The done thing for young rally drivers is to chase silverware. After all, that’s what they hope to be doing if they accomplish their dream of competing in the World Rally Championship.
Twenty-year-old Welshman Ioan Lloyd recognizes that script having followed it last year with a Junior British Rally Championship campaign.
But there’s a lot to be said for mixing it up.
So for 2023, Lloyd’s taking a different approach. Instead of committing to a full championship, he will adopt the ‘pick and choose’ strategy and cherry-pick the rallies he fancies doing in his Peugeot 208 Rally4.
There’s no potential for a trophy in the cabinet this way, but actually it’ll do no harm to his CV whatsoever. Lloyd’s 2023 will see him do just over 50% of the BRC season, but also spread his wings to Europe where he hopes to compete full-time very soon.
And in doing so, he’s able to drive on rallies he feels are best for his career development – whether that be in new countries, on new surfaces or up against new competition – rather than just entering an event simply because it’s part of a championship.
“Where I’d like to be is out in Europe, that’s the next step for us to aid our development,” Lloyd told DirtFish.
“We’ll be able to see different events against different competition and learn different roads. The competition in the UK is incredibly tight but we don’t want to become complete UK experts, we need to spread our wings and learn about different road characteristics.
“We’re going to do the four Tarmac rounds of the British championship and hopefully a couple of European rounds at the end of the year, we haven’t decided which yet,” Lloyd added.
“It might be Rallye du Var or something. We’ve taken the approach this year of picking and choosing what we want to do, and the Tarmac events just seem to be the ones that we’d like to do but we’ll hopefully do some gravel in the second half of the year.”
The battle plan is therefore designed and the target is locked: to one day become a professional rally driver.
“That’s what I’d love to do is make a career out of it, that would be phenomenal,” Lloyd said.
“But I obviously need to be realistic with it as well, the chances are very few and far between so we’ve just got to take every opportunity we get and enjoy it, that’s the main thing.”
Young rally drivers aren’t quite ten-a-penny, but they’re not the rarest breed in motorsport. So what is it about Lloyd that stands out?
Firstly his approach is commendable. Jumping out of junior rallying, he immediately turned to road rallies first in order to further his car control before a season in Britain’s national series the BTRDA in a 208 R2.
The step to the BRC and a more potent Rally4 Peugeot followed last year and his raw speed against rivals who were all more experienced shone through, despite a run of frustrating niggles.
But there’s also a boyish charm to Lloyd and his co-driver Sion Williams that makes them extremely marketable. And what makes this crew unique is both members of it are extremely young. Lloyd hasn’t done what most do and turned to an uber-experienced co-driver; Williams is just one year older at 21.
“We’re a super young pairing, so it’s probably quite nice to see for some people and especially sponsors,” Lloyd said.
“We’re young apprentices coming up in the world of rallying if you can put it like that, but that’s probably what sets us apart because if you think about it there’s not many really young crews.
“There are some young up and coming drivers but a lot of them have an older, more experienced co-driver. But we’re growing together, and I think that’s a nice thing. We’re really good friends out of the car and that’s really important too.”
Lloyd’s 2023 season is expected to begin with the Jim Clark Rally at the end of May. And with no championship permutations to consider, he can just focus on giving it all and achieving a headline-grabbing result.
“Last year was our first go at the BRC and it was definitely a big learning curve but I think we learned a lot and we showed that in our pace towards the second half of the year,” Lloyd said.
“We’ve learned a lot for sure and hopefully from now on we can start getting some good results out of it.”