More and more former racing cars are being auctioned off. A Subaru Impreza WRC should also change hands on February 24 in Stoneleigh, England. Rally legend Colin McRae drove the Impreza in the 1997 Monte Carlo Rally. But no buyer was found for the Subaru.
The history of the World Rally Championship has not only produced legendary drivers but also iconic cars. The vehicle offered by Silverstone Auctions is definitely one of them. Still, on February 24, no one was ready to put the 1997 Subaru Impreza WRC in their garage. Interested parties can still buy the Japanese for £379,500 on the auction house's website. That corresponds to around 430,000 euros.
At the start of the 1997 World Rally Championship season, rally legend Colin McRae was at the wheel of the blue all-wheel drive vehicle. However, the "Monte" was not successful for McRae: The world champion had an accident with his co-driver Nicky Grist and had to give up the rally. It was won by his Italian teammate Piero Liatti, who also drove a Subaru Impreza WRC 97. The triumph remained Liatti's only victory in a world championship race.
Impreza for private rallies
It was the only world championship race for the car to be upgraded. From 1998 to 2000 the Subaru had to do its services for private drivers. According to Silverstone Auctions, the blue Impreza won the Hungarian Rally Championship in 1998 and 1999. After that, the busy life went on for the Japanese. In the UK, the car changed hands several times in the early 2000s. Since 2004 it has remained with the current owner to this day.
The Impreza was regularly used in races from 2005 to 2007. After that, life became quieter for the Subaru until 2015. He returned to gravel and asphalt tracks for individual events and shows. The Impreza made its last public appearance in 2020.
Engine and transmission overhauled
Stan Harper converted the vehicle to right-hand drive for rallies in Great Britain. That takes away some of the charm of the World Cup car, after all it was left-hand drive from birth. However, the Japanese could be retrofitted if desired, as Silverstone Auctions indicates. The condition of the Impreza is said to be technically excellent. The British company Autosportif overhauled the engine and transmission of the Subaru a few hundred kilometers ago.
Despite the good condition, the estimated sum seems high. Silverstone Auctions puts the guide value at between £340,000 and £380,000. That's the equivalent of more than 380,000 to 430,000 euros. A lot of money for a right-hand drive rally Impreza.
But the name Colin McRae should be responsible for part of the high sum in this context. After all, many motorsport and car fans associate the Scot with rallying in the 1990s.His aggressive driving style and black humor made the Scotsman, who died in a helicopter crash in 2007, a fan favourite.
WRC replaces Group A
The Subaru itself was the first Impreza based on the new World Rally Car formula in the world championship, which came into effect in 1997. The racing cars were an evolution of the previous Group A cars. They were based on production vehicles, of which the manufacturers had built at least 2,500 cars. Compared to Group A, however, they did not have to produce any special models in order to homologate them for the world championship. For example, a WRC car could have a turbocharger or all-wheel drive, even if these technical details did not exist in the series.
In order for the racing cars to comply with the regulations, the manufacturers were allowed to adapt their cars. Displacement was limited to two liters, the drivers switched the sequential transmission using paddles on the steering wheel, all-wheel drive was mandatory and the manufacturers were able to install various aerodynamic add-on parts. The minimum weight was 1,230 kilograms. The turbocharger had an anti-lag system. This prevents the turbocharger from slowing down and allows no turbo lag.
The Subaru is considered one of the pioneers of WRC cars. Its history, the iconic blue with yellow accents and golden rims make the hearts of rally lovers and Colin McRae fans beat faster.
At the end of February, the Subaru Impreza WRC 97 was up for auction in Stoneleigh, England - and found no new owner. The high price of more than 430,000 euros should have deterred interested parties. Colin McRae's ex-racer took part in the 1997 Monte Carlo Rally and was the first WRC-based Impreza.