Subaru Marks 30th Anniversary of Championship-Winning STI
From Rally to Road
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.
To commemorate its WRC championships, Subaru introduced the Impreza 22B STI for Japan in 1998, building under 400 of these rally-bred high-performance machines. The car’s Sonic Blue Mica color and gold-color BBS forged alloy wheels have become integral with the WRX STI’s identity. Powered by a 2.2-liter turbocharged BOXER engine conservatively rated at 280 horsepower, the 22B became a legend. Many young car enthusiasts around the world encountered the 22B through video games, including Gran Turismo and Forza.
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.
Conquering the Nürburgring
The basic STI formula, a low center of gravity and high traction, has been proven for three decades in competition, including at the Nürburgring, where the WRX STI has beaten more powerful cars.
Nestled in the picturesque forestland of Germany’s Eifel Mountains, the 12.9-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife challenges drivers with more than 170 turns and nearly 1,000 feet of elevation change. The track’s setting and layout prompted three-time Formula One champion Jackie Stewart to call the track “the green hell,” a nickname that has become its badge of honor.
In 2008, STI brought their winning ways of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive here, entering one of the world’s most grueling races, the ADAC Zurich 24-hour race, better known as the 24-Hours Nürburgring. Held on both the Nordschleife and the Grand Prix circuit, the event is a motorsports spectacle with up to 200 cars taking part. Persistence and refinement led to Subaru winning the SPT3 class in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016.
In 2010, STI went back to the Nürburgring and set a new production sedan lap record with a Subaru WRX STI Spec C. With former WRC World Champion Tommi Makinen behind the wheel, the Spec C set a lap record time of 7:55.
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.
STI continues to explore all facets of performance and making the car feel like an extension of the driver, on road or 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.