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Click for a hi-res gallery of the Subaru Impreza WRC2008

We're going to play this little game again. Close your eyes and think "rally". (Not picket lines and protest signs, but tail-sliding, dirt road heroics behind the wheel of turbocharged four-wheel-drive monsters.) Now what company comes to mind? If you're a sentimentalist you might be thinking Audi or Lancia, but anybody who hasn't been living in a cave for the last decade or so (with apologies to all our cave-dwelling readers) will almost invariably think of Subaru. Never mind that its WRC team hasn't been doing that well recently: pumped up Imprezas like the WRX and STI are nearly synonymous with rallying. But now reports indicate that Subaru is considering confusing us by entering to World Touring Car Championship.

The news is sparked by a forthcoming arrangement between the WRC and the WTCC that could see them adopting a common set of rules, not unlike the more practical Super 2000 formula that has both rally and touring car series. Now we're always encouraged by news of carmakers – especially ones with such well-established motorsport pedigrees – going racing, but we can't help but wonder if Subaru's venture onto paved tracks wouldn't confuse the message and dilute its hard-earned brand identity. Conversely, the oil-ification of the WTCC could give Subaru a chance to prove its mettle with its new diesel engines. Either way, execs from Fuji Heavy and Subaru Tecnica International are expected to visit the touring car championship when it visits Japan on October 24 to scope it out.

Just because we love you, our loyal readers, ever so much, here's a gallery of studio-quality, high-resolution images of Subaru's current rally contender.


[Source: TouringCarTimes]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 28 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      "but we can't help but wonder if Subaru's venture onto paved tracks wouldn't confuse the message and dilute its hard-earned brand identity."

      Highly disagree...WRXs and STIs owners road race their cars. Sure, some rally, but a track day or hot lapping and time attacks are more accessible to the average Joe. Plus add in the fact that the Koni-Challenge has a pretty successful Subaru Road Racing Team: http://www.icyracing.com/ and your brand identity becomes pretty clear: We Race. Whether it's Rally or Road, we race.

      Plus let's not forget that the WRC has Tarmac events, too...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes, but unfortunately most race series don't allow AWD. Like its some sort of unfair advantage.

        Which is why the Koni Challenge is one of the few places the tuned-stock Legacy has a home.

        Here are the S2000 Regulations (which apply to WTCC):

        "FIA specifications include the following:

        Derived from production model, of which 2500 have been produced in the past year
        Maximum of 2 liter (2000 cc) displacement
        Normal Aspiration, 8500 rpm maximum for 4 cylinders, 8750 rpm maximum for 5 cylinders, 9000 rpm maximum for 6 cylinders.
        All wheel drive is permitted in rally cars, but not in touring cars.
        6-speed sequential gearbox (Control specification made by Sadev, Xtrac or Ricardo. No electronics allowed in differentials)
        Front and rear McPherson suspension
        No electronic driver aids
        Must be for sale at a maximum price of €168,000."

        So whether we like them or not, and even though they could be a game-changer, manufacturers that don't have AWD prowess have politically sabotaged its use in WTCC.
        • 6 Years Ago
        So unless you really want to see a naturally aspirated, RWD Subaru on the road-track for advertizing purposes... no use having them, IMO.

        Although they could be joining under the WTCC Super 2000 Rally restrictions. They just can't be Touring Cars.

        My advice? Support ICY/Phoenix, and the Koni Challenge. We should develop a following for SRRT.

        That way more people will accept that Subys are good on dry pavement. It gets tiring that many think they only become useful when it rains/snows/runs out of tarmac. They were useful to begin with, they just stay useful when the going gets slick.
      • 6 Years Ago
      +1 on using the legacy for this instead of the impreza. With ICY/Phoenix and SPT using legacies in road racing series (SPT using the LGT wagon, no less), the Legacy should be well proven in this arena. And it would be a good business strategy, WRX for rally, and the Legacy for 3-series killing duties.

      Sigh, probably won't happen. The marketing folks never listen to any of us....
      • 6 Years Ago
      " Close your eyes and think "rally" ..... Now what comes to mind?"

      Rally Vincent from Gunsmith Cats in her Shelby GT500 with the Police Interceptor Engine?
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Just because we love you, our loyal readers, ever so much, here's a gallery of studio-quality, high-resolution images of Subaru's current rally contender."

      Awwww, you love us? Hey wait, that sounded like sarcasm!
      • 6 Years Ago
      "If you're a sentimentalist you might be thinking Audi or Lancia, but anybody who hasn't been living in a cave for the last decade or so (with apologies to all our cave-dwelling readers) will almost invariably think of Subaru."

