Subaru, which grew from making humble farmers’ pick-ups into a World Rally icon and cult-car brand, is back in motorsport thanks to a new tie-up with a top team in the British Touring Car Championship.
The Japanese marque, which tasted WRC glory with Colin McRae, Richard Burns and Petter Solberg, has joined forces with ex-bike racer Warren Scott’s Team BMR operation to run a pair of all-new Levorg estates in Britain’s biggest series.
Team BMR has hung onto two of its 2015 stars, Jason Plato and Colin Turkington, in order to maximise the potential of the new machine, which will run a two-litre turbocharged engine and rear-wheel-drive transmission, in the 30-race series.
Goodwood favourite Plato, who won the title in 2001 for Vauxhall and again in a Chevrolet Cruze in 2010, is the BTCC’s most successful driver, with a whopping 94 wins to his name since he joined the Championship in 1997 with Renault. That’s 34 more than the next-best driver, four-time champ Andy Rouse! The 48-year-old, who won more races than anyone in 2015 aboard Team BMR’s Volkswagen CC, but narrowly missed out on a third title, has a knack for quickly turning new cars into winners and is expected to work his magic on the Subaru, too.
Turkington, also a two-time champion, with BMW in 2009 and 2014, stays with the team for which he won four races last season. The Northern Irishman returns to the rear-wheel-drive format with which he won both his titles. Proving his adaptability, the 36-time BTCC racer winner was competitive in his first season with the front-wheel-drive VW.
The British Touring Car Championship kicks off at Brands Hatch on April 3.