Subaru Rally Legends:

Behind the Championships

4/8/2016

Version 13.1

If you’ve ever had the chance to see Subaru in a rally, you know these cars are set up to be quick and nimble. We take a look at iconic championship-winning Subaru rally cars of today and yesterday.

Subaru World Rally Team

In 1989, Subaru partnered with Prodrive, preparing Subaru rally cars to FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) World Rally Championship (WRC) specifications. This Subaru World Rally Team (SWRT) would be a rally force over the next 19 years. 

1995 Impreza WRC

This was the first Subaru model driven to a WRC Drivers’ Championship and Manufacturers’ Championship.

In 1995, FIA regulations introduced turbocharger air restrictors that slowed down the cars. Subaru redesigned its engine as a countermeasure. Modifications also included a revised camshaft design and compression ratio. 

Did you know?

The legendary Colin McRae won the only Subaru WRC victories in 1998, topping the field at three events.

2001 Impreza WRC

Based on race feedback from previous Impreza models, the 2001 Impreza engine underwent extensive tuning to boost responsiveness. Major progress was made with electronic control of the semi-automatic transmission and front, center, and rear differential gearing.

Did you know?

Subaru claimed the WRC Manufacturer’s Championship in 1995, 1996, and 1997.

2003 Impreza WRC

The 2003 Impreza WRC featured performance improvements, including an innovative aero package that used air in a highly efficient way to assist cooling. Its body shell was lighter and stiffer than its predecessor. The 2.0-liter boxer engine was refined with a revised turbo and exhaust system that boosted both power and drivability.

Did you know?

Sloberg started his career in hill climbs and rallycross.

Winning by the Numbers

Vehicle Engine Type Engine Power Engine Torque Overall vehicle length Overall vehicle width Overall vehicle height Wheelbase Curb weight Wheels Tires
1995 Impreza WRC Horizontally opposed 4-cyclinder, 16-valve, IHI turbocharger, 34mm WRC regulation restrictor 295 hp 325 lb-ft 4,340mm (170.9 in) 1,690mm (66.5 in) 1,405mm (55.3 in) 2,520mm (99.2 in) 1,200kg (2,646 lbs) N/A N/A
2001 Impreza WRC Horizontally opposed 4-cyclinder, turbocharged, intercooled 300 hp 347 lb-ft 4,340mm (170.9 in) 1,770mm (69.7 in) 1,390mm (54.7 in) 2,520mm (99.2 in) 1,230kg (2,712 lbs) N/A N/A
2003 Impreza WRC Horizontally opposed 4-cyclinder, 16-valve, IHI turbocharger, 34mm WRC regulation restrictor 300 hp 433 lb-ft 4,405mm (173.4 in) 1,770mm (69.7 in) 1,390mm (54.7 in) 2,535mm (99.8 in) 1,230kg (2,712 lbs) OZ cast magnesium Pirelli
2009 VT9r WRX STI Horizontally opposed 4-cylinder, turbocharged and intercooled, Rally America Open Class 34mm restrictor 303 hp 451 lb-ft 4,415mm (173.8 in) 1,795mm (70.7) 1,475mm (58.1 in) 2,625mm (103.3 in) 1,470kg (3,241 lbs) 15x7 gravel rally wheel BFGoodrich rally tires
2015 VT15r WRX STI Horizontally opposed 4-cylinder, turbocharged and intercooled, Garrett motosport turbo, Rally America Open Class 34mm restrictor 330 hp 480 lb-ft 4,595mm (180.9 in) 1,860mm (73.2 in) 1,525mm (60.0 in) (gravel) – 1,450mm (57.5 in) (tarmac) 2,645mm (104.1 in) 1,318kg (2,906 lbs) METHOD MR502 VT-Spec 15x7 gravel rally wheel DMACK tires

Subaru Rally Team USA 

In 2001, Subaru partnered with Vermont SportsCar, forming Subaru Rally Team USA (SRTUSA). Vermont SportsCar prepares Subaru rally cars to Rally America National Championship Open Class specifications.

Learn more about SRTUSA and Rally America by downloading our rally guide.

2009 WRX STI

In 2009, Subaru debuted the 5-Door Impreza WRX STI model for the full season. This third-generation model featured a longer wheelbase, a wider track, and a double-wishbone rear suspension, improving handling and road-gripping capabilities.

Watch the time lapse of this rally car build.

2015 WRX STI

The 2015 season changed from the 5-Door to the 4-Door WRX STI with a more-rigid chassis. The new rally car’s shape and dimensions were longer than the previous model, leading to parts being refined and placement and material being analyzed.

Did you know?

Higgins finished the 2015 Rally America season undefeated with an 8-0 record.