Rally USA: Next step toward a WRC event on June 14-15

J.A.
By J.A. Ackley
Jun 11, 2024 | WRC, ara, Rally USA

Photography Credit: Wes Hill/Rally USA

Rally USA continues its quest to bring a WRC event to the U.S. with its next rally, Tennessee Rally USA, on June 14-15. It comes with a new major sponsor, Toyota Gazoo Racing, and a much bigger footprint.

While the last rally took place at the site of an old copper mine, this one returns to the Cherokee National Forest outside of Chattanooga, but with more stages and miles–eight stages and a total of 77.36 competition miles. The objective of this upcoming event is simple.

[Update: The next step in the quest for a WRC event in the U.S.]

The purpose of this engagement in the national forest is to get another engagement in the national forest,” says Rally USA Rally Manager Stuart Wood. “We want to show, especially the emergency services personnel, that we have the competence in organizing and running a safe event in a national forest. Our application for 2025 has been in since last year, and it’s pending this event.”

Yes, Rally USA ran in the Cherokee National Forest before. Wood said it achieved its goals of being able to safely host a rally within that setting and return the roads to the condition that they were in or even better. This time, they’re using even more roads.

We wouldn’t be having this event if we hadn’t executed that one safely,” Stuart says of the first event in the forest. “We got a lot of information, not just for us, but also the Forest Service.”

This upcoming event will also serve as a training opportunity for volunteers, too. Fortunately, Rally USA has had great success in attracting help. More than 250 individuals expressed interest, with 100 already trained. A WRC-sized event will require close to 2000, so more are welcome.

Rally USA organizers had planned on an even bigger, multiple-day event this weekend, but those efforts were curtailed by construction work, both in downtown Chattanooga and in the Cherokee National Forest. The scheduling of rallies before and after the Tennessee Rally USA event affected the number of entries for the ARA-sanctioned rally, which is technically classified as an exhibition.

The construction limited spectator opportunities, too, with only two designated viewing areas, limited to roughly 500 people each. Nevertheless, those looking to see Rally USA in person can enjoy it in other ways.

The parc exposé takes place on Friday, June 14, in downtown Chattanooga, from 6-8 p.m., at Miller Plaza. Throughout the rally on Saturday, June 15, spectators can visit the fan zone and service area at Polk County High School in Benton, Tennessee, from 7:30 a.m. to 6:40 p.m. Following that, the finish podium ceremony will take place at the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo in downtown Chattanooga.

Furthermore, Rally USA just announced its latest sponsor: Toyota Gazoo Racing. Having the support of the automakers will further the cause for bringing a WRC event to the U.S.

Having Toyota Gazoo Racing’s support for this project is something that Rally USA has been eagerly anticipating for months,” Stuart said in a press release. “Toyota GR’s commitment to motorsports and their passion for rally aligns seamlessly with our vision and near future goals. This partnership is a tremendous opportunity to showcase the excitement of stage rally to a new audience and will undoubtedly create an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.”

Some have wondered why the organizers behind Rally USA have remained relatively quiet in recent months about their efforts. That’s by design, says Stuart. To put on a world event, it requires the cooperation of some many different groups of people, from local residents to various levels of government to, of course, WRC. Stuart reassures those interested in a world event in the U.S. that there’s been a lot of progress behind the scenes.

We would gladly make things public, but sometimes the organizations that we are working with are not ready for it,” Stuart says. “A year from now, making an announcement about an event won’t be a big deal at all. But, right now, we have to go through 15 to 18 different organizations to get approval on dates and then publicizing them.”

Either way, this weekend’s Tennessee Rally USA 2024 represents another step in the journey to a WRC event in the U.S., with the goal of that occurring in 2026.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more WRC, ara and Rally USA news.
Comments
Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
6/11/24 1:01 p.m.

Exciting to still see forward momentum on this. 

DavyZ
DavyZ Reader
6/11/24 1:47 p.m.

This will be very good for the economies of said states involved.  I would love to see WRC run in various places in the USA and even here in NC.  Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia seem to be paying attention and have their acts together to make this sort of thing happen.   

AMiataCalledSteve
AMiataCalledSteve HalfDork
6/11/24 2:28 p.m.

This is feasibly within attendance distance for me. I wonder if the fan zones are already full?

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
6/11/24 3:54 p.m.
AMiataCalledSteve said:

This is feasibly within attendance distance for me. I wonder if the fan zones are already full?

The event organizers warned me that the spectactor areas might fill up quickly. However, the service area should be able accommodate a bunch of folks as well as the parc expose.

EvanB
EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/11/24 7:09 p.m.

I doubt spectator areas will be full with only 9 cars entered. SOFR was last weekend, an established rally with normally 60-80 cars entered and people coming to see pastrana and there are still plenty of places to watch from.

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
6/12/24 9:01 a.m.
EvanB said:

I doubt spectator areas will be full with only 9 cars entered. SOFR was last weekend, an established rally with normally 60-80 cars entered and people coming to see pastrana and there are still plenty of places to watch from.

That's kind of my instinct, too, but the event organizers seemed hesitant to push spectator access due to the limitations. However, if you want a glimpse what they're working on - and you're nearby - I say go for it. I'll be there at some point this weekend.

You'll need to log in to post.

Our Preferred Partners
0c8aatMo0cIRhtx6PqKEUPE6XBHrNJb3ctpNuMeSGbeyw8PZdHnah1ujCLv0aEip