Subaru teased us with the introduction to a new series featuring rally cars in North America. And now we have episode 1.
Rallying is the most original form of motorsports. It takes us back to the days when there were no paved roads in the country – but with modern cars and engines. The object is simply to get the fastest time on a closed off section of back-country road, called a “stage”, and there are several of them over the course of a day or two.
No restrictions, no excuses. And thankfully, no Olympian egos, no Danica Patrick love life, no redneck fist fights, or any other drama. Safety? No whining about how many guardrails a track should have – there isn’t a track and there are no guardrails. Just driving in its purest form.
One of the highlights of our own motorsport hobby has been attending professional rallies in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Washington. We were never able to attend the Sno*Drift rally, unfortunately, but hope to do so one day. As the name says, it’s in the dead of winter, and the conditions are the worst possible. And that’s exactly what ralliests do.
Go full screen, turn up your volume, and enjoy!
With sales booming and the economy picking up, Subaru is in a financial position to increase their focus on rally events even further. But with the current WRX and WRX STI fairly dated and a much-needed replacement just over the horizon (recently seen testing at the Nurburgring), it’s more important than ever to keep momentum going to support sales. Hence, a new series of videos highlighting factory rally teams competing in Rally and RallyCross.
Kudos to Subaru for keeping support of the hobby going thru the economic downturn! And for creating the following *terrific* video. Learn more at Subaru’s dedicated site: http://subaru.com/rally.
Subaru Press Release and video follow:
Subaru Releases “Launch Control”
• Action packed new web-series with an all-access pass behind the scenes of the Subaru Factory Rally and RallyCross Teams
Cherry Hill, N.J., – Subaru of America Inc. has released the first episode of “Launch Control”, a bi-weekly web video series that chronicles Subaru Rally Team USA and the Subaru PUMA RallyCross Team as they prepare for and compete in a fast-paced 2013 race season spanning the globe. With a mix of in-car video, car prep and driver interviews, “Launch Control” is the story of two teams, everything it takes to win and everything that gets in the way.
In the debut episode of “Launch Control,” Subaru Rally Team USA driver and defending Rally America Champion David Higgins is training for the upcoming season at his home in Wales, UK, while the crew at Vermont Sports Car, the Subaru technical partner managing both teams, is hard at work in the shop preparing the 2013 Subaru WRX STI team cars for a the season ahead.
If there is a team that knows what goes into winning a championship, SRT USA would be it. Subaru’s 2012 Rally America championship victory marked their second in a row and their sixth in seven years.
RallyCross, on the other hand, is relatively new for the team. Competing in the emerging Global RallyCross Championship the team must tackle new venues, new race formats, new rules and new cars. Challenging the established RallyCross teams from Europe, the learning curve for team drivers Bucky Lasek, Dave Mirra and team leader and three-time European RallyCross Champion Sverre Isachsen, has been steep.
“Launch Control” will follow the trials and triumphs of these two teams throughout their 2013 seasons and give viewers a behind the scenes look at the efforts of the drivers, engineers and mechanics as they fight for victories.
Episode 2 will air on May 1st
At the New York International Auto Show this week, Subaru presented its concept of the next WRX. We love it!
The current WRX and STI are built off of the previous Impreza chassis… the current Impreza having moved up in the world (and improved considerably) over a year ago. The concept is build on top of the new Impreza chassis, so there aren’t any surprises there. Then there is the styling of the concept… which is of course not the production car (like most concepts, the over-sized wheels and tires wouldn’t provide enough suspension travel to service in the real world). And the question of the roof profile and height – which are not production and again subject to major change (you’ll note the rear windows are likely unable to roll down). Same for the concept flares, the brakes, and the 20″ wheels (although at 245, the width is likely to remain).
Subaru didn’t say anything about the engine, but it’s likely to be the same variation on the BRZ motor that has already been introduced into other lines with turbocharging and direct injection (by Subaru, not the Toyota system) and a bit more power.
