Attendances for the World Rally Championship (WRC) motorsport series exceeded 4 million for their second consecutive season, according to a review of its 2018 instalment.
Ticket sales during the 13-rally series broke 4.1 million – an average 315,000 fans over each WRC weekend according to official figures – and marks a 30 per cent increase on turnout since WRC Promotor took ownership of the championship in 2013.
Growing crowds at championship events will come as a welcome bonus to WRC owners, who also registered record TV ratings in 2018, with fans tuning into more than 14,000 hours of coverage from the from the series for the first time.
“WRC spectator numbers compare extremely positively with other world level motorsports,” said Oliver Ciesla, WRC Promoter’s managing director.
“Indeed, in some countries our rallies have proved to be the biggest annual entertainment event, larger than other sporting competitions and attractions like music festivals and industry fairs.
“Such growing visitor numbers bring big benefits for WRC host cities and countries. The direct income provided to the local economy by national and international visitors is significant.”
The WRC 2019 season will expand to 14 rallies with the introduction of Chile to the championship calendar, which Ciesla says is a reflection of the “the great passion for motorsport we see from fans in Latin America”.
As in 2017, rallies in Argentina, Portugal and Mexico were again the best-attended last season, while the traditional season-opening Rallye Monte-Carlo more than doubled its gate entrees to nearly 200,000 since 2013.