There’s no getting away from what a stunning piece of technology and automotive engineering the Porsche 918 Spyder was when it was revealed to the world a couple of years ago, and it was no surprise when it put in an amazing lap time at the world famous Nurburgring. It’s only right then that we would have expected a genuine challenge to that lap time to come from some equally advanced hybrid hypercar, but Subaru has come extremely close to beating the 918’s time without an electric motor in sight with its WRX STI Type RA NBR.
To be fair to both Porsche and Subaru, the WRX STI Type RA NBR isn’t exactly your run-of-the-mill car by any means. In fact, it’s actually a specially-built race car and the somewhat distant cousin of the WRX STI Type RA production car that takes its name from this race car. The type RA NBR Special is really an upgraded version of the model Subaru took to the Isle of Man time trial last year, where it broke the old record already held by Subaru.
Prodrive actually built the car and at the heart of it is a 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four that has been designed and built primarily for rally use. The additional wizardry carried out on the car has led to it now developing in excess of 600 horsepower at 8,500 rpm, which is 50 horsepower more than it was capable of last year.
Work has also been done to update and enhance the Subaru’s aerodynamics, which means it provides an incredible 650 pounds of downforce at the RA NBR’s top speed. The power-adjustable rear wing is still present from last year though, and the driver is able to adjust the angle of the rear wing to reduce drag and increase speed on straights with just the press of a button. As well as the power and aerodynamic upgrades, other contributing factors to the stunning performance of the Subaru are the nine-inch wide slick tires it rides on and its rally-spec sequential transmission that’s capable of shifting gears in as little as 20 to 25 milliseconds.
As for the lap time itself, the…