Selected images from our Gallery (32 high-res images):
Subaru Press Release follows:
March 28, 2013
THE ALL-NEW SUBARU WRX CONCEPT DEBUTS AT THE 2013 NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
- SUBARU WRX CONCEPT hints at next generation WRX design language
- Focus is on sharp handling, AWD grip and turbo power
The bold and muscular design emphasizes turbocharged power and AWD grip in a more agile and athletic form. The SUBARU WRX CONCEPT blends the WRX’s famous power and road-holding prowess with an even greater focus on sharp handling, steering and communicative chassis. To further improve handling dynamics, the SUBARU WRX CONCEPT features a carbon-fiber roof to enhance the already low center of gravity and reduce weight.
Considerably lower, sleeker and wider, the SUBARU WRX CONCEPT delivers even more street presence than previous generations of WRX. The new grille design is larger and bolder and sets off the classic WRX hood scoop. A pronounced powerbulge provides clearance for the new turbocharged engine and intercooler. A prominent hexagonal grille form and deep lower valences with air intakes are designed to enhance aerodynamics, add downforce and aid engine cooling.
The three dimensional mesh pattern of the grille denotes the sporting nature of the SUBARU WRX CONCEPT and sets the Subaru star cluster apart, while the new hawk-eye headlights integrate the Subaru family design heritage.
A sharp character line runs from the front corner through to the taillights, intersected by the boldly flared wheel arches emphasizing the Subaru’s AWD system. The compact cabin greenhouse draws attention to the power and solidity of the body and focuses attention to wide stance that provides a visual link between body and chassis.
The rear design echoes the hexagonal design motif from the front grille and features a dramatically curved trunk lid that also acts as a rear spoiler. The distinctive wide rear bumper of the SUBARU WRX CONCEPT adds to the powerful street presence of the car and is off-set by large quad tailpipes denoting the powerful turbocharged engine. The aggressive rear diffuser improves vehicles aerodynamics.
The all-new SUBARU WRX CONCEPT features a new paint color, “WR Blue Pearl III”, which modernizes the iconic WRX look. Fluorescent Yellow is used as an accent on the WRX badge on the front grille, the brake calipers and the exhaust tip finishers, adding character notes to the design.
Filling out the broad fenders are BBS “RI-D” One Piece Forged Duralumin wheels and featuring 245/40ZR20 Dunlop tires with an exclusive tread pattern.
Key Dimensions (Overall Length x Width x Height): (178.0in x 74.4in x 54.7in ), Wheelbase: (108.7 in.)
About Subaru of America, Inc. Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of more than 600 dealers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill production plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.
With a new Impreza already a year old, and the old STI still produced on the old Impreza platform, a new STI is well overdue.
The new Impreza is handsome, and is a considerable step up in interior design over the current car. Of course, WRX and STI owners don’t exactly care about that… the bigger question is the specifications of both future models. Or even IF the concept to be introduced in New York is an Impreza-based one at all. It could be a BRZ-based concept (after all, just what are those winged and big-brake BRZs driving around the Nurburgring?). We’ll know soon!
The following (silent) press video shows the 148 HP 2013 Impreza in action… add another 150+ HP and you have the heart and soul of the new STI.
Subaru Press Release follows:
SUBARU TO INTRODUCE FIRST-EVER PRODUCTION HYBRID MODEL AND NEW PERFORMANCE CONCEPT CAR AT 2013 NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
Cherry Hill, N.J., - Subaru of America, Inc. today announced the brand’s first-ever production hybrid vehicle, the Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid, will debut at the 2013 New York International Auto Show at the Jacob K. Javits Center. Based on the popular XV Crosstrek crossover introduced for 2013, the new XV Crosstrek Hybrid model uses a Subaru engineered Hybrid system and Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.
In addition to the new XV Crosstrek Hybrid, Subaru will also reveal an all-new performance concept car.
About Subaru of America, Inc. Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of more than 600 dealers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill production plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.
The Subaru-esque mule circling the Nurburgring has been wildly misinterpreted. The usual elements on the web are calling this “one ugly Subaru”. They couldn’t be more wrong. Even a writer at Jalopnik fell for it (and should know better) along with a bunch people on various forum sites.
This, folks, is a “mule car”: nothing more than a hacked-together assemblage of various oddball and unrelated parts cut from various other Subarus and welded together. No relationship to the upcoming Subaru brother to the FT-86 other than length, width, wheelbase, H-point, and a couple of other points in between.The shape of the car has no exact relationship to the upcoming Subaru. The windshield, side windows, hood, and the rest (such as the taped-together rear spoiler) will never be seen in public again once a few more months pass. The only purpose of this mule is to test engineering samples and prototypes - engineering in this case being suspension and drivetrain.
