Subaru Impreza WRC
AN ICON OF AMERICA IN OUR COLLECTION.
The first Impreza was truly successful: between 1995 and 1997, the Subaru World Rally Team won three constructors championships and one drivers’ championship
We can say that the story of the Subaru Impreza’s successes in the World Rally Championship began in 1993, when Colin McRae forcefully drifted the Subaru Legacy through the flowing gravel stages of Rally New Zealand and claimed the first victory of the brand. That Legacy had been designed by Prodrive and would serve as the basis for the Impreza model that would follow later and that would make the Subaru team one of the main protagonists of world rallying.
The first Impreza was truly successful: between 1995 and 1997, the Subaru World Rally Team won three constructors’ championships and one drivers’ championship, which remained in the hands of the spectacular and unforgettable Colin McRae.
The start of the new millennium brought the debut of the second generation Impreza and a new drivers’ title in 2001 for Richard Burns. In an effort to stay competitive, Subaru introduced the Impreza “S9” – internal factory code – in 2003 and was the result of an integrated design process that brought Prodrive and Subaru closer than ever. This offers many improvements over the previous model: a larger intercooler, an optimized center of gravity, better weight distribution and a reduction in kilos thanks to the use of composite materials.
Those in charge of driving the new Imprezas were Tommi Makinen, Mikko Hirvonen and Petter Solberg. During the 2003 campaign, the car demonstrated a significant improvement over its predecessor and led Solberg to a sensational four victories and the drivers’ title.
For the 2004 season, the Impreza maintained a similar aesthetic but received upgrades to the engine and gearbox. Taking full advantage of the latest FIA technical regulations and incorporating a number of improvements in areas such as bodywork, engine, suspension, electronic systems and aerodynamics, the 2004 Impreza was the result of Subaru’s desire to harness the skills of engineering their equipment at Subaru Tecnica International (STI), Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd (FHI) in Japan and Subaru World Rally Team in the United Kingdom. Despite these efforts, Subaru obtained second place in the Manufacturers’ Championship, demonstrating the validity and competitiveness of one of the most legendary models in World Rally history.
The car body became lighter and 15% more rigid, and throughout that season adjustments and modifications were made to the entire suspension scheme. Its newly designed and larger rear wing, first shown on this 2003 Impreza WRC, featured vertical winglets that substantially improved downforce and overall stability at high speeds.
The Subaru EJ20 engine retained the classic 1994 cc 300hp turbo 4-cylinder boxer layout but incorporated a newly designed crankshaft and optimized exhaust manifold. The gearbox was a six-speed semi-automatic with a steering wheel paddle system.