When you think of Subaru and motorsports, you tend to think of rallying. But here’s the thing: while it dominated a decade or two ago, Subaru hasn’t actually competed in the top World Rally Championship since 2008. Its latest championship comes instead in touring cars.
At the final round of the highly competitive British Touring Car Championship this weekend, English driver Ashley Sutton sealed the title driving a Subaru Levorg GT.
The Subaru what-now, you ask? The Subaru Levorg. It’s basically a Legacy wagon sold in Asian, European, and other markets (but not in America, where its place is essentially taken by the Legacy sedan and Outback wagon).
Given the current Next Generation Touring Car regulations in place in the British series, the racing version is closely based on the road-going model, but with key modifications for competition duty. In accordance with the rule book (and Subaru’s way of doing things), it packs a 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer four kicking out 350 horsepower – more than you’ll find in any road-going Subie, including the WRX STI Type RA (though not quite as much as the one that set that blistering Nürburgring lap).
With support from the factory, Team BMR entered four Levorgs in last year’s championship – with former champion drivers Jason Plato and Colin Turkington behind the wheel – and won six rounds right out of the box. This year it returned with the same (now under the Adrian Flux Subaru Racing banner) and won eight rounds, which proved more than enough for young Ash Sutton to seal the championship – 21 points ahead of his nearest rival.
While it can be justifiably proud to have powered the championship-winning driver, Subaru didn’t win the manufacturers’ or teams’ titles. Those went to BMW, in whose car (a 125i M Sport) Turkington placed second in the drivers’ standings.