News>>manufactures Drop Works Programmes

As everyone knows, there are very tough economic times around the world and everyone has to cut-back. Motorsport is seen by many companies as a great marketing and sponsorship resource, but also as a luxury. If a company has to made thousands of workers redundant, then its hard to justify a million dollar motorsport programme.

Sadly for motorsport fans, that has been regular news for the last couple of weeks. Earlier today, Subaru followed Suzuki, by announcing their withdrawal from the FiA World Rally Championship. Subaru has cited the financial crisis as the main reason for the pull-out, but I suspect the FiA's decision to drop the 'WRC' class car and replace it with a 'S2000+' cateogory affected their decision.

Subaru and Prodrive have struggled over the last couple of years, but Subaru have indicated they will be back. Prodrive, the team, which ran Subaru's WRC programme will continue to run Subaru customer programmes. Ford and Citroen appear committed to the WRC.

There is also uncertaintly with one of Prodrive's other projects, Aston Martin Racing. Its unclear how much racing Aston Martin will participate in next year. Le Mans with the Lola Coupe maybe the only outing.

Just down the road from Prodrive, the Brackley workforce of Honda F1 were called to a special meeting a couple of weeks ago, to be told that Honda were immediately pulling out of Formula 1. The team is up for sale and Honda will fund the team until March, providing discussions with buyers are in discussions by Christmas. Its sad for the sport, but its also sad for the employees and the families.

Motorsport personnel put in excessive extra hours, for the love of their sport, at the expense of family time, so its a tough blow for anyone when this happens.

Over in North America, Audi and Penske-Porsche have both withdrawn from the American Le Mans Series. Penske, with their Porsche programme has been expected for months, but Audi was a surprise. Audi Sport North America (aka Champion Racing) personnel were told a couple of weeks ago, that their outfit would be closing.

The BK-Racing Mazda team is also no-more. A number of smaller teams have also pulled out of next years championship. Audi have also pulled out of the European Le Mans Series.

Tough times all-round.

Spare a thought for anyone who has lost their job during this crisis and lets hope things pick up next year.

-Andy Blackmore

Images:, Honda,Audi, Porsche



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I thought Audi only pulled out of the American series, must have misread somewhere. In wich race series are they going to campaign the new R15?


As tough as it sounds.

The economy, the crisis, the teams' budget are not the only downfall.....

Darwin's law: the toughest will survive.

Good luck to Subaru.


Only Le Mans and Sebring for the R15...


I thought that the FIA's switch to S2000 was supposed to cut back on costs dramatically. Shouldn't this have helped Subaru to STAY? Damn shame, as I was hoping for even more mfg participation next season. Now we get to see a bunch of cars that don't even exist here slang gravel in places that don't exist here. YTF does Mexico get a race and we don't? anyone down to pretend like mexicans and hit the wrc race? LOL


Sad times for motorsports people. I am glad I made it to a bunch of races last season because it sounds like next season is going to be slim.


Jeroen - Audi have pulled out of LMS as well, As Rod says, only Sebring and Le Mans.


Autonerd - S2000 will cut costs (not that its cheap), but for Subaru, it means they have to build a new car, so in the short term, it is expensive. Also, Its actually S2000+ which means its a variation of S2000 (which you see on track) but with bodykit etc etc . I suspect the reason Mexico gets a rally is to do with their national body and TV figures.


its only cheap once you have built a car. If you built a WRC spec car from scratch for 2008, then the new rules are expensive!


everyone should just join D1 and FD. Its probably peanuts to run there compared to what they spend on the big time races.


Honda also pulled out of AMA superbike


@ AUTONERD: Super 2000 class cars restricts engine size to 2.0L and run N/A. Since Subaru uses F/I, they would have to spend more money into development of a competitive N/A motor. That is my opinion on why they pulled out neway....


You dont need prodrives full efforts to to run s2000+ cars a pair of ferrari or even aston martin powered Formula ones how does that sound worthy of some of pro drives efforts?


the guys who own peugot/citreon may be buying honda's f1 team, since it waas on sale before they dropped out.


PSA have denied that story xillentz. It wouldnt surprise me if Prodrive end up with the Honda F1 team.


Very doubtful that Prodrive will buy out Honda team. They don't have the money to set up a good solid F1 vehicle. And Honda F1's sucked bad.


I have a good friend who works at Prodrive, and he doesn't seem to think Prodrive will buy Honda F1. But this was before Subaru dropped out of the WRC so who knows. And Acura is still running a brand new LMP1 car for this whole season, so not all hope is lost. And Aston Martin Racing is also still busy with the GT2 cars that they have started building and selling. I'm just glad the guy who funds our race cars is a heart surgeon. As long as people have hearts our team seems to be safe.


Thank you for reporting on this guys


As always, thanks for the insight Andy. I hate that Mitsu and Subie won't be in WRC next season.. not only because it narrows the field but also it's going to hurt even more the U.S. following.. which lessons even more the chance of a future US venue to attend. who knows, maybe the economy will get so bad that some day you'll be flying to the US to cover dirt oval racin! LOL (jeez we suck as a nation some times)