On April 2, 1988, STI was born.
Exactly 30 years ago yesterday, Subaru officially launched its performance and motorsport division, Subaru Tecnica International, or simply, STI. Since April 2, 1988, STI has become a dominant player in the world of rally racing, taking Subaru to three World Rally Championships, 47 WRC overall wins, and four class wins in the 24 Hours of Nurburgring, an event STI will once again compete in next month. Last July, a WRX ST Type RA NBR set a new sedan lap record at the Nurburgring with a time of 6:57.5.
This same car also set lap records at the Isle of Man TT and the Goodwood Festival of Speed hill climb. A total of just 500 street-legal 2018 WRX Type RA unitswent on sale in the in US not long after. Even before STI got started, Subaru’s racing history began in 1972 when a GL raced in Australia’s Southern Cross Rally. Three years later, Subaru entered the first four-wheel drive car in the WRC. In 1989, STI built its first car, the turbocharged Legacy RS RA, under the tutelage of STI founder and president Ryuichiro Kuze. It broke the FIA World Speed Endurance Record for 62,000 miles over the course of 20 days on an Arizona track with an average speed of 138 mph.
The 1990 Safari Rally was STI’s next challenge, followed by the WRC. The Legacy scored Subaru’s first win in 1993 at the New Zealand Rally. In 1994, STI switched from the Legacy to the more compact Impreza, and it never looked back. Victories continued to pile up and the STI team won the manufacturers’ titles in 1995, 1996 and 1997. It took until 2004 for the WRX STI to go on sale in the US, powered by a turbocharged boxer engine with 300 hp and paired to a six-speed manual with power, of course, sent to all four wheels. Since then, the WRX STI has been redesigned several times and remains a fan favorite today.