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The Subaru WRX NBR, From The Track To The Road

Subaru says the WRX NBR is ready for the challenge. The 2024 Nurburgring challenge. Why does Subaru spend so much time and resources on its WRX NBR race car? Check out the seven new upgrades. Some will end up on the Subaru model you drive every day.

Last year, the Subaru WRX NBR came in second place. But no one remembers who came in second; winning the Nurburgring 24-hour race is all that matters. Subaru has already won the grueling race six times, so they know how to do it. But knowing and doing are very different. 

It's a difficult challenge for the small Japanese automaker, so why does Subaru spend so much time and resources on its WRX NBR race car? Wouldn't spending that research and development money on the production cars you drive be better? They do. 

From The Track To The Road

Subaru uses the data from the track to enhance the driving characteristics of its new 2025 Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and other new models you drive daily on the road. 

Subaru uses engine, suspension, and all-wheel-drive data to enhance the driving characteristics of all its cars and SUVs, not just the WRX performance car. Subaru has done this since the 90s with the Impreza WRX rally sports car. The Nurburgring 24-hour takes the challenge to another level. This marks Subaru's 15th year of participation since 2008.

It Is Prestigious To Win 

Subaru only spends some time and resources on the WRX NBR for recognition, although it does boost morale throughout the whole automaker's organization when they bring home the trophy. When they cross the finish line in first place, the entire automotive world knows about it. 

It's like when your son or daughter wins something in a sport they participate in. It's not just winning but what they learn as they go through the team and character-building process. It's the same for Subaru. 

The engineers study the WRX NBR data and ask themselves, "How can we transfer this to the next-generation 2026 Subaru Outback?" The Nurburgring puts incredible stress on engine and suspension parts, some of which will reach the Subaru model you drive. 

The Nurburgring 24 hour Is Grueling 

Many call the Nurburgring 24-hour the toughest race in the world. With a total length of approximately 15.5 miles, a 984-foot elevation difference, and ever-changing weather conditions in the Eifel region of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, everything in WRX NBR has to perform at the highest level to survive. If not, parts will break. 

Subaru Is Back In Germany

Subaru will attempt to win the Nurburgring 24-Hour Challenge again at the end of this month with its WRX S4-based performance car. Subaru and Subaru Tecnica International (STI), Subaru's motorsport subsidiary, will compete in the 52nd race from May 30th to June 2nd, 2024.

The WRX NBR uses the same platform and Subaru's Symmetrical all-wheel-drive technology that they use in the Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and other models. 

Subaru says, "We enhanced the WRX's performance so the drivers could drive fast and control it as they wish on such a challenging track. The WRX NBR will make the most of the Subaru Global Platform at its core, utilizing the basic layout of a horizontally opposed engine and Symmetrical all-wheel drive."

The Subaru WRX will compete in the SP4T class, which is open to cars with turbocharged engines between 2.0 and 2.6 liters. The 2024 WRX NBR uses a 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine, the same FA24 engine used in the Outback, Ascent, and WRX. The BRZ uses a non-turbocharged version. 

It is now one of the most reliable engines because it has undergone extensive testing on the track. 

The Managing Team

The Team General Manager, Hideharu Tatsumi, and the Team Manager, Takuya Sawada, will lead the team. Naoki Shibuya, the Technical Manager, oversees the engineering of the race car.

The Drivers

Carlo van Dam (Netherlands), Tim Schrick (Germany), Kota Sasaki (Japan), and Rintaro Kubo (Japan) will drive for the team. Hideharu Tatsumi, who has been participating in the Nurburgring 24-Hour Race since 2008, will be taking on his final challenge in this race.

The Technicians

As in previous years, eight service technicians selected from Subaru dealerships around Japan will again join the team to support the WRX NBR in the race. On Monday, after the race, they'll be back working on the Subaru cars you drive daily. 

Last year, the WRX NBR received upgrades to the newly tuned STI 2.4-liter direct injection turbocharged Boxer engine and its new next-generation WRX body. This year, it gets new upgrades. 

Main Feature Upgrades For The 2024 Subaru WRX NBR

  • Flexible performance wheels: STI Improved micro-rudder response and limited performance by pursuing optimal rim shape.
  • Aerodynamics: Significant improvement in turning performance through the revision of the front underbody panel and the rear wing.
  • Engine: Optimizing head bolts and gaskets improved reliability, power output, and thermal efficiency.
  • Suspension: Improved durability and reliability of front suspension components.
  • Exhaust: Improved high-temperature strength and durability by optimizing exhaust manifold materials and structure.
  • Cooling: Improved reliability by reviewing engine cooling water routes.
  • Electrical components: Improved reliability of power generation components and changed belt layout to improve reliability and reduce weight.

Subaru says the renewed front stabilizer bracket fastener will improve axel force, and the exhaust manifold structure will improve reliability. Equipping front and rear irregular-shaped aluminum wheels with optimized rim shapes will also enhance driving performance. The updated aero parts in various places will improve aerodynamics. 

When Subaru Wins You Win

Subaru says with the enhanced overall performance, "We aim to win the SP4T class."

Can Subaru and STI win the grueling Nurburgring 24-hour race? Even if they don't win, it will help the new Subaru vehicle you drive next. I will bring you the results as soon as they are announced. Stay tuned.

I am Denis Flierl, a top Torque News reporter since 2012. I’ve invested over 13 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role, working with every major car brand. I am an experienced Rocky Mountain Automotive Press member. You'll find my expert Subaru analysis here. Follow me on my X SubaruReportAll Subaru, WRXSTI, @DenisFlierlFacebook, and Instagram.

Photo credit: Subaru