Subaru unveils Impreza WRX STI Group N rally car

Looks like the Impreza WRX Concept unveiled by Subaru at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show wasn't far off from the real thing. Today Subaru unveiled the actual car it will be offering up to the rally gods, and it is indeed based on the production WRX STI that was just unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show this week. Designed for Group N competition, the rally car of course features a flat 2.0L four-cylinder pumping out 304 HP and 311 ft-lbs. of torque that will tear up terra firma through all four wheels. The car still needs approval by the International Automobile Federation ( FIA) to race, but Subaru expects it to be approved by January 1st, 2008.

Not long after you'll be seeing this car go to head-to-head with the Mitsubishi EVO X Group N rally car that was shown off a few weeks ago. We expect the battle off road to be just as intense as the one destined to take place in showrooms.

Check out a PDF here with very detailed specs and Subaru's official press release after the jump.

[Source: Subaru]



Sale of FIA Group N Rally Base Vehicle

Subaru Tecnica International (STI) has decided on the standard specification of the FIA (International Automobile Federation) Group N car with the new Impreza WRX STI, sold by FHI as a base vehicle. They will be sold at specially agreed motorsport bases (STI base teams) in Europe, South Africa, etc. for use as rally base cars.

The new IMPREZA WRX STI (vehicle type: Subaru CBA-GRB) that went on sale on October 24th for the domestic market is a 5 door car with the combination of Subarufs unique symmetrical AWD chassis layout and high power horizontally-opposed 2 liter turbo engine. They have continued development for the customer-prepared Group N rally cars to be presented in 2008 or after, exchanging information with the FHI production car development team, to improve elements and the competitiveness necessary for rallying. As soon as the base vehicles go on sale, the FIA VO parts for Group N and the STI sport parts for increased competitiveness will be released. FHI has decided that they will apply for FIA Group N status for the new IMPREZA WRX STI, and are aiming to get approval on January 1st 2008.

The new IMPREZA WRX STI features improved basic chassis functionality, including increased maneuverability through modifications to the front suspension geometry, better stability in straight line movement through a larger wheelbase, and better road-holding through the adoption of a double wishbone rear suspension. In addition, by adopting an active valve control system (AVCS) that sucks in emissions, an electronically controlled throttle, strengthened conrods and such, they have increased engine performance ? mainly the power output and torque, allowing for even more precise engine settings. The 3-mode SI drive and multi-mode DCCD (drivers control differential) - which control the different characteristics of the enginefs torque - have computerized controls, allowing users infinite possibilities in rally competition. In addition to all this, they have cut back on the rear overhang, altered the distribution of weight in the front and rear, raised the centre of gravity, and optimized the height of the roll centre, all of which contribute to the increased performance in rallying of the new machine.

STI has been working on the development of the new IMPREZA WRX STI Group N model for a long time, cooperating with the previously mentioned STI base teams, finalizing the standard specification after development tests carried out in Europe and South America. The results of rough gravel tests in South America and the twisty smooth gravel tests in Northern Europe have shown that the new model has better performance through improved times recorded on these tests.

The Group N base vehicle, based on the domestic Japanese model, will be delivered to STI base teams around the world for the 2008 season.

Major Components of the New Model IMPREZA WRX STI
Model type: 5-door AWD 6MT
Dimensions (mm): Length: 4415 x Width: 1795 x Height: 1475 x Wheelbase: 2625
Vehicle weight (kg): 1470
Engine: EJ20 2.0 litre DOHC 16 valve AVCS turbo
Engine power: Max. output: 227 k-W (308ps)/6400 rpm. Max. torque 422 N-m(43.0kg-m)/4400 rpm
Fuel tank: 60 litres
Steering: Rack & pinion 13 : 1
Suspension: Front: Strut Rear: Double wishbone
Brakes: Front: Ventilated discs Rear: Ventilated discs

STI Group N project
STI started the Group N project in 2003 to expand its business within the FIA Group N category, the most popular class in world rallying. They appointed George Donaldson from the UK as the local general manager of STI, for research, marketing, and other motor sports-related purposes in Europe. He has mainly been undertaking support for IMPREZA entrants in the FIA Production car World Rally Championship (P-WRC), local FIA competitions, and other domestic rallies in various countries.

From 2004, STI created specially agreed motorsport bases called gSTI base teams.h Their concept is for STI and the base teams to join forces to expand Group N, and they have made marketing efforts with Prodrive from the UK and Tommi Makinen Racing from Finland.

This organization has recently made contracts with Barratero Racing from Argentina, Uspenskiy Rally Technica (Russia), Stohl Racing (Austria), and Motor Image (Singapore) in an effort to expand their international horizons. Since 2005, over 500 of the previous model IMPREZA WRX STI spec C Group N base cars (2005, 2006, and 2007 models) have been sold with the cooperation of the STI base teams.

The new IMPREZA WRX STI Group N machine has been developed in conjunction with the base teams. The development tests carried out in South America and Northern Europe after the spring of 2007 provided an extraordinary contribution to the development of the new car, as the conditions were extremely similar to those found on actual rallies.

STI base teams have worked together with STI to create a business infrastructure in Group N. In addition to their contributions in developing rally parts, the base teams manage customers and distribute both base cars and rally cars in their respective areas. Rally parts (safety mechanisms and guards) are also provided to customers by the base teams.

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