Japanese Performance - - WHAT’S IN -

Pro­drive-built Sub­aru STI smashes Nür­bur­gring lap record, Ja­panese metal dom­i­nates at Good­wood Festival of Speed, show pre­views: Play­ers Show & Jap­show Fi­nale, 5 mins­ders Hilde­brand, HKS GTS800 caught in ac­tion, Mill­tek ‘Ac­tive Sound’ tech­nol­ogy, elec­tric cars to take over the world!

The Pro­drive-built Sub­aru Impreza we fea­tured last year has a new name and a new lap record. Now called the ‘Sub­aru WRX STI Type RA NBR Spe­cial’, its name takes al­most as long to read as it does for the car to com­plete a lap of the 12.9mile Nord­schleife!

Former Bri­tish Rally Cham­pion Mark Hig­gins was be­hind the wheel once more, set­ting a blis­ter­ing new lap record for a four-door saloon of 6min 57.5s. That’s in­sanely fast. It means the car now has two lap records, as it is also the fastest car to of­fi­cially record a lap time around the Isle of Man TT course (17min 35.1s).

Since record­ing the TT lap record and ap­pear­ing in JP, the car has been through a facelift. The aero pack­age has been com­pletely re­designed, de­liv­er­ing 295kg of down­force ac­cord­ing to Pro­drive. The engine is still a 2.0-litre turbo boxer kick­ing out 600bhp, while the drag re­duc­tion sys­tem also re­mains fully-func­tional, as does the WRC gear­box with its trick hy­draulic pad­dle-shift sys­tem that can swap cogs faster than you can blink.

For the Nür­bur­gring Nord­schleife record at­tempt the car was run­ning on 9in wide slick tyres. So this is very much an out-and-out race­car. Even so, a sub 7min full lap is stupidly fast – we’re


not talk­ing about the shorter bridge-to-gantry lap ei­ther. Mark clearly had his ‘big boy pants’ on that day.

Prior to set­ting the ’Ring record, Pro­drive took the­car to the Good­wood Festival of Speed. Once again Mark wowed the crowds with his max­i­mum-at­tack driv­ing style. In the fa­mous Good­wood FOS hill­climb shootout on the Sun­day af­ter­noon, he recorded a 48.25s run to fin­ish third fastest over­all. The only cars to beat the NBR Spe­cial up the hill were a Group C Jaguar XJR12D and a PenskeChevro­let PC22 Indy Car. An im­pres­sive car that shows what can hap­pen when the big boys turn their hand to per­for­mance tun­ing, with­out hav­ing to con­form to race regs.

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