Subaru has been absent from the European rally scene for quite some time, but they are returning with the new $159K 2015 Subaru WRX STI rally car very soon. Aside from a few privateer teams racing older STI’s, Europe hasn’t seen the new generation WRX STI sedan. That’s all changing and Mark Higgins has been testing the new STI rally car built by British motorsport preparation specialist JRM.
Motor Trend’s Christian Seabaugh got a chance to ride along with Higgins for a few laps at the Isle of Man TT where he set a record last year in a production 2015 WRX STI. Higgins is checking out the new suspension which Seabaugh said he is not happy with yet. This STI is built for the rally circuit in Europe and comes with a host of upgrades over the factory model. Isle of Man TT is an ideal testing ground for the STI.
We aren’t sure why Higgins doesn’t like the suspension, but he should know. Higgins grew up on the Isle of Man and set the record last year in the new 2015 WRX STI production car.
2015 NR4-spec Subaru WRX STI specs
The JRM 2015 NR4-spec Subaru WRX STI is powered by a 2.0-liter, turbo boxer with 280 bhp and 560 Nm (413 lb-ft) of torque. It features a variable inlet and exhaust camshaft, two stage anti-lag system, homologated intercooler water spray, homologated coolant radiator, stainless steel exhaust system with silencer and catalytic converter. It comes with a Hewland 5-speed dog gear box and includes front and rear limited slip differentials, electronically controlled center differential, heavy-duty front specification driveshaft and AP Racing paddle clutch assembly.
The suspension is fitted with Ohlins dampers with three-way adjustment, chassis upgrades include FIA/JRM welded safety cage, 80-liter racing bag tank and quick disconnect refuel couplings. Stopping power is provided by STI/ AP Racing homologated brake package for tarmac and gravel, Driver adjustable brake bias and hydraulic hand brake with manual lock.
JRM is also testing the new STI NR4
JRM is also putting the final touches on the its NR4 Subaru WRX STI by successfully completing a 1,000km endurance test at the MIRA test facility in the UK. The new STI rally car was driven for three days on MIRA’s “ride and handling circuit”.
JRM says Terry Kaby, a former WRC driver and an experienced test and development driver for manufacturer rally programs during the last 25 years, drove the car for the entire test and reported no serious issues.
Steve Smith, JRM’s senior sales manager, said, “The car passed its first 1,000km endurance test with flying colors and that stage of the car’s development has now been signed off by our engineering manager Eddie Corr.”
The new 2015 Subaru WRX STI is back in JRM’s workshop in Daventry to undergo some post-test checks and then it will be back in action for the next phase of its development. “We’re aiming to give the car a competitive debut at a high-profile international rally in August”, says Smith. Stay tuned.