Team BMR Announce Subaru Departure

Ash Sutton won his 2017 title in a Subaru Levorg. Image thanks to BTCC / Jakob Ebrey.

There will be no factory Subaru presence in the BTCC from 2020, Team BMR have confirmed. Subaru, who made their BTCC debut at the start of the 2016 season bow out of the BTCC with their challenger the Subaru Levorg one of the most successful cars in recent years. The marque’s deal with Team BMR ran for an initial three-year period (2016-2018) with an option for a fourth (2019).

The Subaru Levorg, which won 21 races and scored 55 podium finishes in its four-year factory run is the fifth most successful car of the NGCT era and carried Ash Sutton to the 2017 drivers title. Despite the Levorg’s success, Subaru were never able to secure the manufacturer’s crown with a 2nd place finish in 2017 their best result.

Whilst the car was often among the fastest, straight-line speed issues plagued the Levorg in 2019 and after winning six races in 2018, Ash Sutton won just once this season in race 29 at Brands Hatch GP. Sutton and teammate Senna Proctor finished the season 8th and 20th in the driver’s standings. Subaru would end the year 4th in the manufacturer standings.

Staff at both Team BMR and Subaru UK alluded that changes to technical regulations have contributed to the brand’s departure from the series. Technical changes mean that it is only possible to flat-four-style boxer powerplant, and aerodynamic rule changes mean that the estate-shaped Levorg is at a disadvantage compared to some of the smaller cars.

Straight-line speed was one of the Levorg’s biggest issues in 2019. Image thanks to BTCC / Jakob Ebrey.

Team BMR boss Warren Scott told the team website “It has been an absolute pleasure to represent Subaru UK over the past four seasons in the BTCC. We are all very disappointed that it has come to an end. The results, particularly in 2017, show for themselves that the Levorg was a superb machine and all of us at BMR are proud of the success we achieved for the Subaru brand.”

Paul Tunnicliffe of Subaru acknowledged the troubles the team faced over a tough 2019 campaign but expressed his pride in the Subaru BTCC program. “2019 will live in the memory as a campaign that fell short of expectation. Bad luck, along with lack of straight-line speed, plagued us throughout. Sadly, we have to accept that amendments on rulings mean that the Subaru Levorg may have raced for the last time. The car’s uniqueness brought something unconventional to the grid, which we think connected with people – certainly, there was never any shortage of Subaru road cars in all the car parks.”

Team BMR are expected to confirm their plans for 2020 in the near future.

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