Subaru will continue its factory involvement in the Australian Rally Championship, with reigning champion Molly Taylor signed on for another season.
Taylor made history last year when she became the first woman to win an ARC title, her and co-driver Bill Hayes triumphing in a three-way battle with Simon Evans and Harry Bates that went down to the final round in Coffs Harbour.
Taylor will now have the opportunity to defend her title, Subaru confirming that it will continue with its Australia rallying programme for the 2017 season. However this time around she will run in the Production Rally Car class, rather than Group N, with a new WRX STI currently being prepared by Les Walkden Rallying.
“After the excitement and achievement of 2016, we’re keen to take up where we left off,” said Subaru Australia’s managing director Colin Christie.
“Molly is a great Ambassador for Subaru and we’re humbled by the amount of attention she’s gained, especially with the young audience, where she’s an inspirational role model and has attracted attention way beyond the core rally audience.
“By going to the PRC class we can give Molly and Bill a little more leeway in the new car’s performance, while retaining the essential Subaru WRX STI ingredients of turbocharged Boxer engine and All-Wheel Drive.
“From what we hear, the competition may well be more intense this year, so we want to give the team every opportunity to repeat their success – which means it’ll be an even more exciting championship for rally fans!”
Taylor added that she plans on going into the new season more focussed than ever.
“The excitement of our championship win still hasn’t subsided, but I’ve certainly learned and grown as a driver a huge amount over the past year,” she said.
“Having a year under my belt as a factory team driver has taught me a lot more about focusing, which has really helped me improve.
“It’s a very motivating environment working with LWR and Subaru. Together, we’re very much invested in winning.
“One of my key learnings from last year is the importance of the ‘one percenters’, keeping that attention to detail and improving every area, no matter how small, so that we’re always in the best possible position.”
The 2017 ARC season kicks off next month with the Eureka Rally in rural Victoria, before the Forest Rally in Western Australia, the International Rally of Queensland, Rally SA near Adelaide, the National Capital Rally in Canberra, and Rally Australia.