Subaru calls for more teams to join ARA

Ahead of the debut of its new car, VSC owner Lance Smith says he misses close competition of 2022


Lance Smith, owner of Vermont SportsCar which runs Subaru Motorsports USA’s rally program, has called for teams to come and compete in America and push it for victory.

Aside from Barry McKenna’s 2020 success, Subaru has won every single title in the US since 2011 with drivers David Higgins, Travis Pastrana and Brandon Semenuk who recently wrapped up his second consecutive title.

The past few seasons in America have however been competitive with McKenna and the late Ken Block both bringing adapted World Rally Cars to the American Rally Association and pushing Subaru very hard for the title.

Last year was particularly close as Subaru was forced to dig deeper than ever before, developing a more aggressive aerodynamic package for its WRX STI – despite the build of its all-new WRX soon set to begin – just to keep up with Block’s Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC.

But in a bid to control costs and try to close the gap between Open 4WD and RC2 class cars, the ARA’s rules were tweaked this season and haven’t had the desired effect as Semenuk and Subaru have dominated.

Semenuk hasn’t been beaten to a stage win, let alone a rally victory, since March and is widely expected to keep that run going and deliver a debut win for Subaru’s new car alongside co-driver Keaton Williams on this weekend’s Ojibwe Forests Rally.

Smith is “very confident” the new car can build on Subaru’s sustained Stateside success, but is craving the challenge of competition it had last year.

“We want competition, that’s our goal,” Smith told DirtFish.

“We can go out and win, we’ve done that, but our goal is to have fair and honest competition and we want people to come up and beat us. That’s the excitement.

“So winning isn’t the goal, messaging is the goal. We would like to get in there and have a good battle.

“I think a year ago we had a rally where it was 0.9 seconds [that decided it] – that’s what we want.

“That’s what we’re looking for, the difference between winning and losing.”