CHERRY HILL, N.J., Dec. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Subaru of America, Inc. announced today that it would be returning to the Rally America National Championship in the Open class with a 2-car program in 2011. Led by current Subaru Rally Team USA (SRT USA) driver Dave Mirra and joined by British seasoned rally driver David Higgins; each driver will be piloting a Subaru Impreza WRX STI prepared and fielded by technical partner Vermont SportsCar.
Higgins brings extensive rallying experience to SRT USA, most recently competing in the Chinese Rally Championship having gone on to help his team secure championship titles in 2004, 2007 and 2009. No stranger to the American rally circuit, Higgins claimed consecutive SCCA ProRally titles in 2002 and 2003 before returning to the UK and winning the 2004 British Rally National Championship. Notably, the 38 year-old driver has also won the Group N British Rally National title in 1997, 1999, and 2002. As a testament of his passion for the sport, Higgins and his family also operate a UK-based training facility, The Forest Experience Rally School.
"The first impression of any car is always very important and I felt at home in the 2011 Subaru STI from the very first mile," said Higgins. "Everyone thinks of Subaru when you talk about rally and to be racing for SRT USA is a great honor; I won my first USA SCCA ProRally Championship in 2002 with an STI. I cannot wait for the 2011 season, Rally America has a great program, and it is going to be incredibly fun and competitive."
Mirra is back and proving that he is a force to be reckoned with; earning rookie of the year honors in 2008 from Rally America, he is poised to have a breakout season with SRT USA. This year he achieved two podium finishes in three rounds of the inaugural RallyCar Rallycross series as well as a podium finish in the Rally America Olympus rally. Widely known as a pioneer in BMX Freestyle and the winningest X Games athlete in history, Mirra now has his sights on being successful rally competitor with Subaru.
As part of SRT USA's acclimatization program last week, Mirra joined new teammate Higgins for his first shakedown run of the 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car at the team's proving grounds in upstate New York. Testing footage can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EacAGUj43LU
Subaru of America has claimed titles as well, sales gains in 2010 resulted in breaking their overall sales record in November and follow successive sales growth in 2008 and 2009 which were driven by increases across the board with strong sales for Outback, Forester, and Legacy Sedan and Impreza. Sales for the brand have grown by close to 50% in just over three years and company officials expect full-year sales for 2010 to exceed 250,000 units. Also, at the 2010 LA auto show Subaru was rated the 2011 Best Retail Brand by Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com and bestowed with four residual value awards from ALG. On and off the track Subaru is on the path to success.
About Subaru Rally Team USA
Subaru Rally Team USA is proudly supported by Subaru of America, Inc., Subaru Tecnica International (STI), Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT), DC Shoes, BFGoodrich Tires, RECARO, Vision X, Alpinestars, Motul, Exedy, VP Fuels and Vermont SportsCar. For more information on Subaru Rally Team USA, as well as exclusive photo and video galleries visit subaru.com/rally or follow the team at Twitter.com/SRTUSA.
About Subaru of America, Inc.
Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of more than 600 dealers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill production plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. For additional information visit www.subaru.com.