Subaru is celebrating 30 years of STI with limited production versions of the WRX (Impreza sedan) and the BRZ sporty coupe
Subaru Tecnica International (STI) was founded in 1988 to forward Subaru’s motorsports ventures and provide development and engineering of performance parts to aid the company’s production vehicles.
Since then, the STI logo has adorned three World Rally Champions (WRC) and stood atop the podium 47 times, have won four times at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, setting a sedan lap record in 2017, and hit the streets for the first time in 2004 on the Impreza-based WRX STi (which remains the company’s performance flagship.
To celebrate the 30-year milestone and several recent lap records at Isle of Man and the Goodwood hill climb, as well as the Nürburgring Nordschleife, Subaru is making a limited edition WRX STI Type RA (for record attempt), adding more power to the WRX STI’s already impressive performance, with its carbon fibre roof, Bilstein STI Sport Suspension and a modified Multi-Mode Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system. The company is also offering a limited-run BRZ tS (tuned by STI) featuring STI aerodynamic body add-ons, STI-tuned suspension and 18-inch wheels. Production is limited to 500 units each.
The first STI was a 1989 modified Legacy, with revised suspension and brakes, and a 220-hp turbocharged Subaru Boxer. It broke the FIA World Speed Endurance Record over 20 days, averaging more than 222 km/h over 100,000 km.
STI made its competition debut at the Safari Rally in 1990, again with a Legacy, and recorded its first win in 1993 at the hands of the legendary Colin McRae. The company then switched over to the Impreza compact in 1994, finishing the championship in second, before winning back to back titles in 1995, 1996 and 1997.
The first production car to wear the STI moniker was a Japanese market Legacy in 1992, with the first WRX STI coming along in 1994, to coincide with the new debut of the Impreza in the WRC. The Blue Mica paint job and gold BBS forged alloy wheels have become signature cues for the model, although they have been available in other visual presentations over the years.
North American enthusiasts had to wait 10 years before being able to purchase their first WRX STIs, as it made its debut in 2004 with a 300-hp turbocharged engine, short-throw 6-speed manual transmission, Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD) version of Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, STI suspension and Brembo brakes.