In a twist of fate, the man who set the record was no other than four-time World Rally Champion Tommi Mäkinen. Japanese car fans may recognise his name linked to a special edition Mitsubishi Evolution (6.5) when he was racing for Subaru's rival.
The Japanese company initially used the 'Ring in 1992 when it tested the original WRX. Back then, Subaru used the results to improve the car's overall dynamics, adding sufficient braking and suspension ability.
The 1992 Subaru Impreza WRX managed to lap the ring in 8’28’’93. This was further improved in a 1996 WRX STI that lapped in 8’10’’75. From there a lap time of 8’06’’59 was set in 2002 (WRX STI) followed by the previous lap record of 7'59''41 in 2004 (WRX STI).
According the Subaru, the whole point of the new STI is to be "“The Fastest WRX STI Ever” and the figures only support that. The company has made major changes to the car's chassis and suspension set-up.
“The car was controllable with precise and faithful handling even on tricky corners. I could easily predict the car’s behaviour. That is exactly what Subaru is offering: confidence.” said Tommi Mäkinen.
Hatchback lovers need not to worry, all technical changes to the four-door Impreza WRX STI will be carried across as well.
Subaru Australia expects the new revised Impreza WRX STI hatchback and sedan variants to hit showrooms nationwide in the last quarter of the year.
For those interested, the car in this article we posted about two months ago, is the same as the one Makinen used to set the record.
However the record-breaking lap time isn't quite as clear cut as it may seem, with the test car boasting additional performance features borrowed from both the current R205 and Spec C variants.
Although Subaru has commented that these parts were included as "potential future model items" as part of the brand's advanced research and development into future product planning of the WRX STI.
From R205 - a special edition for Japan market
- Bigger turbocharger
- 6-pot brake calipers
- Flexible tower bar
- Front lip spoiler
From spec C - a special edition for Japan market
- Bridgestone Potenza RE070 tyres
- Aluminum hood
- Full-bucket seat
- Roll cage
- 5-point safety belts
- Under cover
- Aluminum fenders