Subaru and STI will again return to “the green hell” in May 2018 with the WRX STI Nürburgring Challenge car, which is based on the WRX STI production model. On the other side of the world, the STI-built Subaru BRZ GT300 will compete in Japan’s Super GT series. Before first entering the series with the BRZ in 2013, STI had been campaigning the Legacy with success since 2008.
Since its inception on April 2, 1988, STI has won three World Rally Championships (WRC), 47 WRC overall wins, and four class wins in Germany’s 24-Hours Nürburgring. Rallying success continues, and STI will again return to the Nürburgring 24-Hour race in May.
Subaru’s racing roots date to 1972, when a Leone model, known as the GL in the U.S. market, competed in Australia’s Southern Cross Rally. In 1980, Subaru made history with the first four-wheel drive car entered in the World Rally Championship. As turbocharged four-wheel drive Subaru’s were establishing a competitive presence, Subaru committed to competition and performance by starting a motorsports and performance-development subsidiary, Subaru Tecnica International (STI).
Guided by STI founder and president Ryuichiro Kuze, STI built its first car in 1989, the Subaru Legacy RS RA. The RA featured modified suspension, brakes and a 220 HP turbocharged SUBARU BOXER engine. In January 1989, the STI-prepared Subaru Legacy Turbo, broke the FIA World Speed Endurance Record for 100,000km. Over 20 days on a track in Arizona, the Legacy drove more than 62,000 miles at an average speed of 138 mph.
Subaru has more rally wins than any other Japanese manufacturer. This achievement, coupled with the success of drivers including Colin McRae (1995 drivers’ champion), Richard Burns (2001 champion), Peter Solberg (2003 champion), and Toshihiro Arai (2005 and 2007 Production car WRC champion), has placed Subaru and STI among the most respected brands in rally competition. Subaru and STI continue to campaign and win in rallying and Global Rallycross around the world.
True to STI’s philosophy that racing should help make better production vehicles, a limited-production Legacy STI was offered in Japan in 1992. The first WRX STI followed in 1994, bringing rally-proven technology to the road. The Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD) version of Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive was introduced later that year in a different model called Impreza WRX Type RA STI.
The 2004 WRX STI debuted in America with a turbocharged 300-horsepower engine, short-throw 6-speed manual transmission, DCCD All-Wheel Drive, STI suspension and Brembo brakes. The car’s blistering performance capabilities elevated it to legendary status among car enthusiasts. The WRX STI’s thrilling road performance reflects STI’s mission to not just make a car faster, but to also make the driver faster by instilling confidence from a highly developed chassis and powertrain.
The basic STI formula, a low center of gravity and high traction, has been proven for three decades in competition. STI continues to explore all facets of performance and making the car feel like an extension of the driver, on road and track. Whether designing individual performance parts or tuning complete cars, STI aims at one basic goal above all: to empower the driver with a more engaging, responsive experience.