Lancia Continues Teasing Returning to Rally


lancia continues teasing returning to rally

A former rallying icon has confirmed its intention to return to the sport of rallying after a three-decade absence. Lancia — creator of the Stratos, Delta Integrale, and 037 — has said it’s actively trying to re-enter motorsport. But the Italian automaker also has to make the finances work before it’s willing to move forward with the program.

Lancia confirmed its intentions with DirtFish, who has relayed that information to the rest of the world. “As we are seeing these days, there is a great love and passion surrounding motorsport, with many fans who have been following us for a long time,” the brand explained.

“We are working on the return of Lancia to rally, knowing that it is a significant marketing lever. This means that we will return to the world of rally only if the return on investment meets our expectations.”

lancia continues teasing returning to rally

From DirtFish:

The expectation is that Lancia could take over Stellantis stablemate Citroën’s C3 Rally2 program. The Parisian arm of the group has vast recent experience in the world championship, starting at the top with customer racing manager Didier Clements.

Clements was one of the masterminds of Citroën’s generation of world championship domination with Sébastien Loeb.

The outlet likewise noted that Lancia’s performance arm would return to build an HF version of the all-electric Ypsilon. The model has been Lancia’s only product since 2015 and the newest version (unveiled just last month) uses the Common Modular Platform that underpins loads of small vehicles built under the Stellantis umbrella. While it’s normally a 1.2-liter turbo I3 using a mild hybrid system, the company has likewise delivered an electric version that sacrifices some amount of practicality for performance.

lancia continues teasing returning to rally

Though this may also be the band’s last hurrah. While Stellantis wants to see the brand revived with a trio of new models, including the updated Ypsilon, Lancia has been living on borrowed time for years and many are under the impression that it’s being given the Chrysler/Dodge treatment. That means fundamentally changing marquee’s Stellantis seems to believe have been painted into a corner. Perhaps fittingly, Lancia even became a dumping ground for rebadged Chrysler vehicles before its lineup was pared down to a singular model.

For the American brands, Stellantis has opted to dump the V8 and prioritize smaller engines and widespread electrification. It hasn’t gone over well with the hardcore fans. But we also haven’t tested the resulting products yet. Meanwhile, Lancia is supposed to become a premium brand over the next ten years and copy their pathway toward becoming all-electric brands.

lancia continues teasing returning to rally

The current Ypsilon (above) has been relatively popular in Italy, perhaps due to a sense of national pride. But it was also a relatively basic and affordable vehicle. The new model is quite a bit more complex due to its use of novel powertrains and launched as the relatively expensive Ypsilon Limited Edition Cassina EV. Converted to our dollars, the model starts at $43,000. Subsequent versions will be less expensive but Stellantis is clearly aiming a little bit upmarket as part of the premium push.

Lancia intends on expanding to the whole of Europe and launch its flagship in model 2026. While the brand has historically been focused on sedans, hence the tie-in with Chrysler, it’s assumed this will be a crossover vehicle. The final model is rumored to be the returning Lancia Delta, one of the brand’s most historically relevant models. But it’s not yet clear when it will drop and whether the company will be exclusively building EVs by then. Rallying regulations may also change in the interim, so there’s a chance the automaker could run a purely electric vehicle.

lancia continues teasing returning to rally

Similarly unclear is which model Lancia intends on using for rallying. The present Group Rally2 rules have cars running 1.6-liter turbo engines pushing a power-to-weight ratio of no more than 4.2kg/hp. While the Delta seems like the vehicle that the brand would want to run, it’s actually the Ypsilon that’s the most dimensionally similar to modern WRC2 cars since it’s effectively a rebadged Peugeot 208.

While not exactly an automotive media outlet, DirtFish is about as plugged into the rallying community as it gets. Then again, your author is presently wearing one of their hoodies as he writes this and is perhaps even a little over-eager to see Lancia return to the sport. But the news remains valid with the company clearly willing to discuss the prospect of jumping back into the motorsport for which it was best known. Here’s hoping things work out for the Lancia and that the relevant performance engineering eventually migrates to North America.

lancia continues teasing returning to rally

[Images: Lancia]

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