TUNER

Subaru’s prized fighter

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Subaru has always been known as a manufacturer that pushed the boundaries of performance. With the Honda Civic Type R lording it over the domestic market at the moment, the only manufacturer that can step up the plate to counter Honda’s slugger, pound-for-pound at present is Fuji Industries.

Initially developed for expansion of Subaru’s performance division Subaru Tecnica International (STI) in the United States, this STI-tuned variant made quite a splash and was very popular in other markets outside of Japan as well. With its three core business areas; aftermarket parts, STI-tuned cars, and motor sports, This pocket rocket features more extensive modifications from the factory than previously offered, such as suspension, performance, braking, chassis, and aerodynamic upgrades.

“At STI, we know from our racing that to win, it is important not only to have high power, but also that all aspects of performance are balanced over the whole car,” said Yoshio Hirakawa, president of Subaru Tecnica International. “When we achieve this balance, the driver feels that the car is easy to handle and reliable, and he can use it fully to the limits of its performance. Our plan is to produce cars and accessories that drivers can really enjoy.”

The STI Performance Concept is a showcase for the engineering prowess and tuning capability of STI, featuring the racing engine developed by STI for the BRZ Super GT racecar, suspension and chassis components, and aerodynamic upgrades. This special edition veers away from the garden variety BRZ with its aggressive aerodynamic styling starting from the front fascia, down to the massive rear wing and splitter that generates enough down force to hug fast corners. The car is also equipped with special edition LED front headlamp clusters and rear tail lights. Twin exhaust pipes give away the nature of this mechanical beast. The best part of the package lies underneath the hood, a 300-bhp boxer four which is the same engine that powers the BRZ Super GT racecar. Add other features such as a lightened chassis, race tuned suspension, and you have a car that can go head-to-head with the Type R.

Complete cars (extensive tuning by STI) and performance parts are available in Japan focus on the WRX STI, Forester, and BRZ models. The Japanese domestic market uses the nomenclature “S model” as its naming for the WRX STI and uses “tS” on BRZ and Forester vehicles that have STI components. The question now is, will this model ever make it to our shores?

PHOTOS BY SUBARU STI JAPAN

STI was founded as Subaru parent company Fuji Heavy Industries’ motor sports division in 1988. In 1989, a first-generation Subaru Legacy, tuned by STI, broke the FIA-certified world speed record over 100,000 kilometers. From there, STI moved on to the World Rally Championship, winning three constructors championships and three driver championships for Colin McRae, Richard Burns, and Petter Solberg. It currently competes in the Nurburgring 24 Hour Challenge race winning its class two times in 2011 and 2012 and also in the Super GT series with its BRZ-based Super GT.


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