Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team to Make 2013 Debut at X Games Barcelona
Fans of the Subaru PUMA Rallycross team will have plenty of reason to smile this weekend, as the three-car team makes its return to Global Rallycross at X Games Barcelona.
Drivers Sverre Isachsen, Dave Mirra, and Bucky Lasek will all return to the team after a 2012 season that saw the team focus on car development. Subaru finished third in manufacturer’s points, while three-time European champion Isachsen scored a podium finish at Las Vegas in September.
In advance of their return to rallycross competition, all three drivers sat down to talk about the 2013 season:
Last year was a development year for the car and team. What were some of the most important things you learned about racing in Global Rallycross over the course of that season?
Bucky Lasek, Driver, #81: Rallycross definitely takes a bit more of an aggressive driving style. The thing that sticks out the most is how quickly you have to adapt and learn the tracks with so little practice.
Dave Mirra, Driver, #40: Throughout the season last year I learned it really came down to a bit of luck plus having a reliable rallycross car to win. Every race is so unpredictable.
Sverre Isachsen, Driver, #11: One of the most important things for me was to learn the American tracks. They’re quite different from the ones we drive in Europe, which are permanent rallycross tracks. The ones in the US are mainly built on the front stretch on NASCAR speedways and that was something different, but very fun. It also took some time to learn a new car, after several seasons with another one in Europe. But we showed some really good pace in the last races, and the testing this winter has also been very encouraging.
How much testing have you been able to do in the offseason? How much different does this year’s car feel from last year’s?
Mirra: The team has been working non-stop on the cars in the off-season and we got to test the cars prior to Barcelona a few weeks ago. So far it feels strong, really strong with some big improvements.
Lasek: I tested our new Subaru just prior to it shipping it off to Barcelona. The car is completely rebuilt and received major changes in the off-season. It feels very different, in a great way, along with being stronger and more reliable.
Isachsen: I had a very good test prior to Barcelona and the car feels better than last year’s. The team has done a fantastic job this winter, and the car is better in every area.
With the greater amount of dirt on the circuit this year, will the car require significant adjustments? Do you have to alter your driving style for the different tracks?
Isachsen: Dirt is what I’m used to from the European circuits, so I look forward to more dirt this season. Of course we will have to adjust the car a bit, but what we do is top secret. Every track requires a special driving style. In rallycross you tend to be aggressive, but it’s better to be more smooth when there’s more tarmac.
Lasek: I think the dirt will benefit the Subaru due to our longer wheelbase and setup. Much improved suspension is one of the new changes our team cars all received in the off-season so we will be adjusting setups a bit, but that is a normal thing when we prepare for all the different tracks.
Mirra: I’m really excited about the amount of dirt. I’ve done four years of stage rally (with Subaru Rally Team USA) so that can be an advantage for me going into my first race of the season. The only downside is the possibility of dust.
Check back tomorrow for the second part of our exclusive interview with the Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team.