An unfortunate question of timing

The news broke this morning from the New York International Auto Show, finally a new four-door, big winged Scooby is on the horizon. As a long time Subaru fan (family Prodrive connection) this is wonderous news, Evos just don’t do it for me I’m afraid. That said neither did the current gen WRX, only with the full fat STI did Subaru dig themselves out a hole that was entirely of thier own making. Quite why they tried to make a softer, more palatable car out of the Impreza when they had the Legacy sat there I’ll never know. But hey ho, that’s all in the past now.

Get out, you bloater

A new Impreza that looks far better then when the first shots were leaked last week, not that looks are really important in a rally replica but from the press renderings it looks right. It looks muscular, slightly awkward but purposful, everything an Impreza has historically been about.  No specs yet but you’ve got to expect a very similar set up to the current models. So hooray for the road car, but what does this mean for the competition side?

Is the Impreza back?

Since Subaru limped out of the WRC a couple of years ago, the rallying world has moved on. The WRC from 2011 will use 1.6 litre turbo engines as opposed to the current 2.0 litre units. The cars that contain these engines are much smaller than the Impreza (next year expect a titanic struggle between Citroen’s new DS3 and Ford’s scarily quick looking Fiesta). These cars, built on the current S2000 regs are significantly cheaper to run than the current WRC machines and are growing in popularity. They’re a match for the current group N Production WRC machinery from Mitsubishi and Subaru on both sealed and loose surfaces and cost roughly the same. The only real difference is that turbo group N cars are easier to drive but aren’t as spectacular as the high revving NA S2000s.

Add to this scene a wailing engine note and rejoice that rally's future might have been secured.

I can’t see Subaru (ok, Prodrive)  dropping a 1.6 into an Impreza, which means that the forseable future, Subaru still won’t be in the top flight of international rallying. The only way this could happen is if the regs went back to 2L turbos, which I don’t think will ever happen. The automotive world is committed on the path to small displacement turbo engines before we all have to run sodding diesel-hybrid-tofu-mobiles. I’m completely in favour of the small, turbo petrol engine, it’s the right thing to do for the industry, I’d like to see 1L turbo engines in F1 too, but I digress.

I hope my scepticism is unfounded and Subaru decide that it’ll be a great idea to  put a smaller engine in their WRC car (assuming they come back at all). However until such a thing happens my joy at a new Scoob will be tempered by the fact that, we probably wont see a blue and yellow one being flung down the road by one of the world’s top WRC crews, ever.

Will we ever see it's like again?


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