Subaru takes class win at the 51st Baja 500

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Subaru Crosstrek Desert Racer Baja 500 Subaru

Subaru has deep motorsports roots, and those roots extend mainly into rally soil. In an effort to prove the versatility of the boxer engine, Subaru declared its support for the Crosstrek Desert Racer program with Crawford Performance and Grabowski Brother Racing. The result was as sweet as podium champagne.

The grueling Baja 500 took place last weekend, and the field of Class 5 Unlimited racers had a bit more diversity than usual thanks to support from Subaru of America. SCORE, the sanctioning body that oversees the Baja series of races, states that Class 5 buggies have the appearance of a Baja Bug, which leads many to use a Volkswagen Beetle as the base—including the powertrain.

Quirt Crawford of Crawford Performance had other ideas. “My goal with the Crosstrek Desert Racer program was to show what was possible with a non-turbocharged boxer engine in an unlimited class, and the results so far have been very strong,” he said. “I’m looking forward to bringing the car back to Baja… and showing what it can do.”

It had a great showing, indeed. Of the four competing Class 5 buggies, the Subaru of America-sponsored Crosstrek Desert Racer was the only racer to finish, with a time just over 16 hours, including a penalty for a virtual checkpoint violation. The course was rough, which makes it difficult to reach every checkpoint in a buggy like the Crosstrek Desert Racer.

At the finish, driver Dustin Grabowski declared the Subaru-sponsored car’s future by saying, “The course was really gnarly this year, especially the end. The finish was super tight and just silty, and every single corner wanted to suck you off a cliff. We will be back for the SCORE Baja 1000.”

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