ŠKODA has had a long, eventful history with motorsport. We began rallying in the 1960s with the Octavia and 1000MB models, before progressing on to the 110, 120 and 130 series. Most of these were lightly modified versions of the production cars.
During this time ŠKODA Motorsport was a small outfit by ‘works rally team’ standards and was run as a department of the main ŠKODA factory. Among the staff there, working on the rally team was regarded as a highly desirable job, and many of the drivers were selected from company staff, although foreign professionals did drive for the team as well.
Over the years, ŠKODA Motorsport has had varying levels of involvement with the sport and other teams have also raced ŠKODA cars. Notable years include the introduction of the ‘Kit Car’ rules in 1995, which gave ŠKODA the opportunity to produce a more specialist car. In 1999, ŠKODA entered the World Rally Championship at the top level for the first time, competing in seven of the 14 events. In 2008, ŠKODA Motorsport returned to rallying with a new Super 2000 version of the Fabia and in 2010, ŠKODA achieved seven wins, nine 2nd and 3rd places.
2013 was one of the most successful years in our 112-year motorsport history. ŠKODA picked up the trophy for winning the Manufacturers’ Championship in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) in Paris, as well as a further six international trophies for Driver and Co-Driver titles in rally championships in Europe, South America and the Asia-Pacific region. ŠKODA works pairing Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZ/CZ) won the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) in a Fabia Super 2000, while Gaurav Gill/Glenn Macneall (IND/NZ) triumphed in the Driver and Co-Driver Championship in the APRC.
In 2014, ŠKODA will once again line up in the ERC and the APRC with its works drivers and the Fabia Super 2000. There will also be a successor to the successful ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000 motorsport project when development begins on the ŠKODA Fabia R 5 in Mladá Boleslav next year. In line with FIA regulations, the new R 5 rally car will be equipped with a 1.6-litre turbo engine. “Entering the R 5 class is a logical step for ŠKODA. As it stands, we are assuming that the new car will be homologated by mid-2015,” said Hrabánek.