The World Rally Championship (WRC) is a rallying series organized by the FIA, where drivers and car manufacturers compete for the prestigious championship. The series currently consists of 13 three-day events, comprising an assortment of circuit surfaces that range from gravel and tarmac to snow and ice. The WRC was formed from well-known and popular international rallies and was first contested in 1973. The current rallies that are part of the WRC Calendar are Rallye Monte Carlo; Rally Sweden; Rally Guanajuato, México; Xion Rally, Argentina; Vodafone Rally de Portugal; Rally Italia Sardegna; LOTOS 72nd Rally, Poland; Neste Oil Rally, Finland; ADAC Rallye Deutschland; Coates Hire Rally, Australia; Rallye de France - Tour de Corse; RallyRACC, Catalunya-Costa Daurada and the Wales Rally, Great Britain

The WRC features three support championships – the Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC); the World Rally Championship 2 (WRC-2); and the World Rally Championship 3 (WRC-3), which are contested on the same events and stages as the WRC.

Manufacturer-backed teams usually have two or three drivers participating in each rally who are eligible to score points. The total number of competing crews (driver and his co-driver) in the WRC events vary from 47 to 108. Each crew is required to compete using the World Rally Car, the current car specification in the series. World Rally Cars are built on production 1.6-litre four-cylinder cars, but feature turbochargers, anti-lag systems, four-wheel-drive, sequential gearboxes, aerodynamic parts and other enhancements bringing the price of a WRC car to a staggering 1 million US Dollars.

This is one of the reasons that saw Suzuki and Subaru pull out of the WRC at the end of the 2008 championship, both citing the economic downturn that affected the automotive industry for their withdrawal. Mini and Ford both pulled out of the WRC at the end of the 2012 championship, due to a similar economic downturn affecting the European market. However, Volkswagen and Hyundai made their return to the championship in 2013 and 2014, respectively.