After a 12-month joint development programme involving teams at Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) in Japan and the Subaru World Rally Team (SWRT) in England, the latest evolution of the Subaru Impreza World Rally Car, the Impreza WRC2005, made its competitive debut on 11 March at Rally Mexico. The eagerly anticipated new model replaces the Impreza WRC2004, the car that propelled Petter Solberg to five WRC victories in the 2004 season and to another win on its final event, Rally Sweden.
With six World Rally Championship titles and 44 outright rally wins in the past 12 seasons, the Impreza has been the defining car in Subaru's elevation from road car manufacturer to legend in world rallying. From its inception in 1993, the Impreza has provided a sensory assault on motorsport fans across the globe, and the latest model, the result of more than ten years of rallying experience, will ensure the car remains at the top of the WRC throughout the current season. Featuring a wider track, revised styling, composite body panels and a host of engine and suspension enhancements, the Impreza WRC2005 is the ultimate development of a rally car and represents a landmark in the collaboration between engineering and design teams in the UK and Japan.
Built to take full advantage of the FIA's revised world rally car dimensions, the Impreza WRC2005 bodyshell is wider than its predecessor by 30mm, which gives it a slightly more aggressive look in the front and rear wheel arches. Another fresh feature of the exterior styling is the carefully sculpted wheel arches, penned by the Japanese stylists, which help balance the increased track with the design of the front and rear bodywork. As well as being stiffer than the WRC2004, the bodyshell of the Impreza WRC2005 features more composite panels than any of its predecessors. These include new front and rear wheel arches, in addition to the front and rear bumpers.
At the front end, the layout of the radiator and Turbo intercooler follows the same basic concept as before, but has been further refined. The re-styled front bumper incorporates lessons learned over the last 12 months and efficiently manages the flow of air around the front of the car and through the cooling systems. To ensure the new car goes as well as it looks, the engine and suspension systems have been modified. Subaru's 1994cc horizontally opposed 'boxer' engine receives a wide range of performance enhancing upgrades, including a new IHI Turbo-charger, new water and Fuel Injection systems, a lighter flywheel and a host of other lightweight components.
The Subaru six-speed electro-hydraulic gearbox, first introduced in 1999, benefits from the addition of latest-specification hydraulic components. Inside the cockpit the on-board electronics systems have been re-packaged into a number of separate modules, allowing for easier servicing during rallies. Components in the car's suspension system have been improved and the geometry has changed to take into account the new width. To reduce flex in individual parts, the latest computer design techniques were used to improve the weight/stiffness ratio of each component, while changes to the suspension strut mountings allow for quicker camber adjustments.
Company press release, last updated on May 02, 2005