Richard Burns: 2001 World Rally champion and famed for being one of the smoothest and most methodical drivers of his time, which just happened to be one of the WRC’s most fondly-remembered eras.
From 1999 to 2001, Burns was part of the Prodrive-run Subaru World Rally Team, piloting the Impreza WRC to outright victory in the 2011 championship before leaving for Peugeot.
His time at Subaru made him part of the elite band of drivers to have competed in one of the most iconic rally cars ever – and one of only three drivers to win WRC titles in the Impreza, along with Colin McRae and Petter Solberg.
DirtFish owner and rally fan, Steve Rimmer, has acquired one amazing collection of legendary rally cars over the years and it includes a beautiful ‘World Rally Blue’ 1999 Subaru Impreza S5 WRC99 in the classic livery synonymous with Subaru’s WRC heyday.
Built by Prodrive in the UK, this particular car was never actually used in competition. Instead it was a gift to Burns as a “congrats and thanks” for winning the 2001 WRC drivers’ title.
Sadly, he only owned the car for about two years before his brave battle with brain cancer came to an end.
After Burns’ passing in 2005, the car became a part of his estate. The ownership of the estate was then transferred to the Richard Burns Foundation, which was set up by a group of Burns’ closest friends and colleagues with the goal of helping people who are affected by serious illnesses and injuries.
Rimmer purchased the car from the Foundation, giving it liquidity that helped fund and establish the gifts it awards and allowing it to hire staff to raise further funds.
This meticulously prepared Subaru Impreza S5 WRC99 was built to the same specifications as the car Burns piloted in the WRC and is very well equipped, even by today’s standards.
The engine that helps propel the car’s 2700 lbs is the quintessential EJ20 boxer engine still found in Subarus today. The engine block and heads are milled from aluminum, each cylinder has 4 valves and the cars is equipped with an IHI turbocharger, producing 300 BHP at 5500 rpm and a massive 480 lbs/ft of torque at 4000 rpm. In laymen’s terms; this is one quick car with phenomenal acceleration.
The drivetrain is very similar to what would be found in today’s top-level rally cars: it has a Prodrive 6-speed sequential gearbox with computer-controlled hydraulic front, rear and center differentials.
The Prodrive XTC McPherson struts and shock absorbers, at the time, were the best that money could buy and helped spawn the technology you see in not only rally cars today, but everyday road-going cars as well.
With the speed and cornering covered, Prodrive didn’t skimp on the braking system either and equipped it with 4-pot AP Racing calipers and vented rotors.
Although this car has never actually competed on a rally stage, it is an important car in modern rally history and a testament to three rally icons; Richard Burns, Subaru and Prodrive.
Through the years it has aided in continuing Burns’ legacy through the foundation created in his name by helping people afflicted with serious illnesses and injuries.