Currently reading: Coventry in talks to host closed-road World Rallycross event
WorldRX event would start in 2025 as part of Coventry Motorfest, be first UK street race in 35 years

The FIA World Rallycross Championship (WRX) is in “advanced talks” about staging an event on the Coventry ring road in 2025– which would be the first international-level street race in the UK for 35 years.

The event would be held as part of the annual Coventry Motorfest, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary this weekend.

The Motorfest mixes static displays with demonstration runs and a timed sprint event using a 1.1-mile course laid out on a section of the city’s Ringway circular.

Motorfest officials say that a proposed rallycross circuit has been drafted by Driven International with from top rallycross driver Kevin Hansen, and that they have entered talks with Rallycross Promoter, the organisation that runs WorldRX.

Coventry City Council recently released a list of transport innovation projects for which it was seeking support that confirmed it has supported a feasibility study on an FIA-certified 6R rallycross course. 

The proposed course would start on Greyfriars Road next to the city’s market before an anticlockwise loop that takes in a section of the Ringway before taking returning up Greyfriars Road.

The joker loop – an extended section of track all cars must tackle one per race – would be located under the junction of the Ringway and Croft Road.

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Motorfest event director James Noble said: “We have made no secret in the past of our ambition to stage competitive motorsport on Coventry Ring Road and, having successfully delivered closed-road time trials, we're now driving forward with the next phase of that plan.”

He added that organisers were seeking commercial partners to help with the infrastructure and finance, calling it a “massive opportunity” to secure Coventry’s future as “a city at the heart of transport innovation and development.”  

Noble added that the prospect of staging an all-electric world championship event would put Motorfest “the event at the heart of sustainable motorsport for now and the future.”

The top-level supercar category of WorldRX switched to an all-electric formula in 2022, but a fire that destroyed cars at the Lydden Hill event forced the cancellation of three rounds and meant the machines weren't used for the remainder of the year.

The 684bhp electric RX1e cars are set to return in this year’s championship, which will start on 6/7 July, but combustion-engined supercars will also be allowed, as long as they are sustainably fuelled.

WorldRX staged an event on a street circuit in Hong Kong at the end of last year and called that race a test case that could led to more temporary circuits being added to the calendar in the coming years.

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Rallycross Promoter boss Arne Dirks said that rallycross has “enormous potential to appeal to new audiences – a point very well illustrated by the phenomenal success of our inaugural city-centre event in Hong Kong last year".

"That was a real ‘milestone’ moment and has encouraged us to explore further metropolitan locations," Dirks added.

This year’s WorldRX calendar is set to feature five double-header rounds, although the British round at Lydden Hill has been dropped.

The Coventry plans also have the support of the FIA, world motorsport’s governing body.

The organisation’s road sport director, Andrew Wheatley, described Coventry as an “ideal location” for an event, adding: “The compact footprint and intense, high-energy nature of rallycross make it well-suited to an urban environment, and with its strong sustainability credentials."

If the Coventry street circuit project goes ahead, it will be the first true closed-road motor race in the UK since the Birminham Superprix, which ran on a 2.47-mile course from 1986 until 1990.

That event was headlined by Formula 3000, at that point the main feeder category to Formula 1, and also hosted the British Touring Car Championship.

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That event went ahead through an Act of Parliament to suspend the Road Traffic Act, which had long made it prohibitively difficult for other closed-road motorsport events to go ahead.

After a long campaign by governing body Motorsport UK, the laws was changed in 2017 to make it easier to suspend the road traffic act for motorsport events and demonstration runs, which allowed events such as the Motorfest and a number of club-level motorsport events to go ahead.

Motorfest officials estimate the free-to-attend event attracts around 200,000 spectators, with a study showing it contributes around £10 million to the local economy.

This weekend’s event will feature competitive sprint, drift and autotest events, along with historic karting. There will also be car displays and concerts, while access to the Coventry Transport Museum will be free.

James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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