The Suby WRX hit showrooms in the U.S. market in 2000, but its roots are far deeper in the Japanese market. In Japan, Subaru unleashed the wild Impreza WRX in 1992 with an astounding 237 horsepower under its hood. In the same year, Subaru also release the Type RA variant of the WRX, which was essentially a tripped down model that was intended for racing, thanks to its lack of features, lighter curb weight, tighter gear ratios and driver-controlled center differentials. In 1999, Subaru produced its final Type RA WRX and the following year, the Impreza WRX made its debut in the U.S.
Here we are, nearly 14 years since the last Type RA WRX made its way out of a Subaru factory and the Japanese automaker has just announced that it is resurrecting the famed moniker with the new WRX STI tS Type RA. On the outside, this model looks like any other old four-door WRX spec C found in Japanese dealers, but under the skin it is a whole different ballgame.
This beastly sedan features all of the suspension and braking upgrades needed to make it a true track monster. Additionally, its optional Tangerine Orange Pearl paint will certainly help you pick it out from a crowded parking lot.
Click past the jump to read all about the WRX STI tS Type RA
As we said earlier, the exterior of the Type RA variant isn’t much different than any other WRX STI spec C, but a keen eye can pick out the slight modifications. Up front, the Type RA features a slight chin spoiler to help add a little downforce to keep the car firmly planted to the tarmac. The Type RA also received some distinguishing badges, including exclusive "tS" badges on the front and rear; a "Type RA" badge on the rear, just below the "tS" badge; and the typical "STI" rounding it all out.
A final distinguishing characteristic is the set of black folding side-view mirrors on with integrated LED repeaters. While subtle, these mirrors definitely add some contrast to set the model apart, especially in the super-loud Tangerine color.
Additionally, the spec C model that the Type RA is based on has received numerous weight-saving mods that reduce its overall weight to just 1,420 kg (3,130 pounds) - roughly 255 pounds less than the U.S.-spec WRX STI.
Far be it for Subaru to release this special model without a few upgrades on the inside. Unfortunately for racing fans, this Type RA is not a stripped down racer like the earlier generations. Nope, this one comes with all of the basic features of a WRX STI spec C, plus an exclusive, leather-wrapped steering wheel with red contrast stitching; exclusive "tS" door-sill plates; An STI-designed leather shifter knob with and "STI" logo; red-contrast-stitched seats with an "STI" logo; and an STI-designed key ring.
We are sad that Subaru went against tradition on the Type RA by leaving it fully equipped, but we understand that modern-day driver’s want features and speed, so we can live with it.
Under the hood, the Type RA retains the same EJ20 turbocharged engine as the WRX STI spec C model, which puts it at 430 Nm (317 pound-feet) of torque between 3,200 rpm and 4,400 rpm, and about 300 horsepower. To help alleviate heat soak in the intercooler, Subaru also equips this engine with a water sprayer over the intercooler.
Suspension and Braking
The suspension and braking systems are where the Type RA takes the WRX STI to a new level. Up front, the Type RA receives STI-tuned upside down strut and STI coil springs, an STI-designed lateral links with a pillow ball bushings, Brembo six-piston monoblock calipers coated in gold with an STI logo and a set of 18-inch two-piece slotted rotors. On the rear, Suby added in STI-tuned dampers, STI coil springs, STI-designed lateral links with pillow ball bushings, Brembo two-piston calipers in gold with an STI logo and 17-inch slotted rotors. Both the front and rear suspension systems received a flexible draw stiffener to keep everything tight in the twist.
Suspension and brake mods are great, but you need something sticky to contact the road. Subaru met this need with 18-by8.5-inch STI-designed aluminum wheels in black wrapped up in 245/40R18 Bridgestone Potenza RE070 tires specially tuned for the Type RA.
For good measure, Subaru also installed an 11-to-1 ratio steering gear for quick changes of direction with minimal turns of the wheel.
Optional NBR Challenge Package
Also unveiled along with the Type RA is the all-new NBR Challenge Package, which honors the Nϋrburgring 24-Hour Race. This package adds in a two-angle adjustable dry-carbon-fiber spoiler, a set of black BBS 18-inch forged-aluminum rims and Recaro buckets wrapped up in Alcantara. For good measure, Subaru added in a Nürburgring Challenge sticker to the side of the WRX, so people know this car honors the famed circuit.
Pricing and Availability
Subaru has not released pricing details on the new Type RA, but we do know that ordering starts July 2nd and will run through December 23, 2013. However, if you want the Tangerine Orange Pearl model, you need to order it before August 25th. Subaru will limit the tS Type RA to only 300 units and the NBR Challenge Package will be limited to only 200 units.
