Motorsport’s major rule changes in 2022

It's all change in the motorsport world in 2022, with several championships introducing new regulations for their respective seasons


Formula 1 in 2022 will offer the chance for a reset as a new set of technical regulations are introduced to the sport. But it’s not the only motorsport series that will see a big change to the cars.

It’s a year of change in 2022, with the World Rally Championship, World Rallycross Championship, NASCAR and British Touring Car Championship all undergoing a major overhaul.

The continuing evolution of technology in the road car industry have led to some of the big changes, and 2022 marks the start of a new era for many motorsport categories.

Formula 1 rule changes

F1’s new car was originally intended to make its debut in 2021, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the rules package to be delayed by 12 months.

The new rules are set to improve the racing, with the revival of ground effect and substantial changes to the front wing, rear wing and barge board area. F1 expect to cut the loss of downforce, when a car is following another car closely, from approximately 50 percent to 15 percent with the new machines.

Another significant change is the bigger 18-inch tyres, with the target of reducing overheating when the car is sliding, which should also help the racing.

There is also the potential of the 10 teams interpreting the rule book in different ways, so we could see a range of car designs across the grid. From a neutral’s point of view, let’s hope one team doesn’t have a huge advantage when the season gets underway on March 20 in Bahrain.

World Rally Championship rule changes

WRC’s old World Rally Car category has finally been replaced by a new generation of car after 25 years. The new Rally1 era will see the implementation of a standardised hybrid system, so Toyota, Hyundai and M-Sport, with the help of Ford, have developed a 100kW e-motor.

It’s not clear how the drivers and teams will want to use the extra hybrid power during each stage, so there is plenty of unpredictability ahead of the Monte Carlo Rally which will begin on January 20.

There are also changes to the transmission, and the aerodynamics of the cars have been reduced compared to the previous generation machines. This could take time for the drivers to get used to and it will be fascinating to see who can get to grips the quickest.

World Rallycross Championship rule changes

World Rallycross has long flirted with the potential of going electric with it’s top class, and it’s finally happening in 2022. The RX1 class will be taken over by RX1e, with the new kit developed by Austrian firm Kreisel Electric.

Each car will be fitted with the new technology, which will generate 500kW to the twin motors. That’s the equivalent of 680BHP.

Rallycross is the perfect form of motorsport for electric racing, given the short, sharp nature of the sport which will see the drivers pushing the cars to the limits, before charging it back up and doing it again several times over the weekend.

World RX driver Kevin HANSEN (SWE) of team Hansen World RX Team leading the pack at the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Nürburgring, Germany on 28 November, 2021 via Red Bull Content Pool

NASCAR Cup Series rule changes

Formerly known as the Gen-7 car, NASCAR‘s premier tier will see a a revolutionary change to its top class in a bid to lower costs and attract new manufacturers.

The cars will look completely different to the 2021 machines, with improved aerodynamic and downforce packages, plus bigger wheels with NASCAR following F1’s route of introducing 18-inch wheels.

Extensive testing took place throughout 2021, and the consensus is the new car will require a completely different driving style.

NASCAR’s Next Gen car will debut in an exhibition race on February 6, at the Los Angeles Coliseum, before the season-opening Daytona 500 on February 20.

British Touring Car Championship rule changes

The BTCC will introduce hybrid technology, marking the beginning of a new chapter for the championship. A 60-volt system has been designed by Cosworth Electronics ahead of the new season and the style of racing is set to be very different.

Gone is the use of success ballast, instead the balance of performance will be dictated by how much extra power you can use from the hybrid technology.

Similarly to F1’s old KERS system, the driver will press a button on the steering wheel to activate the hybrid energy to defend and attack when racing their rivals.

It will bring an intriguing strategical aspect to the racing in the BTCC, in what is already a very exciting championship.

Nigel Chiu
Nigel Chiu
Nigel Chiu is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who worked at Total-Motorsport for 18 months until May 2023. He has been following F1 since 2007 and hasn’t missed a Grand Prix weekend since. Nigel’s worked with several motorsport websites, plus Eurosport and subsequently went on to work with Sky Sports where he travels to multiple F1 races each season.
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