Their global WRC days might be over, but a new Subaru WRX rally car is set to take on the American Rally (ARA) Championship!
The world of performance cars is a very different space compared to what it was, having evolved almost beyond recognition. But, if the changes of the past decade have left your spectacles with a rose-tinted sheen, you can take solace from the fact that in the year 2023 there’s still a new highly-modified Subaru rally car to get excited about. Yep, that blue and yellow livery, complete with aggressive aero and trademark gold wheels is back for a new generation.
Now, just to be clear, this car won’t be taking part in the FIA World Rally Championship, as Subaru’s most famous cars did. Instead, it’s a Vermont SportsCar creation, which means it comes from the folks that are behind the Subaru Motorsport USA programme. As such, this new-age competition-spec Subie will take to the rally stages of North America instead, as Subaru aim to add more ARA titles to their trophy cabinet.
Anyway, now that the caveats are out of the way, let’s take a closer look at this epic throwback machine.
New Subaru WRX Rally Car Specs
Compliant with ARA’s Open 4WD class regulations, the new car was designed, built, and tested over a period of 18 months. Under the hood, it’s got a custom-built turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder boxer engine, restrained by a 33mm restrictor and 22psi boost limit as the ARA championship rules dictate. Still, that’s good enough for 320hp and 380 lb ft. of torque, while a SADEV six-speed close-ratio transmission sends the power to all four wheels. Springs and dampers are from R53 Suspension, and are supplemented with in-house crossmembers, links, and hubs. Those famous gold rims are then wrapped in Yokohama 15-inch ADVAN A053 gravel rally tires, while the whole widebody is made from carbon fiber.
Being a pro rally car, this thing is kitted out with a whole host of strengthening and safety gear too. It’s got a fully seam-welded body shell and an FIA/USAC-spec roll cage constructed from T45 steel. An 82-liter Kevlar fuel cell replaces the stock gas tank, while in the cabin you’ll find Sparco ADV Prime competition seats with HANS (Head and Neck Restraint System) devices. The fabric liner used inside the car is even self-extinguishing!
Subaru factory driver, Brandon Semenuk (pictured on the right), is currently leading the 2023 ARA championship, leaving him in an excellent position to benefit from his new ride. As ever, the quick Canadian is supported by British co-driver/navigator Keaton Williams (left). That duo will have a new team-mate next year as a second Subaru WRX rally car will be introduced in 2024. Extreme sports legend and former rallycross champion Travis Pastrana is the driver selected to get behind the wheel, though there’s no official word yet on who his co-driver will be. As we’ve already seen though, Travis is a demon behind the wheel of a Subaru…
Before we sign off, we’ll hand it over to Brandon and Travis:
“The release of the new car will bring an exciting future along with it,” says Semenuk. “This platform has been completely reengineered and the car looks and feels more dynamic, which will translate to an even better show for the fans!
“We will also have Travis coming back to the championship next season, which I’m looking forward to. Not only is it more fun having a teammate, but you learn so much more with a two-car team and this will be important for the ongoing development of the platform.”
Pastrana adds, “[I’m] So excited about the 2024 ARA rally championship. The new Subaru platform is amazing and the chance to battle again with two-time and defending champion Brandon Semenuk is going to be so much fun.
“When Brandon joined the team, I was the veteran. But the tables have turned and I’m looking forward to learning a lot and hopefully getting back to the top. I’ve only been away from the sport for a year but a lot has changed and I’m ready for the new challenge.”