There’s a powerful and nostalgic heritage behind the name of the motorsports and performance subsidiary of Subaru Corporation, Subaru Tecnica International. STi. Three letters that have commanded the respect and passion of performance car enthusiasts for three decades. In thirty years, these three letters have adorned the racing lapels of motorsport royalty, dominated the world stage of rally and circuit racing and carved out a reputation for slaying the most venerated competition.
Officially registered in April 1988, STi made headlines from the very beginning, breaking the World Speed Endurance record in a 220-hp (164kW) Legacy RS RA. The car completed 100,000 kilometres over 20 days at an average speed of 223.34km/h.
In 1993, Subaru debuted a new blue and yellow Legacy RS race car driven by Scotsman, Colin McCrae who piloted his car to a first victory for the team at the New Zealand rally.
In 1994, STI signed WRC Champion Carlos Sainz to the team and together with McCrae, became the team to watch that season. Subaru placed second overall in the 1994 World Rally Championship with Sainz placing second in the drivers’ standings and Colin McCrae fourth. From 1995 to 1997, Subaru dominated the WRC winning the constructors’ championships for three years in succession, making world champions of Colin McCrae and Tommi Makinen in the process. It was a hat-trick of victories that cemented the signature Subaru STi World Rally Blue hue and rumbling sound into the minds of fans the world over.
Thereafter, the STi-team continued to be competitive runners-up for several seasons before the Subaru Impreza STi crowned another driver’s champion Petter Solberg in 2003. The Subaru’s dominance on the world rally stage was testament to its versatility and all-round ability on every terrain the world rally stage had to offer.
Having achieved so much in rallying, STi officially withdrew from the World Rally stage in 2008 and instead focused on endurance racing. In 2008, it entered a WRX STI in Germany’s 24 Hours of the Nurburgring. The narrative reads very similar to the WRC story – STi has dominated the SP3T class in which it competes, winning in 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2018, often in the most treacherous wet weather.
In just 30 years, STi has crowned Subaru with 3 Constructors World Rally Championship titles, 3 World Rally Championship Driver’s titles, 47 World Rally Championship overall wins and 5 class wins in Germany’s 24-Hour Nürburgring races. This excludes the myriad championship victories by Subaru works teams in regional rally exploits in Canada, America and Australia.
Apart from these, there are numerous land speed and production car record honours including the famous 2016 Isle of Man lap record as well as the 2018 record 40-minute 58,8 second speed run of the infamous Transfăgărășan Highway in Romania. Both of these feats were completed by veteran rally ace Mark Higgins in specially prepped WRX STi’s.