We don’t have a lot of information to go on, but sometimes you’ve just gotta run with what you have. At least when we’re talking about something as significant as a new ‘Impreza’, built by Prodrive, the company founded by the force of nature that is David Richards. Prodrive and Subaru had already won the World Rally Championship constructors’ and drivers’ titles in 1995 – and two more constructors’ titles came in the subsequent two years – but it’s 25 years since its debut triumph with the Subaru Impreza World Rally Car (WRC). The new Prodrive P25 is the celebration of that success.
Prodrive began its iconic association with Subaru in 1990, when it was contracted to develop the Legacy for Group A. However, the team realised that a smaller, more agile car would be a better grounding for success and set about creating its successor. The Impreza was 160mm shorter overall, the wheelbase was reduced by 60 mm, and the weight distribution was more evenly spread. And it included active differentials, which was a first for a rally car. The Impreza’s first outing was at the 1993 1000 Lakes Rally, and Ari Vatanen proved the formula with second place. We all know that wasn’t the end of the story, though.
Colin McRae also joined Prodrive in 1993 and claimed the team’s first victory when he won the Rally of New Zealand – still driving the old Legacy at that point. In 1995 he took the driver’s title in the Impreza 555 and Subaru and Prodrive its first manufacturers’ title. For 1997 Group A had been replaced by the World Rally Car, with no requirement for a homologation special to compete; cars like the 22B were a celebration of success, rather than a requirement for it.
The P25 isn’t simply a recreation of the 22B, though. It’s bringing new tech to improve the formula. It will have a 2.5-litre flat-four boxer producing ‘in excess of 400hp’ and a six-speed semi-automatic paddle-shift gearbox. It will also be lighter than the original, thanks to ‘extensive use of carbon fibre’ in its lightweight chassis.
Peter Stevens has styled the P25, and he was the man who styled the original Impreza WRC. Meanwhile, Prodrive’s straight-talking R&D Director, David Lapworth, is overseeing the engineering side. Lapworth, in a previous stint at Prodrive, was responsible for the original Impreza WRC. This means that the P25’s evolution is backed by an authentic pedigree.
However, the idea for the P25 came from Richards himself. He said: “The original 22B Impreza is considered the most iconic of Subarus and highly sought after. We wanted to enhance everything that made that car so special by applying the very latest technology to create our own modern interpretation of a car that’s established a place in motoring history.”
As the name alludes to, there will only be 25 P25s made at Prodrive’s headquarters next to the M40 near Banbury. The P25 will make its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in June, and the first cars will be delivered to owners later in the year. If you’re keen, then be quick - Prodrive is accepting 'expressions of interest’ now...
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