We don’t see this package ever making it to the U.S.
The only true competitor for the WRX STI tS Type RA on the Japanese market is the 2013 Mazdaspeed3, and it is a fringe competitor at best. With its bulky hatchback design and 264 PS engine, the Mazdaspeed3 just cannot hang with the WRX. Don’t misunderstand us, they are both a blast to drive, but the WRX simply trumps it.
Well, the U.S. Subaru lovers will have to watch this one from a distance, as the chance of it ever making it here is about zero. Regardless of it not coming to the U.S., the upgrade is awesome and will likely turn the WRX STI into a sick machine on the track. The only downside that we can see is that it’ll likely be very expensive.
- Awesome suspension mods
- Based on lightweight and torque-heavy spec C package
- Ready to race
- Likely super expensive
- An optional stripped down package would be nice
Gallery Subaru WRX STI tS Type RA
STI Releases SUBARU “WRX STI tS TYPE RA” in Japan
Tokyo, July 2, 2013 – Subaru Tecnica International Inc. (STI)*1 today announced the release of the Subaru “WRX
STI tS TYPE RA” which goes on sale on July 2 through Subaru dealerships in Japan.
With a focus on suspension tuning, the exclusively-made items for this special performance edition have also been
adopted for its exterior and interior designs based on the 4-door WRX STI spec C. To further enhance the “strength
and nimbleness” driving committed by STI, its advanced driving performance such as sharper handling response
has been pursued.
A quick steering gearbox (steering gear ratio 11:1), “Brembo” front monoblock opposed 6-pot brake calipers and
grooved disc rotors have been employed to achieve driving performance as the “TYPE RA” model focusing on a
record-breaking lap time in motorsports. By the tuning of chassis and body performance combined with STI’s
unique flexible parts, basic vehicle attributes such as “running”, “turning” and “stopping” have been balanced at a
high level, providing a driver with sheer handling pleasure.
The “Tangerine Orange Pearl” exterior color available for a limited time has been adopted along with the
exclusively-made exterior parts such as a “tS” ornament. The body color makes a contrast with the black colored
door mirror cover, side garnish and aluminum wheel. Together they create a sharp image appropriate for a high
In addition, “NBR CHALLENGE PACKAGE” model which evokes the Nürburgring 24-Hour Race is released. It
features special equipments such as a STI designed dry carbon rear spoiler, “BBS” designed 18-inch forged
aluminum wheels and “Recaro” designed front bucket seat*2 with Alcantara.
- STI tuned upside down strut and STI coil springs for front suspension
- STI tuned damper and STI coil springs for rear suspension
- STI designed lateral link with pillow ball bush (front inside, rear inside)
- Brembo front monoblock opposed 6-pot brake caliper (gold with STI logo)
- Brembo front 18-inch 2 piece type grooved disc rotor
- Brembo rear opposed 2-pot brake caliper (gold with STI logo)
- Brembo rear 17-inch grooved disc rotor
- Exclusively-tuned Potenza RE070 245/40R18 tires
- STI designed 18-inch x 8 1/2J aluminum wheels (black)
- STI designed flexible tower bar, front
- STI designed flexible draw stiffener, front & rear
- STI designed support, front kit
- STI designed flexible support, rear
- Exclusively-made quick steering gearbox (steering gear ratio 11:1)
- STI designed front under spoiler
- Exclusively-made “tS” ornament (front & rear), “TYPE RA” ornament (rear) and “STI” ornament (rear)
- STI designed side garnish with STI logo (black)
- Black colored electric folding door mirror with LED side turn signal lamp
- Exclusively-made leather lapped steering wheel with red stitch
- STI designed leather shift knob with “STI” logo
- Front bucket seat with STI logo and red stitch
- Exclusively-made side sill plate with “tS” logo (front)
- STI designed leather key ring (red)
Equipment for NBR CHALLENGE PACKAGE-
- STI designed dry carbon rear spoiler (2 angle adjustable)
- BBS designed 18-inch x 8 1/2J forged aluminum wheels (black)
- Exclusively-made Nürburgring Challenge sticker (side)
- Recaro designed front bucket seat with STI logo and red stitch (Alcantara® / Leather, Manufacturer’s option)
- Maximum 300 units (must be pre-ordered by December 23, 2013)
- [Including maximum 200 units of NBR CHALLENGE PACKAGE]
- [Exterior color “Tangerine Orange Pearl” must be ordered by August 25, 2013]