Is Subaru making a shocking return to WRC? Here’s everything we know!

In recent rallying news that has sent waves through the community, there’s heightened speculation around Subaru’s potential return to the World Rally Championship (WRC). Subaru’s historic contributions to the sport are undeniable, with rally enthusiasts welcoming any whispers of the Japanese giant making a comeback.

Subaru WRC 2003 –

Subaru and Rallying: An Iconic Duo
Subaru is nothing short of a legend in rallying circles. Their iconic Impreza catapulted the likes of Colin McRae, Richard Burns, and Petter Solberg into superstardom. These heroes clinched drivers’ titles in 1995, 2001, and 2003. But, since their exit in 2008 during the global financial crisis, there’s been a Subaru-sized hole in the WRC.

An Intriguing Hint from FIA’s President

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the governing body’s president, sent shockwaves during a recent media interaction in Greece. He disclosed that Subaru might be reconsidering its position in the WRC. This revelation came out of his conversation with Mr. Akio Toyoda, the Toyota chairman, during the Le Mans 24 Hours in June. With Toyota owning a part of Subaru and being fervent WRC supporters, the possibility of Toyota aiding Subaru’s re-entry, even with engine support, is buzzing with potential.

A Potential Return Date?

However, before fans get ahead of themselves, several factors still need alignment. Realistically, if the stars align, 2027 seems to be a possible year for Subaru’s grand re-entry, coinciding with the anticipated launch of new WRC regulations. As per insider information, the 2027 WRC regulations will likely champion hybrid-powered cars using sustainable fuels, while setting aside full electric or hydrogen power options.

Toyota’s Stance

Toyota, when approached about this development, conveyed their chairman’s immense enthusiasm for rallying and the excitement a Subaru return would bring, especially as another Japanese brand. They emphasized that the final call would naturally be in the hands of Subaru’s board and president.

The Pressure on Subaru

The early disclosure by Ben Sulayem, ahead of the 2027 regulation finalizations, places considerable pressure on Subaru. Rallying enthusiasts eagerly want this, as evidenced by Subaru topping polls as the most-desired brand for WRC return. The positive anticipation could either boost Subaru’s interest or create potential setbacks if not handled strategically.

WRC’s Current Standing

The WRC and FIA have recently faced criticism over diminishing appeal and the perceived ineffectiveness of the recently introduced Rally1 regulations. Despite the impressive visuals and sustainability of the Rally1 hybrid cars, their high costs have deterred entries. Promoting the sport effectively remains a critical concern, with Formula 1’s popularity surge serving as an exemplary model.

What’s in the Pipeline for WRC?

WRC Promoter and the FIA are addressing these criticisms head-on. They’ve announced discussions on event format changes and other initiatives to enhance the championship’s appeal. Moreover, measures to reduce Rally1 costs are on the cards.

If these changes yield positive results, they could significantly boost the chances of Subaru re-entering the WRC fray. Regardless of what the future holds, the rally world remains keenly tuned into the possibilities.