A redesigned Subaru WRX debuted for the 2022 model year, and Subaru has now launched a rally version.
The new WRX rally car will make its competition debut in the American Rally Association (ARA) championship's Ojibwe Forests Rally running Aug. 24-25, replacing cars based on the previous-generation WRX platform.
Current Subaru factory-team driver Brandon Semenuk will drive the number 180 car with co-driver Keaton Williams, but they'll be joined in 2024 by Travis Pastrana, making his return to the ARA series after a one-year hiatus.
The WRX rally car is built by Vermont SportsCar, which also constructed previous generations of WRX rally cars for ARA competition, as well as Pastrana's Subaru GL Family Huckster and WRX STI Airslayer gymkhana cars. Starting at the launch of the current-generation WRX in the U.S., the company spent 18 months designing and testing the rally car for its competition debut.
2024 Subaru WRX ARA rally car
The build starts with a stock WRX body shell that is fully seam welded and fitted with an FIA/USAC-compliant roll cage constructed from T45 steel. The stock gas tank is replaced with a 21.6-gallon Kevlar fuel cell, while the driver and do-driver sit in Sparco racing seats, again designed to FIA safety regulations.
The car is designed to ARA Open 4WD rules, which allow for a large rear wing and widened fenders. Those parts are made of carbon fiber, and the whole car wears Subaru's traditional rally livery of WR Blue Pearl, with the automaker's star logo rendered in yellow.
While the WRX road car is powered by a turbocharged 2.4-liter flat-4, class rules mandate a 2.0-liter version with an air restrictor and boost limiter. Even with this handicap, the race engine makes 320 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque. That's 49 hp and 122 lb-ft more than the road car. That power is sent to all four wheels through a Sadev 6-speed close-ratio transmission. The rally car also gets modified suspension, with R53 Suspension springs and dampers an crossmembers, links, and hubs designed by Vermont SportsCar, managing the movement of 15-inch Yokohama Advanced A053 rally tires.
Rallying has never been as popular in the U.S. as in other countries, but Subaru believes the latest ARA rules will attract more competition and in turn create an upswing in fan interest. The automaker also sees this as an opportunity to introduce its famous blue-and-yellow WRX rally cars to a new generation.