16 Nov 2019
Subaru of America’s motorsports manager William Stokes has said that the brand remains committed to rallycross, despite the demise of Americas Rallycross.
IMG confirmed the end of ARX after just two seasons in a statement issued on Friday, leaving top-level rallycross’ future in North America in doubt for the second time in three years.
“Subaru and Vermont Sports Car are disappointed that ARX will be not be running a series in 2020, especially just after securing the ARX team championship, but we recognise that IMG has the right to discontinue the series based on their own business needs,” Stokes said in an exclusive interview with DominikWilde.com.
“We were excited to be a founding partner of ARX and appreciated the professionalism that IMG brought to the table during our two years working together – including the significant effort their management team put into building permanent rallycross tracks here in the US – but ultimately it seems they weren’t able to secure the level of sponsor support they needed to continue.”
Despite the end of ARX, which comes 18 months after Global Rallycross ceased operations, Stokes is positive about the future of rallycross in North America and Subaru of America’s continued involvement in the discipline.
“There’s still a major opportunity for rallycross in America, and we’ve had several conversations with the other players in the sport over the past few months about where it can go in the future,” he said. “The highlight of the season the past two years has been the Nitro Rallycross event, which takes rallycross to a level that no one has tried before, and the fan response has been huge, so we see an appetite for rallycross here in America that hasn’t been fully tapped.”
“It’s an incredibly exciting sport with a ton of potential, and this is a chance for the right people to get involved and create something new,” he added. “Even with ARX folding, we feel good about the sport’s future overall and we expect to be competing in rallycross in 2020.”
Stokes also confirmed that as well as a continued rallycross involvement in 2020, Subaru would again be competing in rallying and working on other high-profile projects in partnership with Vermont Sports Car.
“Subaru is still committed to rally and rallycross, and we have some exciting plans in the works for both in 2020,” he said. “The cars we’ve built and the Vermont SportsCar facility itself are all designed to be versatile and adaptable to lots of different needs – rally, rallycross, hillclimbs, stunts, and more – so we expect to have plenty of opportunities to use them in 2020.”
“We’re not ready to talk about all our plans yet but they’re coming together now, and our fans are going to have plenty to be excited about for next year.”