That Subaru will return to the WRC World Rally Championship in 2022. Such rumors have been reported in various media, but it may be that Subaru’s return to WRC is not a dream.The alarm drums are real.
From Auto-sport Japan they already talk about the real possibility of Subaru’s return to the WRC series in 2020 and even provide details that speak of a model, partners and even the drivers who would be the spearhead of the project.
According Auto sport Japan Subaru began considering the return to WRC because of the 2022 regulations. From the same year, WRC will established the “Rally 1 Class” as the highest class. A new World Rally car equipped with a hybrid system will be introduced there.
At the same time, scaling is adopted for the new regulation, allowing the base vehicle body size to be changed. This broadens the range of base vehicle choices, unlike the current regulations, which are limited to the B segment.
In addition, it can be said that the new WRC cars can participate in what is called a prototype car exclusively for competition, such as adopting a tubular body shell as well as a commercially available model body shell.
The hybrid system itself is expected to have a simple structure, such as adopting a “power boost” in which the road section runs only on electricity and the motor runs simultaneously with the engine during the special stage.
Furthermore, the motors used in the hybrid system are supplied in one-make to reduce development costs. In other words, the development cost of the hybrid World Rally car in 2022 is lower than before, so it can be said that the hurdle for Subaru to return is lower.
If Subaru returns to WRC, it is reported that it will be based on the XV Hybrid. Indeed, looking at the current lineup, the XV Hybrid is a strong candidate.
The powertrain to be worried about will be a 1600cc in-line four-cylinder turbo engine, similar to current WR cars, after 2022. However, if Subaru returns, there is a high possibility that a horizontally opposed 4-cylinder turbo will be recognized as a special case.
A vertical gearbox made by Sadef used by ARA (left). Performance and reliability have already been secured in the rally race, and it is possible that drivetrain parts will be supplied by Sadev when WRC returns
One of the technically likely bottlenecks is the gearbox, which is suitable for a vertical horizontal engine. However, since the Subaru Motorsports USA has introduced the Sarifu gearbox at the WRX STI that has been introduced to the American Rally Association (ARA), it will solve this problem by being supplied by existing suppliers. It is possible enough.
However, even if Subaru’s name revives at the WRC, it is unlikely that it will compete as a “pure” works team, like the former Subaru World Rally Team (SWRT). I guess they will be participating in a “quasi” works team like Ford and M Sports.
The key player is Petter Solberg, who won 2003 WRC championship as Subaru’s ace. Petter, who retired from the top category in 2019, always says, “I have big dreams,” but that dream means returning to WRC with Subaru.
Petter has a track record of launching his own team and participating in the WRC and the World Rallycross Championship (World RX). It has also been said that people who are close can say that they can also develop WR cars, and if they work well with proven suppliers, they will be able to develop new machines.
Although some teams are reported to have contacted Subaru, it is unlikely that Subaru will partner with M-sports where Ford’s image has taken root. The Petter Solberg World Rally Team will be formed with the hard-earned Petters, and they will choose the scenario to return to WRC.
The more you dig, the better the material will come out, but others say that the likelihood of return is extremely low. Either way, the rumors of this are so whispering that we want to pay attention to Subaru’s developments.
Petter and Oliver Solberg parent and child active in ARA. Oliver is 18 years old born in 2001. He has gained experience in rallies and rallycrosses, and many people value its speed. Is It too soon that Solberg will run again in Subaru? watch the space.