Factory PRC-spec Subaru begins testing in Australia

Factory-backed squad Subaru do Motorsport has began testing its new PRC-spec WRX ahead of Molly Taylor’s Australian Rally Championship title defence.

Following Taylor’s title triumph last season – which saw her become the first female winner of an Australian Rally Championship – the Subaru squad has opted to switch from Group N regulations to the Production Rally Car class for 2017.

Run by experienced Subaru team Les Walkden Racing, the car is now in its final preparations for this weekend’s season-opener in Ballarat following a successful test in Tasmania.

“We recently had a week of testing the new car down in Tasmania with the Les Walkden guys,” said Taylor.

“They’ve put in a huge amount of hours to get the new car up and running and it was very exciting for all of us to get it out on the gravel for the first time.

“We’ve made quite a few changes to the car this year, so it was an important opportunity to test everything.

“Now that we will be running under the PRC regulations, one of the things we have done is fit a sequential gearbox built by Pfitzner Performance Gearboxes. I felt a bit like a kid in a candy store! We had a great package in our Group N WRX STI last year, so it’s exciting to be able to build on this with the new car and continue our development.”

With the likes of Eli Evans (MINI Cooper) and Harry Bates (Toyota Corolla S2000) in the 50-plus car field for Ballarat, Taylor added that her and co-driver Bill Hayes aren’t expecting an easy start to their season as reigning champs.

“It’s great for our sport to have had such a close championship battle last year and I still have to pinch myself to remind me it’s actually happened, but the hard work has already begun for this year and we’re now firmly focused on Ballarat, which, as a new ARC event, represents a significant challenge for all competitors,” said Taylor.

“We’re unfamiliar with the character of the stages, which adds an extra element of excitement and demands our full concentration.”