The second running of the McRae Rally Challenge – twice postponed due to COVID-19 – will finally run in summer next year to mark the 25th anniversary of Colin McRae’s World Rally Championship title win.
Originally planned for October 2020 and subsequently delayed by a year, the event was rescheduled for a second time due to travel restrictions between the United Kingdom and Australia, where Colin’s brother Alistair and nephew Max McRae are based.
The McRae Rally Challenge will, therefore, take place 27 years after the title success on the opening weekend of July; a weekend which, at present, does not clash with any of the planned 2022 World Rally Championship rounds.
Although the event will have been delayed by almost two years, Colin’s father Jimmy – a five-time British champion – believes there has been one silver lining.
“We had hoped to run the event in 2020 and Max would have been a junior rally driver then, but one benefit of the delay is that Max will have just turned 18 and Alister, Max and myself will be competing head-to-head in the same rally,” McRae said.
“I don’t know if three generations have ever done that before, but I am hoping that I can show both Max, and his dad, that grandfather is still pretty handy behind the wheel!
“Whatever happens, I know it will be a great event with loads of action on and off track and loads of great rallying pals having fun.”
Much like the inaugural event in 2015 which featured rallying greats like Stig Blomqvist and the late Hannu Mikkola, the McRae Rally Challenge will be a single-venue event, using the Knockhill racetrack in Scotland and its custom-built asphalt rally stage overlooking the 1.2-mile circuit and access roads.
Six years ago, McRae’s protégé Kris Meeke drove a Citroën Xsara WRC as the course car, while Alistair McRae won the competitive event driving a Proton Satria S2000.
Stuart Gray, Knockhill director of events, is aiming to build on the success of the 2015 event in order to bring some of the biggest names in world rallying to celebrate McRae’s life.
“2015 was a huge success and we are all looking forward to the second running of the event which will feature an invitational single venue rally with many rally stars reunited with their original rally cars from the 70s and 80s, current rally contenders as well as special guests,” he said.
“We had a collection of display rally cars, the likes of which had never been seen in Scotland, including 23 of Colin’s rally cars on display and paraded on track and this is expected to be bigger next year.
“The format is so welcoming for all rally fans, so the only option was to delay until this special event could run for all the drivers, fans and special rally car owners.”