Super Subie: Catching Up With The WRC and Subaru Impreza 22B-inspired Prodrive P25 Prototype

Petrolicious photography by Robb Pritchard
Other people courtesy of Nick Dungan and Drew Gibson

If you are a fan of Subaru and reading through this, your preferred model is almost certainly the Impreza 22B. A couple of decades in the past the Planet Rally Blue beasts have been a widespread sight tearing up the phases of the WRC, and they did it far better than most with 46 wins delivered by drivers with names like McRae, Burns, Sainz, Kankkunen, Mäkinen, and Solberg. The Impreza is a single of the WRC’s most productive vehicles, and the 22B street vehicle that was constructed to celebrate the rallying achievement grew to become an icon. It is humorous to some to feel of Subarus from the 1990s as classics or collectibles, but the evidence is in the prices—cosplaying McRae in a actual 22B expenses a couple of hundred thousand. The vehicle pictured right here appears the component, but it is even much more high-priced.

Developed by the exact same business that ready the early Subaru achievement stories in rallying, the Prodrive P25 is the initial thorough large-finish restomod to dress in a Subaru badge. Primarily based on the styling of the 22B, but constructed virtually fully from carbon composites, the augmented bodywork is matched by a potent drivetrain packing 400hp and 442lb-ft of torque. It expenses approximately $700,000, and all 25 vehicles are previously spoken for. We caught up with the prototype P25 final weekend at Goodwood to go past the press release and get a closer seem at this specific Subie, such as a chat with Richard Thompson, the chief engineer behind the vehicle, as nicely as its check driver, Mark Higgins.

“Subaru” and “restomod” are not organic matches in the automotive lexicon, so ahead of receiving also concerned with the machine itself, I just needed to know exactly where it came from. “We can see how wildly well-liked firms like Singer are with their large-technologies, very refined back-dates,” Thompson explained, continuing, “With Prodrive’s thirty many years of encounter in prime motorsport disciplines this kind of as the WRC, touring vehicles, cross-nation, and GT racing, we knew that with a restomod venture we could make a extremely specific vehicle.” It is effortless adequate logic to stick to if they can develop championship-winners, they can almost certainly muster up a good street vehicle. 

But the P25 is far from currently being just a spruced up twenty-5 yr previous vehicle. It is far from currently being just good 400-horsepower Subaru STIs are a dime a dozen, but there is a distinction amongst a tune that ups the increase stress and a vehicle that was constructed as a coherent total from a business that all but place large-efficiency Subarus on the map. Without a doubt, engineers from virtually every single sphere of Prodrive’s huge pool of skills have been drafted in to create the P25. “There have been individuals doing work on just the anti-lag program, other folks on throttle maps, Ian Harris is the gear shift engineer who calibrated gear modifications and launch handle for the WRC vehicles from 2000 to 2008, and he did the exact same on this vehicle. Arthur Shaw, head of Prodrive’s engine division, has been doing work on the new EJ25,” Thompson tells me. Practically nothing was untouched, and skills was in no quick provide.

For illustration, a check engine invested some 4 months on a transient dyno exactly where engineers programmed check cycles—such as a total race of Le Mans, why not?—and simulated every single gear modify, pit end, and yellow flag. “But the engine is just a single component of the vehicle. We had a staff for the center diff mapping, individuals developing the car kinematics, other folks on damper and spring charges, to match them to the vertical stiffness of the tyre. Brakes, doing work out what brake pad components will be greatest for the vehicle, how a lot stress, on so on… Level currently being, the P25 has been as intensely created as any other vehicle we function on.” The much more he tells me, the much more the supercar cost tag helps make sense if you want the greatest contemporary traditional rally fighter for the streets, the buck stops at the P25.

The reality that its makers have been also concerned with the performs rally staff elevates the P25 from other restomods. It is not just an homage with some easter egg styling specifics. There is actual provenance in this vehicle. Situation in stage, in a good connection to the pasts of each Prodrive and Subaru, Peter Stevens, the guy who penned the entire body kit on the rally vehicles, the 22B, and on a quantity of other WRX and STI versions, aided with the styling of the P25.  

But how does it drive? Nicely, I can not reply that from encounter just but, but the first appraisement soon after a couple of blasts up the hill at the Festival of Pace was accomplished by Prodrive’s tester and former rally driver Mark Higgins, and his initial impressions have been glowing. “Even straight out of the box it is amazing how nicely it feels, and I can not think the grip it is acquired up the hill on street tires. Chassis sensible, I really don’t feel there is a substantial volume of function to do. We’ve acquired some much more energy to come with the engine, much more refinement in the electronics, for the electronic clutch handle, and some small function to do on the brakes and ergonomics, that is all.” 

And when the prototype is totally dialed in, he’s confident it will be a specific vehicle. “The method is to make it drive like a WRC vehicle, and I am confident that down a tight and twisty lane it is going to blow away any contemporary supercar. The P25 is a useful supercar.”

Joining Higgins input for the P25’s fine-tuning will be a total roster of planet-class drivers. 9-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb is now a contracted Prodrive driver (piloting the Prodrive BRX in the Dakar) will get seat time, as will Jonny Adam, a factory Aston Martin driver, who will get behind the wheel to make confident its tarmac dealing with abilities will be on par with its rally stage prowess. For the up coming couple of months they and other check drivers will be doing work with the engineers on specifics like throttle pedal mapping and center diff mapping, which can be greatest accomplished in a actual planet setting. “The finish consequence will be that the vehicle is truly secure, that it constantly does what you anticipate of it,” Thompson summarizes.

“Where did the 25 Impreza shells come from?” I asked. “For the previous 18 months we’ve been seeking for the greatest GC8 [two-door Imprezas of this generation] donor vehicles with zero rust on them. They do nevertheless exist, and truthfully, it is a small unhappy to strip them,” Thompson explains. “We media blast the entire body shells, dip them, apply any remedial function if it is necessary and modify them somewhat for the new EJ25 engine. Also there are some kinematic modifications and other folks for the gearbox set up, the turbo, wiring loom, and dash displays. The develop time for the vehicles is extremely labour intensive, but with the good quality of the components and the sum worth of our thirty many years encounter going into these vehicles, what you will finish up with is a extremely large worth machine.” 

A couple of small stats of this specific vehicle: beneath the carbon fiber hood is a two.five-liter, 4-cylinder EJ25 boxer engine with variable cam tuning fitted with a Garett turbo with anti-lag so that it puts out about 400bhp and 600Nm (~442lb-ft) of torque. This is mated to a 6-velocity X-shift gearbox with semi-automated paddle shift. Gear modifications are aided by an AP Racing twin-plate clutch and for rally vehicle design dealing with an lively and adjustable electronic center diff. To preserve the fat down, practically all of the bodywork (such as the hood, trunk, wing, side skirts, mirrors, and the roof panel) is produced from carbon fiber composites, this kind of that the total bundle weighs about two,650lbs. Stopping energy is offered by 380mm vented 6-pot brakes on the front axles and 350mm 4-pots on the rears. It has a significantly remarkable -62mph time of just three.five seconds, but Richard thinks that on competitors spec tires it could get that down a couple of tenths, even even more into supercar territory. 

Only twenty-5 examples will be produced and regardless of a honest couple of disparaging remarks on social media, they will not all be stored parked up accruing worth in collections. “I know for a reality that they will be driven at track days and will be on a frozen lake in Scandinavia someplace. I am pleased to say that they are going to be appreciated by fanatics!” Thompson says with real pleasure. Soon after all, this is Prodrive, and they are not truly in the organization of creating garage queens.