If you're wondering what your new Subaru should look like, here you go. This is the factory-backed 2015 WRX STI that Subaru will run in this year's Rally America championship.
A new Subaru rally car only comes about every four or five years, so getting to see the car like this — in preseason camo — is more than a little rare. I was up at Team O'Neil Rally School to shoot my coworker Travis driving Subaru's 2014 car and the 2015 was there for a test session.
The car is run with backing from Subaru USA and it's built by the impossibly good crew at Vermont Sports Car. I asked one of the VSC guys how much the dampers on this car cost.
It took him a while to come up with a solid answer.
A number of the components one this 2015 car were tested on its 2014 predecessor (which won the Rally America championship), but even with that, they were looking at $10-15 grand a corner for the dampers alone.
It's this kind of stuff that separates full-on rally cars from what we mere mortals drive.
I also tried to figure out how much this car cost. The only answer I could get was that the figure started with "a three or a four" according to one of the guys at Subaru.
You may also note that this rear wing is hand-formed carbon fiber.
David Higgins is going to drive this car this year, and I asked him how the car compared to his 2014 ride. He admitted that the steering is a lot heavier, but his first words about the car was about how much easier it is to drive. Much less input is required to get the car to move.
Over a five-mile test stage, the 2015 car was seven seconds faster than the 2014.
I couldn't find out any precise specs on how fast this 2015 car is, but I can tell you that the 2014 car weighs about 2900 pounds, has a 2.0 liter turbo boxer four, and puts out a claimed 350 horsepower and around 500 lb-ft of torque. This is why Higgins and his codriver Craig Drew can say they hit 60 miles an hour in not long over three seconds on gravel.
There's not much to see in there interior, other than the huge cage, the rally computers, and the sequential transmission. Be sure to really hammer those gears home or else it will lunch itself.
These shots show the car in narrowbody spec, complete with ultra-skinny studded snow tires. Just wait until you see the thing in full gravel setup, complete with a widebody kit. It's gonna be great.
Photo Credits: Raphael Orlove