Subaru WRX STI Type RA NBR Special thrashes 'Ring record

Published: 24 July 2017

► Limited to 500 cars, aimed at US market
► Road-going version of ’Ring record car
► Less weight, more power, suspension overhaul

Some letter combinations sound illogically alluring when added to the end of a model name, on Japanese performance cars in particular.

This car surely falls into that category: the Subaru WRX STI Type RA.

A lighter, more powerful WRX STI with some serious suspension mods, it will be limited to 500 cars only, with sales expected to be concentrated in the USA market. 

There have previously been other lighter, more focused Impreza variants called RA released in limited sales spurts since the early ’90s.

From the CAR archive – Raw like sushi: Mitsubishi Evo V vs Subaru Impreza WRX, May 1998

What does RA stand for?

Record Attempt. Subaru has taken the catchily-named WRX STI Type RA NBR Special around the Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit and blitzed the lap record for a four-door car.

The NBR Special whipped around in 6m57s – a full 35 seconds faster than the previous record holder, Alfa Romeo’s Giulia Quadrifoglio, at 7m32s.

It’s safe to say that the NBR Special is in not-quite-production spec, though. It has everything from a 592bhp boxer engine and a WRC-spec gearbox to plastic windows, a rear wing the size of an ironing board and even DRS. See the car in action below:

Back to the Type RA road car - what sets it apart from other WRX STI models, apart from rarity?

Less weight, more power and some racy suspension mods.

The roof is made from carbonfibre, the wheels are lightweight BBS 19-inch alloys with sticky 245/35 Yokohama tyres, the third gear ratio has been altered, and there’s a shorter overall throw for the manual shift.

In the engine bay, the 2.5-litre four-cylinder boxer engine has had a modest power increase to around 305bhp, courtesy of a new cold-air intake, new exhaust, altered ECU and upgraded pistons.

Subaru WRX STI RA

What about the handling? There are plenty of corners at the Nurburgring, after all…

Subaru really has got to work here, with inverted front struts, double wishbone rear suspension and new Bilstein dampers all-round.

A new set of generously sized Brembo brakes feature cross-drilled discs, six pistons for the front calipers and two for the rear.

And there’s a huge rear wing, manually adjustable and made from carbonfibre.

Pricing has not yet been confirmed, but the Subaru WRX STI Type RA is expected to go on sale in time for 2018.

Subaru announced the Type RA concurrently with the new USA-market BRZ tS model – click here to read more about the newly upgraded boxer coupe

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, automotive design graduate, Radical champ

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