The Production Car world champion is switching from the virtually standard Subaru Impreza he has campaigned this season to a faster and lighter R4 version.
The change of cars means Paddon won’t be eligible for PWRC points in Wales due to the increased performance of his car compared to those of his class rivals. The switch, which is being supported by STI, Subaru’s competition arm, required the permission of the FIA, motorsport’s world governing body.
“The Subaru R4 is the next step in development from the current Group N production car we’ve been driving,” said New Zealander Paddon. “They are 80 kilograms lighter with some lighter body panels, fabricated sub-frames and suspension arms which give the car better geometry and handling. They also have more adjustable suspension with greater travel. It’s still relatively early in the development of the R4 cars, but the aim is to have the Subaru Impreza STI-based R4 rally car as a serious contender to win the Super 2000 World Rally Championship title in 2012.”
Paddon, who gains Priority 2 status for Rally GB following his decision to drive an R4 car, will continue his relationship with Symtech Racing.
“We will have no pressure of having to try to secure championship points and we can focus more on developing the car and extracting as much speed as we can,” said Paddon, who is due to complete a one-day test in Wales shortly.