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2 essential discoveries 2015 WRX STI team makes from 4th place finish [video]

The 24-hour Nurburgring race was a huge test for the 2015 Subaru WRX STI. Why did they finish in 4th place?

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The 2015 Subaru WRX STI Nurburgring 24-hour race team qualified in first place in their class and they knew they had a faster car than last year. The STI team fought hard, but couldn’t overcome an early morning mishap that cost them valuable time. The team looks at the race like a fighter who climbs in the boxing ring for 15 rounds. But this race is longer than any boxing match and lasts for 24 long grueling rounds.

Yoshio Hirakawa President STI, says,”The reason that Subaru participates in this race is that the world’s best cars, not just Japanese but also European cars, can climb into the same ring and duke it out in a competitive environment. The Team learns two important things about the new 2015 WRX STI race car.

The Green Hell is most challenging race in the world

Germany’s Nurburgring is called the “Green Hell” and is a 15 mile ribbon of tarmac that has seen some of the most grueling races on the planet. It’s bumpy, has over 170 turns, and climbs the equivalent of the Empire State Building every lap. Over 200 cars started the race on that Saturday in June and only half finished the grueling 24 round boxing match. The 2015 Subaru WRX STI was fast and the STI team was able to secure the pole position in its class. But in a 24 hour race, it’s not really important where you start.

The STI designed to be a driver’s car

Hideharu Tatsumi, General Manager, STI Motorsport says, Subaru has always been about designing a driver’s car and the Nurburgring resembles a normal road. So its the perfect environment for Subaru to test the new-generation STI. This is where most STI production cars will spend their lives driving on roads similar to this one.

During the 24-hour Nurburgring race, the STI comes in for fuel and a driver change every hour and a half. And driving at night presents new challenges for the drivers as there are no sight lines and the camp fires from the fans lining the course and the headlights bouncing off the fences can blind the drivers. The headlights provide the only light on the track and it’s only a few feet in front of the car.

2015 STI has a problem

Just before dawn, the 2015 STI makes an unscheduled return to the pits and there is a problem. The car made contact with a slower car and it needs to be repaired before it can return to the track. Valuable time slips away along with the lead. With the race just half over, there is still time to gain some of that time back they lost during the long unscheduled stop. The team is getting tired and they fight fatigue as they have been up all night.

STI does not hire an outside team to run the program

Every team member, either works full time for STI, or has been selected from Subaru’s Japan dealer mechanic program. If not for the early morning problems and the lost time, the WRX STI team was on pace to win. But they have to settle for a fourth place finish. But this years 2015 WRX STI was 7 seconds faster per lap than the previous generation car in last years 24-hour Nurburgring.

Hideharu Tatsumi says, The “Kokoro” symbol on each STI team member’s sleeve means “heart.” It’s not just the STI team, its the whole of Subaru coming together with one purpose. Subaru and STI set out to produce a great driver’s car and they succeeded in a big way with the production 2015 WRX STI. The 2015 Subaru WRX STI NBR Challenge team had a goal to win the 24-hour Nurburgring, but even with a 4th place finish, they made two important discoveries. This is the fastest and best car STI has ever produced. Sometimes you learn more from a loss than you do from a win.

Other 2015 Subaru WRX STI NBR stories of interest.
2015 Subaru WRX STI NBR based on production car but with one big difference

Watch Subaru 2014 Nurburgring 24h Digest video

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