• Nov 2nd 2009 at 8:59PM
  • 50
Ken Block's Subaru WRX STI-based snow tank - Click above watch the video

Yes, that's probably the first ever Subaru tank. We can't say for certain, but I think in this case we can go ahead and assume. Driven by none other then Ken "Gymkhana" Block. Why does it exist? To be the "ultimate backcountry shred car," of course. We think what that actually means is that you'll be able to not only access rather remote sections of your favorite mountain in the TRAX STI, but get there quickly and confidently, while performing any matter of black diamond stunts along the way.

Being skiers and not snowboarders (ahem), the part that really interests up is what lies beneath. And we're happy to say in the case of the TRAX STI, quite a lot. The snow beast begins life as just another Ken Block-prepped open class WRX STI rally car. It's then sent to Vermont SportsCar where the power is upped to 400 hp, EXE-TC Group N dampers are fitted to all four corners and (obviously, duh) the wheels are ripped off and replaced with cat tracks. There's also a four person sleigh (not shown in the video) that can haul four boarders plus their gear up a mountain. Says Block:
It combines a two of my favorite things in life: driving a rally car in the snow and snowboarding in the powder in the backcountry. It's incredibly fun having the ability to push the high-power Subaru on the slopes and to backcountry spots that normal cars could never go!
We're just hoping that at some point old Kenny boy will give us a slushy hot lap or two. And be sure to check out 0-60's interview with Ken where the famed rally driver delves into more of his snow mania. Full press release explaining the madness behind the TRAX STI after the jump.


The World's Fastest Cat Track Operation Automobile!

November 2, 2009 - Vista, CA - On the heels of Ken Block's insane Gymkhana videos and the groundbreaking snowboarding/rally part to close out DC's MTN.LAB 1.5 video, the DC Co-Founder and Rally Team Driver has joined with Subaru to make the world's fastest cat track operation automobile for backcountry access for snowboarding. Dubbed the TRAX STI, a new teaser video from the test session for the highly-modified, snow-ready (to say the least) car is up on YouTube, and check out "0-60 Magazine's" Web site for an interview with Block and photo gallery featuring the best photos from the session.

The TRAX STI is an experimental automobile that starts with Block's competition-ready Subaru WRX STI before ditching the tires, adding snow cat tracks, and upgrading to some next-level suspension to create the ultimate backcountry shred car. Prepared by Vermont SportsCar, performance modifications include 400-hp and features Group N competition rally dampers made by EXE-TC and a KAPS 5-speed close-ratio dog-engagement gearbox. Under the hood sits a 2.5 liter, 4-cylinder, turbocharged and intercooled STI engine tuned with a MOTEC M800 ECU.

Completing the TRAX STI is a sleigh to be pulled behind the car, designed to hold four snowboarders, their snowboards, and all their gear. The sleigh's body is 100 percent custom designed and constructed of hand-laid fiberglass-though the sleigh is not seen in this teaser video, look for it in future videos next year. Altogether, this is one car ready for backcountry access and snowboarding.

"The TRAX STI is a very fun project for me," said Block. "It combines a two of my favorite things in life: driving a rally car in the snow and snowboarding in the powder in the backcountry. Having a house in Utah (the DC MTN.LAB), I get to enjoy lots of sliding around on the snow, but this project takes that to a whole new level as I can now hit up the backcountry in the fastest snow cat ever. It's incredibly fun having the ability to push the high-power Subaru on the slopes and to backcountry spots that normal cars could never go!"

Though the project was top-secret, the TRAX STI got blown up online way before it was supposed to-it was first caught and posted on YouTube in April 2009 by a random fan with a low-quality video recorder. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0akfZWNp2E

But that was just the beginning. The new video posted this morning shows what went down in just one day of testing and driving the car. It shows the car in all it's high definition glory, as Block puts it through its paces up snow-covered mountains, down them, and even around un-expecting snowmobilers filmed at the DC MTN.LAB and Guardsman Pass, both in Utah. Stay tuned for more video to emerge as the car gets used more and more.

"0-60 Magazine's" interview has all the behind the scenes on the TRAX STI, including the exclusive photos of the car. It's the place to learn more about the car, how it performs, and why Block had the darn thing built in the first place. View it here: http://www.0-60mag.com/online/?p=20459. The next issue of the magazine will have a two page spread featuring the car.

Coordinating with the launch of this new video, DC is releasing new items from Block's TeamWorks Collection. Added to the already wide assortment of product inspired by Block and his rally racing endeavors, new items include a puffy jacket and a leather jacket. View the fresh goods now in the DC Online Store at store.dcshoes.com. http://store.dcshoes.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=3631313.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      4WD hampers steering?

      It's amazing that Block, Pastrana, Foust, etc.. during the Rally America Series..... and nearly every WRC car that hits snow are AWD and have no issues in the snow. Then again, I'm sure you know more about AWD cars than Suburu engineers and Vermont Rally Car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Pretty soon hes going to be driving an Sti that flys
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm willing to bet he's working on that lol
      • 5 Years Ago
      I want this
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've always wondered: With track-converted-vehicles, what happens if you lift a wheel off the ground under power, say, going over a jump or something? How do they tie the track mechanism to be continually pointed downwards so as not to rip the bodywork to shreds?
        • 5 Years Ago
        They have a linkage that ties into the a-arm that allows the tracks to pivot only a certain amount but not past that point. The track system is made by Mattracks
        • 5 Years Ago
        They have a spring and tie that's supposed to keep them from flipping around but in practice these things are horrible, always throwing tracks or getting twisted up under the body. I had a set on a 4 Runner once, would go anywhere, until it got balled up, then nothing could retrieve it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      do want
      • 5 Years Ago
      why isn't there only one "cat trax" in the front?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Because the STI is AWD so it's just as nice having them on the rear as well.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I want one!! I would be the Sh!! in saginaw this winter!
      Carols Ray
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      what's the next step for Ken? going amphibian? xD
      that dude is wack..!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm glad for you guys who are enjoying this (apparently all of you), but somehow it does not work for me.
      Alps are my all-time favorite location for skiing, I enjoy watching Ken doing his stuff at airplane junkyard, but the purpose-built snowmobile ruins it for me.

      "Yes, I feel guilty." :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Its about time i found out what he was doing with that beast, there was a 10 seconds video of him driving by some snowmobilers last winter but no details, and i havent heard anything about it since then DO WANT!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, I remember that video as well. Tried to look for more info at that time but couldn't find any. Damn, that video looks like fun!! I wish I could own this car and drive around like him lol.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Great idea, bad execution.
      It's just waiting to catch a tread and flip. Here are the problems:
      * Center of gravity way too high.
      * 4WD hinders steering: With all 4 wheels as treads, this thing is just slides around and kicks up snow. Slow and bad in turns. A snomobile works by having almost all the weight in the back on the treads. The front steering is accomplished with skis that bear minimum weight so they cut into the snow. The skis are wider than the treads so they flatten the snow on the sides and minimize the kickup at the tread.

      This idea would work much better with a rear wheel drive car with most of the weight in the back. An old dune buggy, VW bug or 911 would be great. Designing the tracks to keep the center of gravity low would also be very important.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Just watch the freakin video again. It doesn't take a genious to see that this thing is being treated with a lot of caution in the turns. Also, even when going straight you can see that most of the horsepower is going to flinging snow in the air that gets caught on the sides of the tracks. It needs lower center of gravity, and I think it would do better with weight and all the drive in the back.
    • Load More Comments