Subaru Impreza WRC – The Autobiography of P8 WRC

Subaru Impreza 300-301 page spread

Available in bookshops next week, this new book, written by Ian Wagstaff, tells the story and documents the restoration of Colin McRae’s iconic 1997 Safari Rally-winning Subaru Impreza – P8 WRC, taking the reader from the dust and heat of Kenya right through to how the car has undertaken an extensive full restoration by Prodrive to its original Safari specification, which was completed just last year.

This is the 17th in the acclaimed Great Cars series from specialist motoring book publisher Porter Press International and is a must-read for any rally enthusiast.

Beginning in the early 90s, the familiar iconic factory blue and yellow Subaru Imprezas went far beyond their limits in the world of rallying, laying down the gauntlet as the cars competed for the top honours in the World Rally Championship for over a decade between 1993 to 2005.

P8 WRC 20-21 page spread

The Subaru Imprezas were developed and run by David Richards’s Banbury based Prodrive motorsports company, specialists in British motorsports and advanced engineering, and who were successful in taking three consecutive manufacturers’ titles and were the cars of Britain’s only two World Rally Champions, Colin McRae and Richard Burns, as well as Norwegian Champion, Petter Solberg. Although there were many notable victories for the Imprezas, the one that perhaps stands out most, is McRae’s win in the 1997 Safari Rally in Kenya which was achieved against the odds, as it was thought that the all-out temperament of McRae was ill-suited to the demands of the event, which traditionally demanded guile and patience. This was proved wrong however, when McRae went on to win the event in emphatic style alongside navigator Nicky Grist.

The Subaru Impreza that McRae drove in Kenya was registered P8 WRC and was the car’s debut event. It was however only ever used twice more by the factory, in Argentina, where McRae finished second and in Indonesia, where he dominated before crashing out.

Author, Ian Wagstaff began his career working for Motor Sport and Motoring News before he become Press and Promotions Manager at Silverstone Circuit. He then went on to be an editor in the trade press, and since 1986 has been working freelance writing for the motor-racing press as well as automotive trade and business publications.

P8 WRC 114-115 page spread

Wagstaff has won a number of awards and is twice winner of the Guild of Motoring Writers Montagu of Beaulieu Trophy for his books. He is also a previous winner of the Motorworld Book Prize (Motorsport category) for his first book in the Porter Press Great Cars series which covered the story of the 1970 Le Mans-winning Porsche 917.

Following the 1997 season, P8 WRC left Prodrive passing into private hands where it continued to compete in national and local rallies for many years, albeit with extensive changes to the car’s original Safari configuration.

The book looks at the design and development of the rallying Impreza by Prodrive and delves into the team behind the car that is still developing race-winning cars today.

Wagstaff details the background and history of the Safari rally in Kenya and shares with us the full story of the 1997 Safari rally as well as the car’s two other outings in Argentina and Indonesia.

P8 WRC 180-181 page spread

There are biographies of Colin McRae, Nicky Grist along with members of the McRae rallying dynasty who have demonstrated the car in recent years.

Wagstaff gives brief profiles of P8 WRC’s rival cars and drivers from 1997 before talking about P8 WRC’s privateer European rallying career in Italy and Hungary, including drives by Ivan Capelli and Markku Alén, before taking us on a journey of the later years of Subaru Impreza rallying from 1998 to 2008.

The book gives a detailed, illustrated description of the car’s restoration, accompanied by over 350 colour photographs, documents and technical drawings detailing the car’s period rallying career, demonstration appearances and restoration as well as a portfolio of specially commissioned photography for the book.

There are also interviews with the McRae family, Nicky Grist and key members of the Prodrive team who originally worked on and ran P8 WRC, and who more recently carried out the restoration of this iconic rally car.

Subaru Impreza WRC Cover

Published: 18th June 2024
UK Price: Classic Edition £69.00 (Limited Edition also available)
ISBN 978-1-907085-52-9
Format: 285mm x 235mm, Jacketed hardback
Pages: 320 pages with over 370 images

Subaru Impreza WRC – The Autobiography of P8 WRC
By Ian Wagstaff
Published by Porter Press International

For more information and to purchase your own copy of the book, please visit the Porter Press website. It is also available at Waterstones, WHSmith and on Amazon.

Author Bio:

Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man Behind The Wheel, a member of The Guild of Motoring Writers, professional photographer and former saloon car racing driver.

Images courtesy of Porter Press International

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