The Mid-West Region’s bid to host the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2025 will be presented to officials from the WRC Promoters and Motorsport Ireland at Limerick Racecourse this Thursday.
The Patrickswell venue has been put forward by the Limerick Motor Club in association with the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau as the base location for the prestigious international event which is returning to Ireland for the first time since 2009.
If successful, Limerick Racecourse would be transformed into a 10,000 square metre service park and international media centre as well as the WRC fan zone for the duration of the competition, which Ireland is expected to host for three years. It also would host more than 1,500 volunteers and hundreds of officials, marshals and service crew members from the world’s largest rallying teams, including M-sport Ford, Toyota Gazoo racing and Hyundai shell mobis.
More than 250,000 spectators are expected to travel from overseas to Ireland for the event and it is hoped that Limerick’s proximity to Shannon Airport and major motorway infrastructure will bolster its bid.
Maurice Meskell of Limerick Motor Club commented “Working in recent months with the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau, we feel that we have put together a strong case to bring this prestigious international sporting event to the Mid-West.”
“Limerick Racecourse is an ideal location due to its quality connectivity and established service areas and we feel our bid is further strengthened by the support we have received across the region from Elected Members, Limerick City and County Council, Fáilte Ireland, An Garda Síochána, local Chambers of Commerce, Shannon Airport, Motor Clubs in surrounding counties and the wider business community,” he added.
Karen Ronan, General Manager of the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau said a successful Limerick bid would deliver significant economic dividends to the wider region.
“The experience of other regions suggests that substantial and broad economic benefits are associated with hosting the World Rally Championship” she explained. “The Mexican state of Guanajuato this year saw more than 600,000 rallying fans gather for the WRC leading to a €36.5m injection in the local economy along with high hotel occupancy rates and prominent international media coverage. The support received locally for our bid suggests that Limerick is ready and willing to deliver a hugely successful base in Ireland to stage the event for Motorsport Ireland and the WRC.”
Explaining the background to the bid, Kieran Ambrose of Limerick Motor Club stated, “Motorsport Ireland initially requested motor clubs to submit expressions of interest after which Limerick was included in a shortlist of 3 potential locations. We feel that Limerick Racecourse is unrivalled in terms of its accessibility, quality connectivity, existing serviced areas, and track record of successfully managing large-scale and high-profile events. We look forward to an announcement being made by WRC Promoters & Motorsport Ireland in the days following the visit. No matter the outcome we are looking forward to rowing in behind whomever is successful in the bid to ensure Ireland puts on a show when hosting the WRC.”
A decision on the host location will be made by the WRC Promoters & Motorsport Ireland next week. Kerry and Waterford are the other shortlisted locations.
Inaugurated in 1973, it is the second oldest of the FIA’s world championships after Formula One. Each season, which lasts one calendar year, separate championship titles are awarded to drivers, co-drivers and manufacturers. Visit www.wrc.com for more.