MAK­ING A LAST­ING IM­PRES­SION

Motor Sport News - - Btcc Preview: Subaru - Photos: Jakob Ebrey and Cap­tain Carl Faux Matt Burt

Paul Tun­ni­cliffe, manag­ing di­rec­tor of Subaru im­porter IM Group, be­lieves re­turn­ing to the BTCC was a chance to re­align the brand in the pub­lic’s per­cep­tion and show how it has de­vel­oped.

Most mo­tor­sport fans think of ral­ly­ing when they think of Subaru, but this is an op­por­tu­nity for the brand to write an en­tirely new chap­ter in its his­tory.

“Subaru was once all about blue cars, gold wheels and big spoil­ers and that was great while it lasted, but those days are long gone, killed by CO2 emis­sions and tax­a­tion, among other things,” says Tun­ni­cliffe. “Team BMR orig­i­nally sug­gested build­ing a project around the WRX STI, but that didn’t ap­peal to us. It would have been easy for Subaru to fol­low the lead of Ford and Honda and en­ter with its per­for­mance model, but that’s not re­ally what we’re about. SUVS and es­tates dom­i­nate our sales these days, and that’s what we need to pub­li­cise. We sug­gested the Levorg in­stead. Team BMR took a road car away, drove it, an­a­lysed it and came back to us to say they be­lieved it would work well.

“It is a ter­rif­i­cally low-cost way to get the kind of TV ex­po­sure that would nor­mally cost us much, much more. I’ve been de­lighted with the re­ac­tion since we an­nounced the deal and ev­ery­one seems very ex­cited about hav­ing the Levorg in the cham­pi­onship.

“It is all about aware­ness. We’re a tiny brand in com­par­i­son to some of our ri­vals and we need to get on peo­ple’s radars. If some­one buys a Forester in­stead of, say, a Honda CR-V off the back of see­ing our cars in­volved in the BTCC, that’s a fan­tas­tic re­sult.”

Rear body­work will help gen­er­ate grip

Turk­ing­ton will han­dle one of the RWD Subarus

Subaru has a strong her­itage thanks to suc­cess in ral­ly­ing

Tun­ni­cliffe is a BTCC fan

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