Subaru WRX Nurburgring 24 Racer Is What a New STI Should Have Been

Subaru stopped short of turning the 2023 WRX into a full-blown STI. If only it would have went crazy and given us this.

byJames Gilboy|
Subaru WRX NBR Challenge 2023


There will be no STI version of the current Subaru WRX. It's a crying shame, but we might be able to get some idea of what a 2023 Subaru WRX STI could've been from the tuning sub-brand's entry into this year's Nürburgring 24 Hours: the Subaru WRX NBR Challenge 2023.

This modified WRX is the avatar of Subaru's 14th factory entry in the race, in which it has taken at least five class wins. While the WRX gets its name from rally, Subaru's fastest versions in recent years have had a decidedly tarmac tilt—see its Isle of Man lap record for reference. Ergo, it's only natural that the WRX would thrive on the shorter, still more infamous Nürburgring.

This year, the WRX's new 2.4-liter turbo "boxer" flat-four lands it in a higher class, and it has been retuned accordingly. The engine generates 375 horsepower and 435 pound-feet of torque, which travel through a six-speed sequential manual to be split across all four wheels as always.

Its chassis stiffens up using a lighter, more rigid strut tower brace, and STI upgraded its front ball joints to larger, more durable units. The same goes for its six-piston front brakes and four-piston rears, while an aggressive splitter, skirts, diffuser, rear wing, and flat underbody optimize aero performance.

The 'Ring-racing WRX is a far cry from the mixed-terrain car of yesteryear, but it still looks like it'd be as fun as ever if it were built as a road car. The fact that Subaru thinks its FA24 is good for 24 hours straight at that power level may also indicate it's safe to make that in your daily—even if it needs some aftermarket parts. So, even if we see an electric STE before we get another official STI, you can still use its endurance racer as a template for an unofficial STI of your own.

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