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2000 Subaru Impreza WRC 2000

Driven by World Rally Champion Richard Burns to victory in the 2000 Network Q Rally, the Englishman’s third consecutive Rally GB victory and arguably the most impressive

The most original ex-Works World Rally Car extant, having been bought directly from Rally GB and preserved exactly as it crossed the finish line

A true time-warp, accompanied by its original Network Q Rally pace notes, in-car Nokia mobile phone and the drivers’ energy bars

Never repainted or cosmetically restored – a beguiling homage to the late, great Richard Burns, England’s only World Rally Champion

The final two-door Subaru Impreza WRC to win a World Rally Championship round and the only example sold into private hands with a paddle-actuated semi-automatic gearbox

Chassis no. PRO-GC8.00.011

+44 20 3621 2923

 2000 Network Q Rally of Great Britain

Tragically, Richard Burns is no longer with us. But we have a strong feeling that if England’s only World Rally Champion could have ranked his own performances over the years, the 56th Network Q Rally of Great Britain in November of 2000 would be high on his list.

Entering the final event of that year’s World Rally Championship, Burns was on the back foot in the title race against his arch rival, Peugeot’s Marcus Gronholm. Peugeot had tied up the constructors’ championship at the previous round in Australia, but there remained a glimmer of hope for Burns in the drivers’ – hope which all but evaporated when he clipped a rock barely a kilometre into the first stage in the Welsh Forest on Friday morning and seriously damaged his Subaru’s rear suspension. He and his longstanding co-driver Robert Reid quite literally crabbed into the next service park, a not insignificant 56 seconds behind Gronholm. 

What followed over the course of the next two legs was a comeback of steely determination, boundless talent and unfaltering confidence. Burns drove his Impreza to the very limit – and frequently beyond it! – much to the joy of the thousands of spectators scattered across Wales. And although when he crossed the finish line in Margam Country Park near Port Talbot Burns had missed out on the driver’s title he so desperately wanted by a meagre five points, he fought bitterly to the death and never gave in. The result? Five stage wins, victory by over a minute and Burns’ third consecutive Rally of Great Britain triumph, a first for an English rally driver.


The Subaru Impreza WRC 2000

The Subaru Impreza Burns wrote into motorsport lore that weekend in November 2000 is chassis number 11, more commonly known by its registration number ‘W25 SRT’. As a WRC 2000, the final evolution of the two-door Impreza, it differs drastically from its 1997, ’98 and ’99 predecessors. Almost a clean-sheet revamp, the renowned French engineer Christian Loriaux redesigning 80 percent of the car’s mechanicals with a view to lowering the centre of gravity and thus further exploring the boundaries of performance.

Chassis 11 was awarded its FIA Technical Passport on 28 September 2000, the very same day it made its competitive debut with Burns at the 44th V-Rally Tour de Corse – Rallye de France, round 11 of the World Rally Championship. Three stage victories were good for fourth overall, though Burns struggled with his tyres on the searing asphalt of Corsica. The second of this Impreza’s three competitive outings came at the next round in Italy and the 42nd Rallye Sanremo, though the weekend ended prematurely for Burns and Reid after a cooling issue. Finally, chassis 11 headed to Wales and the aforementioned emphatic triumph.

‘W25 SRT’ distinguishes itself further from most of its Prodrive-built counterparts in that rather than being sold to a privateer team after its Works career and put through its paces on domestic rally championships around the world, it was pre-sold to a man named Richard Charles Betts who, from the outset, wanted to preserve the car exactly as it had raced. As such, he arranged collection of the car directly from the finish line in Margam Park and stored in pride of place in his office.

This is especially unusual as, typically, Prodrive returned its cars back to base in Oxfordshire before selling them on so it could remove any secretive proprietary technology and put right any mechanical or cosmetic damage incurred. As a result, ‘W25 SRT’ is unique. Not only is this car the only two-door Impreza sold into private hands with its factory-mapped paddle-actuated semi-automatic gearbox still equipped, but it’s also in the exact cosmetic state in which it won the Network Q Rally of Great Britain, battle scars and all – as evidenced by the ‘in detail’ photos listed below.

Remember that encounter Burns had with a rock early on in the rally? If you peer inside the left-rear wheel arch, you’ll see where the tyre rubbed off the paintwork after the makeshift repair. That wing mirror wasn’t smashed in the car’s later life – Burns obliterated it deep in the Welsh forest. In fact, all of the bumps, grazes and chips were sustained that weekend two decades ago. This Subaru has never been repainted or cosmetically restored, which is nothing short of extraordinary.

And there’s more. The event-specific FIA tamper detector switches are still present on the boot and the bonnet. The original Nokia mobile phone which the pilots used to call for emergency is still in its mount. The dated energy bars for the drivers are still in the door pockets. Robert Reid’s signed pace notes accompany the car. As does, perhaps most importantly, its FIA Gold Book, the number of which corresponds with that on the roll cage and confirms the three World Rally Championship events the car contested in 2000. Also affixed to the roll cage are the original Network Q Rally GB scrutineering stickers.

Furthermore, it’s also accompanied folders of comprehensive documentation for each of the rallies in which this car took part. These folders include everything from pace notes, spectator guides, media itineraries and journalists’ detailed first-hand notes to stage timesheets, maps and manufacturer rally schedules.

From November 2000, when Betts had the foresight to acquire and preserve this car, through to 2018, ‘W25 SRT’ passed through the hands of two further UK-based collectors and was publicly exhibited only a handful of times, including in a Richard Burns celebration display at the 2013 Autosport International show.

In 2018, the car was acquired by its previous owner, a British enthusiast who places great importance on using and enjoying the cars he owns as they were intended to be. Accordingly, he sent ‘W25 SRT’ to the renowned rally car specialists at BGMsport in Oxfordshire for a thorough inspection and sympathetic mechanical refresh. In a bid to enhance the useability of the car, the ECU was remapped to allow the engine to run on regular super-unleaded fuel.

Once the work was completed, ‘W25 SRT’ was invited to be driven up the world-famous hill climb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2019. The then-owner had the privilege of sharing the driving duties throughout the weekend with Alister McRae, the younger brother of the 1995 World Rally Champion and enduring rally legend Colin McRae.

Today, this Subaru Impreza WRC 2000’s is beyond beguiling – it’s mesmerising. To know with complete confidence that the late Richard Burns sat in this very seat, strapped himself in with these very seatbelts, spoke to his co-driver with this very headset and gripped this very steering wheel on the way to one of his greatest victories we believe elevates this Subaru’s aura and significance beyond virtually any other World Rally-era car. But beyond that, ‘W25 SRT’ stands as a truly magical tribute to Richard Burns, one of rallying’s greatest-ever talents, who’s tragically no longer with us.


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