March 2, 2005 The latest evolution of Subaru's Impreza World Rally Car will debut on March 11 at Rally Mexico, the third round of the 2005 World Rally Championship. Jointly developed by the Subaru World Rally Team (SWRT), Fuji Heavy Industries (the maker of Subaru vehicles), and Subaru Tecnica International (STI), the brand's performance arm, the Impreza WRC2005 will be debuted in the hands of Petter Solberg.
The new car is 30mm wider (for a total 1800mm), and the body shell has been re-designed, including the front bumper and the front and rear fenders. The shell was designed by the Advanced Design Team at FHI, taking account of aerodynamics, cooling and driving performance in rallies. Composite material is newly adopted for the front and rear fenders to make the shell stiffer and lighter.
The design team at FHI, led by Andreas Zapatinas, finalized styling in close collaboration with SWRT.
The turbocharged, horizontally-opposed, four-cylinder, 16-valve, EJ20 engine uses Subaru's Programmable Electronic Engine Management System and offers enhanced performance over the 2004 model. The EJ20 has a bore or 92.0mm and a stroke of 75.0mm for a capacity of 1994cc and maximum power of 300bhp @ 5500rpm with peak torque of 60kg-m @ 4000rpm.
A wide range of performance upgrades includes a direct water injection system and a larger turbocharger housing for stable engine combustion, plus a lighter flywheel and other lightweight components.
The reliability of the Six-speed electro-hydraulic gearbox has been enhanced with a new mechanism for the front differential. Both differentials are electro-hydraulically controlled.
FHI and STI have established a motor sport engineering development project called "MSi", promoting rally car development and using facilities and technology for production car development. Its work contributes to the development of a "quick and strong" rally car and also the performance and design of production cars.
The Impreza WRC 2005 is a development of the 2004 car designed under the guidance of ex Formula One car designer Ed Wood (UK). The 2004 model won five events in 2004, driven by Petter Solberg (Norway), the 2003 WRC Driver's Champion. Solberg added another win on its final event, the second round of 2005 WRC, Rally Sweden.
Solberg is now a firm second favourite with bookmakers for the drivers title being quoted at 2.8 behind Citroen's Sebastien loeb at 2.3, Ford's Toni Gardemeister and Peugeot team-mates Markko Martin and Marcus Gronholm, all at 9.0.
With two strong teams, Peugeot retains favoritism for the manufacturers crown ahead of Citroen and points-leader Ford. Solberg's lack of a high-profile team-mate and hence point scorer if Solberg's car breaks sees it languishing behind Ford at 7.0 with the bookies.