Given these images, however, certain things can be inferred – and you can bet the competition is doing so (such as Nissan, for a rumored Silvia competitor). Such as the front/mid location of the engine. Given the amount of space behind the wheel wells, it’s clear that the engine is located well to the back. The weight balance and handling dynamics will be excellent.
So, fans of the future Toyota/Subaru car – RELAX. We have no idea what the upcoming “Subaru coupe” will be named, much less what it will look like (although one Japanese magazine has a pencil drawing that reflects nothing more than their own imagination).
What we do know is that it’s engineers are testing it on the most demanding road course on the planet. And that’s a very good thing that says it all about how serious they are.
Evo versus STI: a battle as much a classic as Camaro vs Mustang.
Garage419 takes on the challenge in Part 1 of their comparison. Note that the Evo used is stock, while the STI has already been modified. Dyno comparisons are in Part 2, which will be shown next week Tuesday. Follow the link in the title above to Garage419 for more information.
At the L.A. International Auto Show this month, two things immediately struck me when visually comparing these cars.
Left – STI; Right – Evo
1) The North American STIs don’t get the Recaros that JDM models have. Look at the difference in seat bolsters here. Night and day. Advantage: Evo Recaros.
2) Both cars have the same size tires, and both use Brembos. However, the Evo brakes are larger in diameter front and rear. And look at those 2-piece rotors on the front of the Evo. That’s a must for track use. Advantage: Evo.
There are many more differences than just these two, and certainly much more information will be forthcoming to highlight even more.
AutoWeek reviews the upcoming R32: “Not everyone will get the Volkswagen R32. And we aren’t saying that solely because availability of the all-wheel-drive, V6-powered Golf is limited to 5000 cars for the U.S. market. The boy-racer types expecting the ultimate WRC street racer won’t get it–not enough horsepower and exterior styling …” Read the original article here: http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200770706003
Well, we certainly don’t “get” it. The article makes much ado about the quote “sophistication” of the R32. I really don’t see any particular sophistication here… certainly not in the crude (and dated) Haldex-based AWD. What I do see is a corporate parts-bin approach and little-to-no real engineering – real meaning something that makes this car unique from the rest, such as a systematic approach to torque distribution and stability. Look over the numerous engineering features of the Evo that set it apart – like the Super-AYC for example – and you won’t find an analogy on the R32. Those features are the result of dedicated engineering and hard work from the very start, as well as continuous improvement thru multiple generations. The Evo (and the STI) are not a product of simply reusing existing parts from some other car of the line.
That’s why the R32 is nothing special. Multiple generations of the Golf/Rabbit have produced a car over 1500 pounds heavier than the promising 1st generation car. That’s not a feat of engineering, it’s certainly not something to be proud of, and that’s why the R32 is of little interest to performance enthusiasts wishing to expand the boundaries and raise the limits.
What’s more sophisticated?
Pros: Form follows function
Cons: Crude AWD
Best Uses: Buyers who want a hatch
I fail to understand what is more sophisticated about this car. The AWD driveline is downright crude compared to the far more sophisticated torque-proportioning drivelines of the current STI and Evo – and even more so in the upcoming new generations of each.
And while I can appreciate the straightforward styling, it’s in reality a tall hatchback designed to maximum carrying ability.
Reality: this is all VW can put up – a parts-bin special.
All in all, apples to oranges against the STI and Evo. But if you insist on comparing it, it’s a distant third place.
Excellent thoughts from a blog named “metacool thoughts on the art & science of bringing cool stuff to life, by Diego Rodriguez”
Remember Saab? The world-conquering rally cars? The firm whose machines were hallmarks of iconoclastic engineering that coupled functionality, rationality, with understated yet compelling design forms? The crew who brought us ignition on the floor, turbos under the hood, and huge fifth doors which opened up to a cavernous cargo hull?
Well, that Saab is dead, victim of a relentless drive up market to the fairyland of bigger margins and
Nothing definitive has been shown as of yet, nor have any spy pics been published. But, the imagination of enthusiasts and the press alike is running in top gear…