Say it ain’t so: the economic downturn has claimed yet another team. Subaru, a long-dominant force in the World Rally Championship, has announced it won’t return to the WRC for 2009.
Subaru’s WRC team, run in no small part by the British Prodrive consortium, spent 20 years in the sport and captured six World Rally Championship titles. Along the way, it picked up millions of fans who will no doubt grieve the bitter news. Its success in rallying has given the brand recognition, and made the term “WRX” virtually a household name.
David Richards, Prodrive’s chairman, said Subaru’s departure from the WRC “is a great loss, as it is one of the sport’s icons.”
We have to wonder if this announcement is spurred by the WRC’s announcement that it would move to a S2000-spec car for 2010. A corporate release from Subaru claims the firm has “obtained its goal” in WRC, but hints it could participate in the Production Car World Rally Championships (which will still use Group N cars) in the future.