Well, it’s official Subaru has dropped out of the FIA World Rally Championship. Citing the global meltdown of car sales, Subaru said so long to a motorsport in which they were successful in the past, but not so much in the present, with the late Colin McRae and the late Richard Burns bringing home the championships. This departure, of course, leaves David Richards of ProDrive with little to do, except run the Le Mans GT1 team. Perhaps this will clear some bandwidth for him to return to Formula 1 by buying the very team he used to manage in the old BAR days.
This isn’t all of it, however. Subaru isn’t the only team to leave WRC. Suzuki has left town as well, citing the same economic reasoning. Frankly, Suzuki was a non-factor in WRC so I won’t shed any tears over their departure.
So this leaves Citroen and Ford as the only manufacturer teams to remain in WRC. Mitsubishi left a while ago. Peugeot left a couple of seasons ago. Seat did the same. And now Subaru. I certainly hope all this “departing” will not damage the series so much that it will crash and burn the whole thing.
But wait… THERE’S MORE! Both Audi and Porsche have announced that they are pulling out of the American Le Mans Series. Although both were incredibly successful in their respective classes (LMP1 and LMP2), no reasons were officially cited for the pullout.
I suspect that there will be other manufacturers to follow the long list of these escapees – Honda, Subaru, Suzuki, Porsche, Audi… Expect one of the Detroit 3 to pull out of NASCAR. If you want to trim the budget, racing seems to be the first to go. And with GM, Ford and Chrysler in a ton of trouble, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit.