship for drivers. In 1981, Michèle Mouton wins the San Remo driving a the Audi quattro SportAt the start of the fifth and final stage, Michèle Mouton and Ari Vatanen were neck and neck: Although equipped with four-wheel drive, the Audi Quattro was less agile than the Ford Escort on the steep, asphalt roads. Vatanen took the lead with an 8-second advantage over his rival, when the front of his car brushed the parapet and hit a protruding stone. He was forced to finish the stage at a reduced speed, while Michèle Mouton flew to victory.
Kenya 1993 - When you think of the Kenya leg of the 1993 Rally, you almost immediately picture Reinhard Klein's superb photograph. Ian Duncan and his Toyota Celica GT-Four ST185 take off against the backdrop of Kilimanjaro, admired by two Maasai who have come to enjoy the show. This photo was taken during the test drive and not during the actual rally. Reinhard Klein, in a interview with franceracingexplains:
"The ultimate challenge was to get the Masai to the side of the road. Of course they wanted to be paid, but the problem was that they were afraid when the car came at full speed. Normally, they are used to vehicles travelling at 50 km/h. This one was going 170 km/h at the time. This one was going 170 km/h as it approached the jump... And they ran away! We told them we didn't have the picture yet because they had left, but they said we had only paid for a picture. So we had to renegotiate, take a few photos and pay them every time we passed. They had to get used to the speed, stand in the right place and not run away. It took a few tries, but eventually all the pieces came together. The Maasai were used to the speed, they stayed in place, they knew they were safe, the car jumped properly and Kilimanjaro was in glorious sunshine."
The 1990s also saw some crazy races: The 1994 Rally of Argentina goes down in history with a 6s gap at the finish between the duos Auriol-Occelli and Sainz-Moya. The Rallye d'Argentine is behind the 1976 Sanremo Rally (4s gap) as the rally with the smallest gap at the finish. It is finally Didier Auriol who won this stage, driving his Toyota Celica 4WD.
Germany 2002 - The Rally Germany became a round of the World Rally Championship in 2002 to replace Portugal's. A round that particularly smiles to Sébastien Loebsince it will remain theonly winner of the event 9 years in a row after a first victory in 2002. The Arena Panzerplatte of the German Rally, reproduced on a 1:1 scale, is the most played stage of WRC 9 !
The beginning of the century marked the dawn of many titles for Sébastien Loeb: he won his first Manufacturers' World Championship title in the 2004 Rally Argentina, alongside co-driver Daniel Elena.
And what about development? Patrick Chastel, Lead Level Designer on WRC 10, explains:
"One of the difficulties we have faced is references. Some of the rallies are very old and we have very few videos and photos. Fortunately, WRC Promoter provided us with a lot of footage, which allowed us to get a feel for the atmosphere of the time.
Today the atmosphere is a bit different, depending on the era, there were a few less rules that governed the competitions. There have been major changes in the layout and safety of the public, for example. And we have put a lot of emphasis on that! This is something that rally players are not used to seeing. We have made compromises between the atmosphere of the time, without putting the audience in too dangerous situations. We try to convey a "friendly" and benevolent side that is found in the rally world. That's one of the advantages of working in car games, there's no violence!
It was also great to see some of the old rallies, including San Remo and Acropolis (before it reappeared on the official calendar this year). Recreating legendary rallies that have thrilled fans and immersing yourself in the history of the WRC by driving a vintage car with a vintage driver is fantastic! Sanremo, for example, is an iconic place. Not being able to play this stage in the WRC games would have been a real shame!"
How to create a special event? Elodie Jean, WRC Referent and Environment Artist, explains:
"Acropolis and Sanremo were the first two new countries and historic rallies to be created for WRC 10. First, the Level Designers and Graphic Designers choose an interesting location. Then, the graphic designers produce a terrain relief with the help of geo-location tools. The Level Designers lay the roads, and then it is the turn of the Graphic Designers to make it look nice, while telling stories around the level design. The production period is quite short, so the challenge is to propose visually interesting spots like the village of Sanremo or the monastery of Acropolis, while respecting the time constraints. Time pushes us to go to the essential but that's also how good ideas are born.."
WRC 10 is available on PlayStation®4, Playstation®5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Steam PC and Nintendo Switch™.