After more than 20 years in the sport, during which time the Prodrive-run Subaru World Rally Team has won six World Rally Championship titles, the news is not only devastating to Subaru themselves, but to the millions of rallying fans around the world.
"Subaru’s departure from the World Rally Championship is a great loss as it is one of the sport’s icons." Prodrive chairman David Richards said, " The Subaru World Rally Team has created true champions such as Colin McRae and Richard Burns and its absence will be felt by many the world over. Although this decision closes a significant chapter in Prodrive’s history, our focus now turns to the future".
For many, Prodrive and Subaru are synonymous, given the long-standing and close association between the two companies. However, while the Subaru World Rally Team historically represented a significant part of Prodrive’s business, today it accounts for no more than 20 per cent of the company’s turnover.
Despite the current economic downturn however, Prodrive’s automotive engineering business remains buoyant as it works with vehicle manufacturers to accelerate the development of next generation fuel-efficient vehicles and alternative fuel technologies.
Together with Subaru, Prodrive’s commitment to its customer rally teams will also continue unabated for 2009 and beyond. Over the past 15 years, Prodrive has sold close to 500 rally cars to more than 400 private competitors and independent rally teams in 47 countries.
During this time, Prodrive’s customers have won five consecutive Production World Rally Championships and countless international rallies. In 2008, Prodrive-supported customer teams have claimed eight rally championship titles around the world.
Looking ahead, 2010 will see the introduction of new World Rally Championship technical regulations, which provide Prodrive with an opportunity to prepare for re-entering the championship with a new team and build on its 24 years of World Rally Championship experience and success.