Subaru turned its WRX STI into a 600-horsepower monster that eats supercars

It may be based on a humble economy car, but this Subaru WRX STI just lapped one of the world’s most grueling racetracks as fast as some elite supercars.

A specially modified version of the WRX STI recently lapped Germany’s 12.8-mile Nurburgring Nordschleife in 6:57.5. Subaru claims that’s a record for a sedan, and at any rate it puts the car in some elite company. The Subaru is virtually tied with the mighty Porsche 918 Spyder, and just a few seconds behind the Lamborghini Huracán LP640-4 Performante, which did a 6:52.01 lap.

Granted, the car used in the record attempt isn’t an ordinary WRX STI. You have to add “Type RA NBR Special” to get the full name. “RA” stands for “record attempt” and “NBR” stands for “Nurburgring,” in case you were wondering. It’s a completely different animal from the car people can actually buy.

The Type RA NBR Special uses a stock WRX STI body shell, but a full roll cage was welded to it to increase structural rigidity and protect the driver in the event of a crash. Swollen bodywork conceals 9.0-inch wide racing slicks, and more aggressive aerodynamic bits produce 650 pounds of downforce. The car even has a Formula One-style Drag Reduction System, which changes the angle of the rear wing to allow temporary bursts of extra speed.

Most importantly, the car’s  2.0-liter turbocharged boxer-four engine produces 600 horsepower, or about twice the amount of a stock WRX STI. That power is channeled to all four wheels (this is a Subaru, after all) through a racing gearbox that uses hydraulically actuated paddle shifters. The trick transmission can shift gears in just 20 to 25 milliseconds, according to Subaru.

It probably goes without saying, but you can’t get a car like this at a Subaru dealer. However, Subaru will sell you a WRX STI Type RA special edition inspired by the record-breaking car. The Type RA gets a modest boost in power, upgraded brakes and suspension, and some model-specific styling elements. No hydraulic paddle shifters, though.

Subaru seems to have records on the brain. Last year, another specially-modified WRX STI set a record on the Isle of Man TT course, and earlier this month one of the automaker’s rally drivers became the fastest person ever on the Mt. Washington Hillclimb.

Updated: Added video

Cars

Formula 1 is putting data in the driver’s seat, and not all racers are happy

After a single weekend of racing, a Formula 1 pit crew typically pulls around 2TB of data from the car. Everything, from tire pressure to the temperature of the track, is recorded and analyzed in the name of boosting performance -- and not…
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Gaming

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.
Cars

Shift it yourself: How to drive stick in a manual transmission car

Driving a manual transmission car might seem intimidating at first, but it's not as difficult as you might think. Knowing how to operate this type of gearbox will serve you well. Here's everything you need to know to learn how to drive…
Cars

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Cars

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.
Cars

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.
Cars

Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.
Cars

The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini is in the final stages of developing an electric version of the Cooper. The 2020 Cooper SE will receive powertrain components from the BMW i3, including a 181-horsepower electric motor and battery technology.
Product Review

By adding features, tech, and all-wheel drive, Mazda puts the 3 in a class of one

Since its introduction in 2003, Mazda’s compact Mazda3 has been a mainstay of the brand’s driver-oriented strategy. Mazda now plans to move upmarket, and the all-new 2019 Mazda3 offers some clues about how that’s going to work.
Cars

Tesla Model 3 vulnerability exposed at Pwn2Own; hackers take home the car

A Tesla Model 3 vulnerability was exposed at the Pwn2Own hacking competition. The hackers, who were able to display a message on the electric vehicle's internet browser, won $35,000 and took home the car.
Cars

Is this electric car startup the next Tesla, or will it go the way of Coda?

The electric car startup formerly known as EVelozcity has changed its name to Canoo. It also announced a lineup of four cars including a commuter-friendly model and a lifestyle-oriented car. Its first electric vehicles will begin to appear…