RAC Rally returns to the motor sport calendar

19 Nov 2015

November 2016 sees the return of one of the most iconic and famous rallies in the world, the RAC Rally of the Tests. The event was first staged in 1932 and enjoyed huge success up until 1939. Returning after the war in 1951 it went from strength to strength and became the keystone of modern stage rallying as we know it today. From its inception in the 1930’s, huge crowds have flocked to witness the spectacle of competitors battling against some of the most challenging routes and conditions in motor sport, the event was pivotal in bringing rallying to mainstream media and launched many household names throughout its history.

With the resurgence of interest in classic motoring, a three-way partnership has been forged to allow the RAC Rally of the Tests to return. HERO Events will organise the event with the support of the RAC, which provides breakdown cover for more than eight million motorists along with car insurance and car buying services, including the RAC Cars website, and the Royal Automobile Club. The revival of this most famous of sporting occasions further strengthens the relationship between HERO Events and the Royal Automobile Club – a partnership that led to the Royal Automobile Club 1000 Mile Trial being awarded Rally of the Year at the International Historic Motoring Awards and nominated again in 2016.

The 2016 RAC Rally will form part of the HERO Cup for Drivers, held in association with EFG International and Zenith Watches, Official Timekeeper of the HERO Cup. This series is now widely regarded as the finest of its kind in Europe and has generous prizes of a week’s sailing on the magnificent 85-foot luxury yacht S/Y Orianda as well as a superb Zenith El Primero Open Chronomaster timepiece for the winner. Navigators can also win one of these coveted timepieces - as well as a paid standard entry to one of three selected HERO Events rallies that take place throughout the continent as part of the HERO Cup’s sister series, The Golden Roamer Trophy for Navigators.

Winners of the event will join the names of rallying legends past as they recreate the feel and atmosphere of this iconic event - the format of the event will retain maps for navigation and will, where possible, utilise tests and sections that were used in the heyday of the RAC Rally of the Tests. To add to the already authentic feel, public-facing venues will be used with easy access that will allow spectators to support and see these amazing vehicles at this legendary event.

RAC Chief Marketing Officer John Orriss said: “The RAC brand carries with it a rich heritage of motorsport so we are delighted that it is officially returning to the world of rallying. The 1930’s RAC Rally of the Tests was pivotal in paving the way for the very development of rallying as we know it so we are naturally looking forward to being able to share our passion for motoring with a new generation today, especially as the event is being configured so that our members and future members can get close to the action. We are confident the revitalised rally under the RAC badge and the careful guidance of HERO will go from strength to strength.”

The Royal Automobile Club’s Chairman, Tom Purves commented: “The Royal Automobile Club is delighted that one of the greatest, most loved, names in the history of motorsport has been restored to its place on the international calendar. The RAC Rally of the Tests was always a challenge for man and machine, but also a great spectacle which delighted spectators up and down the country. We look forward to supporting the RAC and HERO in this exciting venture.”

HERO Chairman Tomas de Vargas Machuca added: “The RAC Rally was the most important motoring event in the UK and possibly Europe. Reviving this event after so many years is an important milestone in classic rallying and we are committed to ensuring that the RAC ROTT will regain its international status in the European calendar and continue the great tradition the event has.”

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