      Only if you life in the USA and can´t follow world wide Motorsport.. since nealry 10 years the WRC is dominated by Peugeot and Citroen and now Ford.
      Ford was able to break into that WRC domination from PSA...

      The last japanese manufactor WRC championship was won by Toyota and that in 1999 the last Subaru WRC manufactor championship was 11 years ago in 1997... a decade ago..

      If you think WRC and Subaru you are only a fanboy ;)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Subaru is the only team that has had an unbroken presence in WRC since 1990. Mitsu, Peugeot, Citroen, Ford, Skoda, Toyota and others have come and gone and sometimes returned, but none of them have shown the consistent commitment to the series that Subaru has demonstrated.

        So yes, thank you, when I think of international rally, I do think of the team that has been more involved than any other over the past two decades.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Will

        PSA is Peugeot and Citroen together.. they only race with one mark at the same time but they are one company. First PSA manufactor title 1985 wone by Peugeot.. last manufactor titel for PSA 2005 by Citroen.

        PSA worldchampionships in the past 25years
        8 manufactor titels
        8 driver titels
        12of the titels won in the last 10years..

        Subaru worldchampionships in the past 25years
        3 manufactor titels
        3 driver titels
        2 driver titels won in the last 10years...

        go figure


      • 6 Years Ago
      http://videos.streetfire.net/video/WTTC-Tom-Coronel-2007_175318.htm

      thats WTCC... the driver is Tom Coronell at his main work... SEAT WTCC driver... Tom Coronell is the one who drove the Viper ACR in 7:22min around the Ring
      • 6 Years Ago
      Might this be a better place for the upcoming Toyota/Subaru coupe to race?

      Some rumors suggest RWD might be standard, and in a light coupe shell run as a Toyota it might make more sense... at least seen from the evil eye of marketing.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They need to bring the Dodge Stratus back.
        • 6 Years Ago
        What

        The

        HELL?

        What left field galaxy did that come from?
      • 6 Years Ago
      First guys, thanks for the Hi-res photos.

      From the point of view of promotion, the WRC is no-longer anywhere on the US scene. Speed used to give this great Sunday afternoon hour-long recap. It was a great 52 minutes of "rally-bites." Great for promotion...but it is gone.

      Though it is also pretty much non-existant in the US, WTCC would be cool. A better emulation of where most of us would-be Petter Solbergs (or Andy Priaulxs) learn how ham-fisted we really are. Better marketing photo opportunity too, me thinks.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The American Networks are after the biggest amount of money they can make for a show ... clearly there is not enough demand compared to other sporting events for them to show more things like WRC/WTCC.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah, I remember when Speed Channel used to be Speed Vision and really had interesting programs, but like most things, it has lowered itself to the lowest common denominator over time to make the almighty dollar. I would pay a few bucks extra a month for programming like SpeedVision used to have.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Mostly, I am an F1 fan and defer to my brother re. NASCAR issues.

        But, we Americans, we're all different and prejudice of the sort you have expressed doesn't fly too well over here (sorry Jezza)

        In fact, Bernie is the inspiration for the business I have started. You do know who Bernie is don't you rypt?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Your (Americans) own fault for liking Nascar too much, and not caring about all other racing.
        • 6 Years Ago
        rypt. Look up the word "putz".
        • 6 Years Ago
        rypt,

        that is kind of a broad brush, there.

        I am an American, and my comments here about nascar just yesterday were considerably less than glowing.

        I don't control what other people are interested in, nor would I want to. But I also don't individually program content for ESPN or Speed Channel, or schedule racing events in the US.

        So perhaps blaming a blanket group of people is a bit irrational, and something most people resent when it happens to them. Or you.
        • 6 Years Ago
        yes, Bernie Eccleston is a prejudice hypocritical money grabbing doddering old fool
      • 6 Years Ago
      I wish the Speed Touring Car Challenge ran on slicks and allowed more downforce...They dont cost anymore money really but make the cars so much cooler to watch! Those RA-1's just dont give as much excitement to me.

      Would this make Subaru the only team using AWD? Heavy heavy sucks power away too. They'll just pray it rains every race
        • 6 Years Ago
        "heavy heavy and sucks gas and power"?

        Not enough to be a hinderance. It was widely considered an unfair advantage. At first, Audis, Porsches, and Nissans using AWD were regulated with added weight penalties, then AWD was banned altogether in most series.

        In fact, will they even allow Subaru to keep AWD in the WTCC? They might have to go RWD like Audi did.

        If that's the case, I don't think its worth it to Subaru just to get their name on a 150mph billboard.
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