Command center will take fans to the heart of WRC

Testing of the WRC's all-new fan-friendly concept is already underway, but it won't roll out until Monte Carlo next season

Command center

More details of how the World Rally Championship plans to exploit live data and team communications on live broadcasts has emerged, with a command center that hosts all the manufacturer teams during a rally core to this strategy.

During Rally Croatia in April it emerged plans were afoot to integrate radio communications between drivers and their teams. Now WRC Promoter has indicated this is a component of a wider plan to create a centralized hub within the service park – whether as a physical location or a conceptual one.

WRC Promoter has previously declared it wants to move away from stage-end interviews as the be-all and end-all of storytelling in the championship. WRCP’s event director Simon Larkin explained the thinking behind the command center.

“It’s the name of a concept,” he said. “It may well end up being a building or a physical structure, but what we’re creating is a roll-out of robust, useable, interesting data for storytelling.


Rally Italy Sardinia was another epic WRC adventure. The promoter is looking to offer more insight into how the series works

“What we want to do is test data, test the technology – but we won’t create the command center or the outcome of our test until Monte Carlo next year. We have tests going on at M-Sport’s Evaluation Center and at their [M-Sport’s] tests coming up – actual onsite testing. We have a number of technical partners working with us and we have Andrea Adamo contracted to us to lead the project through to implementation for Monte Carlo.”

Richard Millener, M-Sport team principal, is in favor of the concept to help enhance storytelling. He said: “It’s another concept that we’ve been discussing, teams and the promoter together, for probably two to three years.

“The command center is an idea to show some more storylines. There’s loads going on but only people within the team really know what’s happening. Access is key for fans; the problems we’ve seen with Adrien [Fourmaux] or with Takamoto [Katsuta] over this weekend [in Sardinia], imagine if we’d had the ability to listen in on the conversations. They’d be mega stories. They would take the fans to the heart of the WRC.”

One of the key obstacles is getting manufacturers, who are understandably precious about the internal workings of their teams and vehicles, to make their internal communications accessible to the public. But Millener believes this is a price worth paying for the good of the championship’s storytelling.

Teams command center

Millener (center) is keen to work with his fellow team principals to drive the World Rally Championship forwards

“I think there’s often a concern from engineers and others that we can’t give away our secrets,” Millener added. “But if I’m thinking with a non-engineering head, which is certainly the one I have, then if I have a problem with a particular part of my car, why does it bother the others? Because it’s different from theirs anyway. In some ways, giving this access and the information to fans is key.

“It’s a multi-staged approach. The initial thing is just having the teams together. Imagine with the rally just finished [in Sardinia] and the two teams were sat opposite each other in a confined space. That would have been incredible to watch.”