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GP Week : Issue 18
E VER dreamed of being the possessor of a state-of-the-art World Rally Car, driving down a special stage pretending your name was Petter Solberg? Well, dreams can come true, but at a price! One can buy an Impreza WRC straight from the Prodrive, ready to rally, for a million dollars. The good news is that it comes with a full component parts guarantee valid for 1000km of competitive usage, it also includes an overhaul after the 1000km, and the contract continues for another 1000km. The deal includes 30 days of on- event (test or rally) support by a dedicated Prodrive engineer, and no particular criteria is used to select who, in the long line of applicants, will be entitled to buy a car. The only telling factor is the cheque. The bad news is that the car will be second- hand, and if you were able to persuade Prodrive to build a completely new car, it would probably cost twice the price. Prodrive are only normally interested in selling hand-me-down former SWRT team cars. Rental agreements are reserved for private teams that have already acquired these cars – or special customers like Valentino Rossi or Xavier Pons. Nowadays even a million dollars won’t buy you the entire car. In the past four years, starting with the ‘S9’ version (the model used by the factory team in 2003 when Petter won the world championship), 10 percent of the car remains in the ownership of Prodrive. Graham Prew, senior manager at Prodrive’s motorsport sales, explains the nearly-sale process. “Five years ago we started to sell absolutely state-of-the-art cars as opposed to last year’s specification cars. We needed to protect ourselves. “This was done by retaining ownership of the intellectual property in the car. This is enforced by requiring a Prodrive engineer to be present whenever the car was being run. When the car is being kept at the purchaser’s base, it is locked into an electronic ‘trailer mode’ configuration. “This is to protect our technology, helps with the warranty claim procedures and also acts as security for the owner of the car.” You pay your million dollars and the car cannot get out of reverse or first gear. One purchaser very happy with this procedure is Mads Ostberg. He was 44