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Rally 101: Why Rally Teams Need to Stay Connected

Posted on 06/17/21 by Izzy Jack

Considered one of the most dangerous motorsports, rally has a massive following with both motor enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike. Rally is the only style of motorsport that places cars on closed public roads where drivers compete in point-to-point racing across a variety of surfaces. Be it dirt, snow, gravel, or tarmac, drivers and co-drivers work to navigate the course in the fastest possible time. 

From the 100 Acre Wood in Salem, Missouri to Lake Superior in Marquette, Michigan, the American Rally Association (ARA) runs a full series of rally events across the United States. In addition to skilled drivers and fast cars, rally teams rely on effective communication to maintain peak performance. 

Because rally events happen in remote locations, rally teams often struggle with poor cellular connectivity. This is where weBoost cellular signal boosters come into play. Let’s go over some key details about rally racing, three important reasons rally teams need to stay connected, and how weBoost helps make that happen for Subaru Motorsports USA.

What Is Rally Racing?

Known for combining real cars with real roads, many consider rally to be the purest form of car racing. As a motorsport, rally can be broken down into two main categories: stage rally and rallycross. 

Stage Rally

As a point-to-point race, stage rally is essentially a race against the clock. Production-based vehicles compete on closed public roads, known as stages. Drivers and co-drivers then work to complete the course as quickly as possible. Using detailed stage notes, co-drivers help their fellow drivers navigate the rough terrain as they complete the race.

Rallycross

Combining mixed-surface tracks and high-performance vehicles, rallycross brings drivers together to race against each other. Unlike stage rally, rallycross cars don’t have to be “street legal.” With fewer engine restrictions, these races prove to be fast-paced and action-packed.  

Rally Racing in the United States

Rally events take place all over the world. But in the United States, nationally organized rally events are a relative newcomer to the motorsport calendar. With its inaugural season in 2005, Rally America was the first nationally recognized rally competition held solely in the U.S. As a precursor to the ARA, Rally America was dominated by Subaru Motorsports—featuring the legendary Subaru WRX STI model. Rally America ceased competition in 2018, but the ARA rose to prominence to replace it.

American Rally Association (ARA)

The ARA was founded in 2016 as a non-profit organization dedicated to staging rally events in America. Their dedicated team of professionals work tirelessly to promote safety, competition, promotion, and education surrounding all aspects of the sport. To that end, the ARA has run a full national series of rally events since 2017—endorsing some of the country’s premier stage rally events.

Unlike other motorsports in the United States, the ARA provides one of the more unique experiences. Professional rally drivers compete against amateur enthusiasts. Professionals and amateurs alike compete in a vast range of vehicles, with Subaru models being among the most popular.

Subaru Motorsports USA

Subaru has a lengthy history of competing in stage rally and rallycross events in the United States. Since 2001, the Subaru rally team has won over 100 events—winning 13 of the last 15 national championships. Managed by Vermont SportsCar, Subaru Motorsports USA has had a strong start to the 2021 rally competition year. After the most recent Southern Ohio Forest Rally, Subaru’s Travis Pastrana currently leads the ARA title race. 

3 Reasons Rally Teams Need to Stay Connected

Now that we’ve dug into the exciting history of rally events in America, let’s get into some logistics. As a team, Subaru Motorsports USA relies on steady communication between their drivers, team members, and fans. Maintaining an effective level of communication is often challenging at rally events. 

Here’s a look at three reasons connectivity is so important for rally teams and how weBoost vehicle signal boosters give them a much-needed boost. 

1. Keep Drivers and Co-Drivers Safe

Rally racing can be a dangerous sport, which is why driver communication is essential to maintaining vehicle and driver safety at events. In the event that something goes wrong during the competition, drivers need to be able to connect with their team to get the issue resolved as quickly as possible.

In order to maintain maximum cell coverage while navigating, Subaru Motorsports USA installed weBoost Drive Reach signal boosters in their fleet of race and support vehicles. As professional rally co-driver, Rhianon Gelsomino explains “If there’s an issue we can let the boys know straight away because we went from having no cell coverage to now having that coverage in the middle of nowhere, out in the mountains and in the forest.”

2. Maintain Team Communications

Rally teams use support vehicles to transport their rally cars and equipment all over the country. These trucks drive cross country through dead zones and often lose touch with nearby cell towers. Loss of cellular connection makes it difficult for support vehicles to navigate to the rally event locations and keep in contact with their team.

Working with weBoost, Subaru Motorsports USA now has the Drive Reach OTR installed in their service vehicles. Their team can communicate more efficiently, and service truck drivers can enjoy a safer journey.

3. Provide Real-Time Updates to Fans

As a fast-paced sport, fans expect real-time updates for rally racing events. More often than not, a rally win can come down to a matter of seconds. The Subaru marketing team works on-site from an RV to keep fans updated during rally events. As you can imagine, cellular connectivity is crucial to posting these live updates.

As the official cell signal booster for Subaru Motorsports USA, we installed the weBoost Destination RV into the RVs they use for marketing. With a better connection, their team can focus on keeping fans engaged and on the edge of their seats.

Keeping Subaru Motorsports USA Connected

Whether it’s making sure their RVs are more fan-friendly, ensuring their service trucks maintain constant communication with the home base, or allowing drivers and co-drivers to immediately report issues to their crew, cellular connection plays a crucial role in rally racing communication and success. 

weBoost is proud to be the official cell signal booster for Subaru Motorsports USA, and we are excited to watch the rest of the ARA national series unfold.

Shop our line of in-vehicle cell signal boosters or reach out to us directly to learn more. 


Want to follow the 2021 American Rally Association season? Visit the ARA website to see upcoming events and live event scoring. Follow Subaru Motorsports USA on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter for more updates. 

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