Subaru is rumored to be working on a new compact hot hatchback to break back into rallycross racing.
Subaru used to be the undisputed king of rally racing. Throughout the ‘90s, Subaru took trophy after trophy thanks to their renowned WRX STI rally racer, a car whose legendary handling and power allow it to still live on today as a performance sedan.
But then things changed. Subaru started fiddling with the STI’s design, turning it into a hatchback in the late 2000s and then withdrawing from the World Rally Championship altogether. Subaru hasn’t competed in WRC competition since 2009, much to the disappointment of their many fans.
However, new rumors from Japan say that Subaru is gearing up to re-enter the WRC and do it with a brand new hot hatchback. It won’t be the WRX STI, but a brand new compact hatchback built for Europe’s B segment.
The rumor comes to us from Japanese news site Response (by way of Motor1) and tells of a small, hot hatch to take on the likes of the Ford Fiesta ST and the Volkswagen Polo GTI. Small cars are much more popular in Europe than North America, and Subaru is reportedly aiming to grab a piece of the small car pie after decades of not having a single compact car to offer.
Response says that Subaru is trying to have their new hot hatchback ready for the 2020 WRC season, which sounds like an insanely fast time to build a new car from scratch. Even a small car takes years of development, and then making it into a rally racer will take even longer.
The only way that Subaru could have a car ready in less than two years is if they’ve done a very good job of keeping a secret compact car under wraps or they’re just going to re-badge a Toyota Yaris.
Motor1 reports that Toyota is really pushing their little brother Subaru to get back into the WRC. Toyota returned to rally racing in 2017 after a nearly two-decade absence, and they need someone else to race against. We’ll have to wait and see if Subaru can produce a car at the speed Toyota wants.