The Origins series has followed the history of Subaru of America, Inc. involvement in American rally through the 2010 season. Part 9 finishes the series by bringing you up to date.
At the end of 2010, Travis Pastrana announced that he was switching from rally driving to NASCAR for the 2011 season. Subaru Rally Team USA (SRT USA) looked across the Atlantic and hired David Higgins as his replacement.
Higgins had previous experience in United States, having won the Sports Car Club of America ProRally Championship in 2002 and 2003. He won the British Rally Championship in 2004. Also, Higgins had been hired by Vermont SportsCar to help train Pastrana when he first was “discovered” back in 2003. Higgins was a natural choice for the team as it looked to retake the Rally America National Championship title for Subaru.
For the second year in a row, the Rally America season consisted of six rounds. Nevertheless, this did not mean there would be less work for SRT USA because there was a new adventure awaiting the major teams. Global RallyCross, a newly formed organization, planned on putting on three rounds of genuine rallycross that would lead to the rallycross event at X Games 17 in the summer.
The varied competition and their respective rules and regulations meant Vermont SportsCar had to build a different car for the rallycross events while maintaining the rally cars during the same period. In rallycross trim, the team-prepared 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI produced in excess of 550 horsepower and had a sequential dogbox transmission. Aside from numerous suspension changes, the radiator was mounted in the rear to shield it from mud and debris.