• Subaru WRX STI Type RA Time Attack Special Drops the Hammer at The Transfăgărășan Pass

The record-killing WRX STi Type RA Time Attack Special has claimed another victim

The Subaru WRX STI Type RA Time Attackcar has been shredding records left and right since it burst into the scene and lit the Nurburgring up on its way to becoming the fastest four-door sedan to ever lap the Green Hell. Now, the one-off creation is at it again with a new record in its cap after laying the smack down on Romania’s iconic and super dangerous Transfăgărășan Pass. Three-time British Rally Champion Mark Higgins and co-driver Darren Garrod piloted the WRX STI Type RA Time Attack to its latest record-setting feat, completing the Pass in 40 minutes and 58.8 seconds.

The Subaru WRX STI Type RA Time Attack is some type of car. Built as a one-off with the help of Prodrive, the performance sedan is a potent beast with 600 horsepower on tap. But it’s not just about power, either. The purpose-built machine drips in carbon fiber aerodynamics bits, including a rear spoiler that keeps it firmly planted on the ground at high speeds. More to that, the WRX STI Type RA Time Attack features a high-performance intake and exhaust and a heavily modified suspension that has allowed it to gobble up record lap times one after the other. It became the fastest four-door sedan at the Nurburgring with an incredible lap time of 6:57.5. To put that into context, the Porsche 918 Spyder only has a 0.5-second edge over the raunchy Subie. It also set the record lap for a car at the Isle of Man in 2016 when it completed the 37.73-mile course in 17:49.75, beating the previous record by a whopping two minutes.

With lap records falling by the wayside, Subaru of America and Prodrive looked to a different challenge, and they found one in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains, the home of one of the most dangerous roads in the world, the Transfăgărășan Pass. If the ‘Ring and the Isle of Man offered their own set of challenges, the Transfăgărășan Pass is on another level as far as challenges are concerned.

The road stretches for 52.4 miles and includes 688 turns and a maximum elevation of 6,699 feet.

Beyond the gaudy numbers, the Pass also has steep ravines, tricky corners, challenging weather conditions, and road surfaces that no one’s going to confuse as smooth.

Subaru WRX STI Type RA Time Attack Special Drops the Hammer at The Transfăgărășan Pass
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It was billed as the “ultimate challenge” for the Subaru WRX STI Type RA Time Attack, and it certainly lived up to that billing. Or so we think it did.

With three-time British Rally Champion Mark Higgins behind the wheel — he’s the same driver who drove the Subie to its record-setting lap time at the Isle of Man — the WRX STI Type RA Time Attack completed the 53.4-mile Transfăgărășan Pass in 40:58.08, doing so with an average speed of 76.2 mph.

That’s not a misprint. The WRX STI Type RA Time Attack slithered its way in one of the most frightening roads in the world at an average speed that would get all of us booked in the U.S. As an extra shot of perspective, it takes more than three hours to complete the same course at legal speeds. If that’s not difficult enough in it of itself, Higgins and navigator Darren Garrod completed the course while battling fog in certain sections of the course. Try doing that without pissing yourselves.

Understandably, Subaru is all psyched about this run. It even created a seven-minute video documenting the entire experience. But before anybody starts kneeling at the WRX STI Type RA Time Attack’s altar, it’s also important to establish some context into this “record” run. It is a record, sure, but not because it beat somebody else’s time like it did at the Isle of Man. It’s a record because nobody has ever closed the Transfăgărășan Pass to establish a time over it. Even if somebody else did — Subaru told Car and Driver that “some guy in a Ferrari” tried it once — it’s hard to compare times with what is essentially a one-off, purpose-built, record-killing car that doesn’t qualify as a production model or a race car.

Subaru WRX STI Type RA Time Attack Special Drops the Hammer at The Transfăgărășan Pass
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That said, don’t mistake this as a slight on the Subaru WRX STI Type RA Time Attack. On the contrary, it’s a testament to Subaru’s decision to build this car for the singular purpose of having fun with it.

Since it was launched in 2016, it’s broken the Isle of Man course record, lapped the Nurburgring faster than any four-door sedan in history, and went wild on one of the hairiest roads in the world.

It’s hard to imagine what’s next for the Subaru WRX STI Type RA Time Attack, but rest assured, Subaru’s going to find new challenges for this incredible machine to conquer.

Further reading

2018 Subaru WRX STI Type RA High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the Subaru WRX STI Type RA.

2018 Subaru WRX STI High Resolution Exterior
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Subaru WRX STI- $36,095

Read our full review on the 2018 Subaru WRX STI.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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