• 1992
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010_1
  • 2010_2
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014

GDB-type Impreza WRX STI completed its first race in 14th overall

GDB-type Impreza WRX STI (E-type) prepared by Prova Racing Division of Japan entered the Nürburgring 24-Hour Race on 7 and 8 May. As team drivers, the Japanese trio of Kazuo Shimizu, Kumi Sato and Toshihiro Yoshida were joined by Stephane Sarrazin from France, a tarmac rally specialist from the SUBARU World Rally Team.
The race machine had specifications based on the Group N car which was doing well in the Production Car World Rally Championship (P-WRC). The final race of the 24-hour race that year was supposed to start at 3:00pm on 7 May. However since heavy rain fell when a rolling start was about to begin, the race actually got underway at 3:20pm.
The first driver to go out was Kazuo Shimizu starting from 42nd overall, 10th in the A6 class. He passed 18 cars and climbed up to 24th after a chaotic first lap in the rain by taking advantage of the symmetrical AWD. He climbed to 21st position on Lap 5, and handed the car over to Stephane Sarrazin after 6 laps. Two hours into the race, at 5 pm, the Impreza was 22nd overall and 7th in the class. Then, after a trouble-free run for 12 hours at 3:00am, it reached 18th overall, and 3rd in the A6 class.
With less than 6 hours remaining at 9:30 in the morning, Kumi Sato took the wheel, and was running 4 minutes 10 seconds behind the class-leading car on the same lap. At about 10:30, however, large hailstones about 5mm in diameter hit the track and Sato managed to control the car and bring it back to the pit a lap earlier than planned, struggling with poor visibility before Shimizu could take over.
Final driver Yoshida crossed the finish line at 3:00 in the afternoon. The SUBARU Impreza WRX STI in its first outing at the Nürburgring, completed 124 laps, and finished 14th overall and 2nd in the class. It is well worth mentioning that despite its first race, the Impreza challenged Nürburgring regular competitors and completed the 24-hour race without any trouble on a circuit that is over 25km long.
Sarrazin said, "It was a good race. Despite being almost a standard car, our Impreza managed the 6th or 7th fastest time amongst over 200 cars. Of course, it would've been better to have a class win, but it was a good experience for me, the other drivers, and the team. We tried the new aero part (roof vane) to test during the race and it worked very well as the car was very stable at high speeds".