Is Subaru Headed To IMSA In The Form Of A Daytona Prototype Program?

Subaru at Daytona? It Could Happen as soon as 2020.


It has been a while since I have written about the world of motorsport. Even longer since I’ve written about my favorite form of motorsport, Sportscar Racing! Several things have kept me away, mostly working on a project car, filming the work, and then editing it all together while also having a day job doesn’t leave much time for anything else. (Check out my project Volvo C30)So what brings me back? The potentially immense news that IMSA’s DPi (Daytona Prototype International) could be getting one of our favorite brands as soon as 2020. The brand in question? Subaru!

While the FIA/ACO work out their newly announced Hypercar program in the hopes of bringing back manufacturers, IMSA is already thriving with their now proven DPi formula. Brands are seemingly flocking to IMSA for the relatively inexpensive playground to show off their respective wares. Cadillac, Nissan, Mazda, and Acura have already made their marks on the category and 2020 could see as many as three more manufacturers joining the fray.

IMSA has struck gold with their DPi formula.
And if you believe the rumors, it is set for major expansion in 2020. (Photo by Scott R LePage / LAT Images)

The first is Hyundai, Albert Biermann head of the new “N” Division has made his intentions clear, go racing across the globe. One of their potential targets is DPi. Ford has been rumored for DPi ever since they put an expiration date on their GT Factory program. Their flirtations with DPi are fairly well documented. It is the third brand, the third interested party that has piqued my interest.

Sportscar365 is reporting, “IMSA could see a fourth Japanese manufacturer join the grid next year, with the undisclosed medium-volume automaker having recently completed design and feasibility studies with an LMP2 constructor.” That is fairly specific language, particularly the “medium-volume automaker” part of that. If we were applying common sense or just simple logic Toyota would be the first option for a fourth Japanese manufacturer. However, the highly specific “medium-volume” wording rules Toyota out. So who could that fourth manufacturer be? Let’s look at the potential contenders.

Toyota is out, Nissan, Mazda, and Honda (Acura) already have DPi Programs so that only leaves Subaru, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, and Daihatsu. I don’t mean to be rude, but Suzuki and Daihatsu have the same chance of a DPi program as I do, which leaves Mitsubishi and Subaru. If this were ten years ago and Mitsubishi was still building one or two cars that focused on sporty driving I might think they were half serious at mounting a serious Sportscar program. Unfortunately for them, they’re too busy building crossovers for a Prototype program to make any business sense. This leaves Subaru.

Subaru has been building fun sports inspired cars for as long as I can remember. They are still rally legends even though they don’t have a WRC team anymore. They have been a player in Japan’s Super GT racing series for quite a while now so they know their way around tarmac in addition to dirt. Sprinkle in the WRX STI S209 (finally a hotter STI) debuting in Detriot and things begin to smell very interesting around Subaru.

With one line of copy this “undisclosed medium-volume automaker” has got me very interested in the coming months. Imagine a Daytona 24 with Cadillac doing battle with Acura, Nissan, Mazda, Ford, Hyundai and a fourth Japanese manufactuerer. It doesn’t take much digging to come to the conclusion Subaru is that fourth manufacturer.

Written by Chad Kennedy

Chad burst from the womb wearing a racing suit and a helmet. Chad's passion for cars is in his very DNA. His father was a gear head and passed on the tradition through owning such classics as a '66 Mustang and a '59 Corvette all while taking him to various race tracks in the area. Chad likes to wrench on his rides whenever possible, forgoing the stealership. Chad is an avid motorsports fan with particular interest in endurance/sports car racing. When not online writing for Shifting Lanes, you can find him working at the local golf course teaching people how to swing or hooning a golf cart at impossible speeds.


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