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One-make series still on the agenda for ARC

The Subaru RS Challenge one-makes series was a big success in the early 2000s. Photo: Subaru Australia

A one-make series has sparked the interest of the Australian Rally Championship, following the successful rejuvenation of the Subaru RS Challenge in the Tasmanian Rally Championship.

Speaking to RallySport Magazine at Rally Tasmania recently, CAMS Australian Rally Championship (ARC) Manager, Justin Hunt, said that it was something that they were “looking into”.

The ARC has run a number of one-make series’ over the years, featuring cars such as the Daihatsu Charade, Toyota Corolla, Proton Satria and, most recently, the 2.5-litre non-turbo Impreza RS.

Through the support of Buckby Subaru in Launceston, a one-make series for these Impreza RS cars has again taken off, and now the ARC are seriously looking into the prospect of a one-make series for the national championship.

“We are open to ideas on what cars people would be interested in campaigning in a one-make series,” Hunt said.

“The RS series in Tasmania has been very successful, with the cars being cheap to run, and a fully prepared car able to be purchased for around $20,000.”

Selecting the right car for the ARC is not easy though, and either manufacturer support, or backing from a major sponsor, would seemingly be required for the series to get off the ground.

While it may be ‘pie in the sky’ thinking, a prize package similar to the Junior WRC would likely be needed for the series to take off.

The winner of the Junior WRC – a series run in Ford Fiesta R2 cars – receives a fully prepared Ford Fiesta R5, enabling the winner to take the next step up in the sport.

If, for example, Australia’s one-make series was in front-wheel drive Toyota Yaris’, then the winner’s prize could be a fully prepared Yaris AP4.

Bucky Subaru’s Ben Newman is a regular competitor in Tasmania’s Impreza RS one-make series. Photo: Peter Whitten

There has been talk that either a Toyota 86 or Subaru BRZ series could work well, but neither of these seem likely.

Toyota are committed to running their cars in circuit racing, and Subaru’s National Corporate Affairs and Public Relations Manager, Dave Rowley, told RallySport Mag that it’s also unlikely that we’ll see a rally version of the BRZ.

“Historically, we did, of course, have the Impreza RS series back in the noughties, which was a fruitful exercise for both the Subaru brand and competitors,” Rowley said.

“As you know, some of those cars are still doing the rounds today, which is a testament to their longevity – and Subaru engineering!

“Our commitment in the ARC has – and continues to be – All-Wheel Drive. Rallying is great for demonstrating the AWD advantage and, of course, it’s something that complements our Marketing activities, also boosted by Molly’s tremendous Ambassador appeal.

“Just like you, we‘ve heard some suggestions of a BRZ, but this isn’t backed by us.

“As always, we’re happy to consider any proposals that come our way. Of course, it’s a long way between a proposal and a commitment!” Rowley explained.

Victoria's Hyundai Excel rally series has been popular for many years. Photo: John Doutch

Victoria’s Hyundai Excel rally series has been popular for many years. Photo: John Doutch

ARC Manager Hunt also stresses that, at this stage, they are just formulating ideas, but the series has merits.

“Like we always do, we’re actively speaking with manufacturers and sponsors about our championship,” he said.

To be successful it would need to not only be affordable, but offer a worthy prize package, and support to enable competitors to get to all the qualifying rounds.

* If you have ideas on the perfect car for a one-make ARC series, contact the championship HERE.

Peter has been the editor of RallySport Magazine since its inception in 1989, in both printed and online form. He is a long-time competitor, event organiser and official, as well as working in the media.

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