Subaru’s first serious campaign in rallying came in 1989, with the launch of Subaru Technica International and the involvement of Prodrive, which led to the creation of the Group A Subaru Legacy RS rally car. The Legacy was powered by a longitudinally mounted boxer engine, which despite having the benefit of a low centre of gravity, ultimately lacked power and suffered from repeated drive train issues. Prodrive worked on the car over the next few years, but the problems took a long while to sort resulting in the car’s sole win ironically coming on its last outing.
Prodrive’s experience of building rally cars told them that the way forward was a smaller, more agile car and work on a Group A Impreza rally car began. This car appeared towards the end of 1993 and had a more neutral front/rear weight distribution and featured active differentials. The car’s first outing was on the 1000 Lakes Rally and in the hands of Ari Vatanen finished 2nd overall.
In 1997 the FIA changed the regulations of rallying, with Group A being replaced with World Rally Car. These changes gave teams much greater freedom in terms of construction design and materials. This new freedom led Prodrive to totally redesign the car, launching the WRC97, which featured modified camshafts, cylinder ports and combustion chambers which saw increases in both power and torque.
In 1998 the Impreza WRC98 replaced the 97 and saw the introduction of computer controlled active front, centre and rear differentials, and an electronic throttle. Not perhaps surprisingly mechanical failures were common, which prevented the team from challenging for the world title.
Was campaigned by Colin McRae and Nicky Grist on three events in 1997, the Acropolis, the 1000 Lakes and finally the Network Q RAC rally an event he won and in so doing helped Subaru secure their third manufacturers’ title in succession and elevating Colin to second in world rankings just one point behind Tommi Makinen. This would also be Colin McRae’s last Rally GB win and Subaru’s last manufactures title.
In 1998 this car was used as part of the Prodrive “Allstars” team driven by Krzysztof Holowczyc in Raid Polski and Network Q, and by Gregoire DeMevius in Ypres and San Remo and finally by Emmanuel Katto in Safari 1999.
P12WRC was then sold to a customer in Sweden before ending up in Ireland, where it was subsequently purchased by its current owner and restored to its original factory specification by Subaru specialists Autosportif.
Engine : Turbo Charged, Fuel Injected, 4 Cylinder, DOHC, 16V 2ltr,
Power : 300 BHP +