History of Subaru Rally Team USA

2/27/2018
15.1

Subaru Rally Team USA has a long and accomplished history of competition. 

From the intro of the FF-1 to Travis Pastrana’s standout victories, Subaru and rally go hand in hand.

1971

A year after the model FF-1 is introduced in Japan, it races in the Baja 500, sponsored by a California dealership and co-built by Noriyuki Koseki. The FF-1 is the marque’s first front-wheel drive car and also the first with a SUBARU BOXER engine.

1972

Koseki, who worked for Subaru parent company Fuji Heavy Industries, Inc., returned to compete in the Baja 500 in a Subaru GL Coupe built for rallies.

1973

Koseki races once again in the Baja 500, then returns to Japan to further develop Subaru rally presence, eventually founding Subaru Rally Team Japan. This also marks the year that the FF-1 last ran the Baja 500.

1978

California rally driver Chad DiMarco enters his first rally race.

1980

Subaru of America introduces Turbo Traction.

Subaru introduced Turbo Traction in 1980.
Subaru introduced Turbo Traction in 1980.

1980s

Koseki continues to race in Japan, his primary vehicle being a Subaru Leone RX Turbo, which was not available in the U.S. market. Chad DiMarco continues to notch success for Subaru in U.S. rallies.

1986

DiMarco leads Subaru to the rally podium six times and, finishing second in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, lands Rookie of the Year honors.

1990

DiMarco enters a Subaru RX in Michigan’s Press on Regardless (POR) Rally, finishing 9th, while Subaru fields its first entry in the World Rally Championship (WRC) in Kenya.

1991

Driving a Legacy, DiMarco wins the POR Rally. 

In 1991, Chad DiMarco and Eric Hauge win the POR Rally in a Legacy.
In 1991, Chad DiMarco and Eric Hauge win the POR Rally in a Legacy. Photo: Tracksidephoto.com

1995

Seattle-area driver Paul Eklund creates his famous Impreza USX, the first of its kind in the country with a turbocharged engine. (He dropped a Legacy turbo into an Impreza.) Eklund becomes a grassroots Subaru racing hero, and he races to this day.

2000

Subaru Rally Team USA (SRTUSA) launches, and – just a year later – captures the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) ProRally Championship.

2004

Motorsports legend and multiple X Games® gold medalist Travis Pastrana begins his rally career with SRTUSA-backed Vermont SportsCar.

2006 

Pastrana wins first of four consecutive national rally titles.

Travis Pastrana starts his championship streak for Subaru in 2006.
Travis Pastrana starts his championship streak for Subaru in 2006. Photo: Lars Gange

2009

Subaru Rally Team USA claims its fifth championship

2014

After a brief hiatus, Pastrana returns to rally full-time.

2017

Subaru enters its first factory-backed car at the Baja 500; Pastrana and co-driver Robbie Durant edge SRTUSA teammates David Higgins and co-driver Craig Drew to win American Rally Association (ARA) Championship Title.

The first factory-backed Subaru arrives at the Baja 500 in 2017.
The first factory-backed Subaru arrives at the Baja 500 in 2017. Photo: Mad Media