The organisers of the New Zealand national rally championship have confirmed that hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles developed by teams of engineering students at New Zealand universities will be eligible to take part in the competition in 2008 and will also run as a support class in the Propecia Rally of New Zealand in 2008, the country’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

Since 2004 hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles have competed in the Tertiary Hybrid Open Rally Challenge (TORC) which has the support of both AUT and Unitech, two of the New Zealand’s leading applied technology universities. Other institutions with engineering faculties are also being encouraged to join TORC.

The competition’s CEO Kevin Dwyer said: “MotorSport New Zealand has supported TORC and developed supplementary technical regulations to cover the cars, which will run in the two wheel drive Kiwi 2 class. The Sustainable Business Network has also swung in behind the organisation.

“The engineering teams must use an existing two wheel drive shell but must design and develop hybrid electric power trains. In all other respects the cars will be conventional rally cars with a full range of safety equipment.

“It’s a very practical way to get young engineers to think about future alternatives and to do so in a competitive environment. It will also help the public appreciate that it is still possible to enjoy motorsport in an eco-friendly way.”

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