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With the glamor of the Goodwood Festival of Speed behind us, car enthusiasts in Britain will no doubt turn their attention to the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power. This annual event is held at Cholmondeley Castle in Cheshire.
At this year’s event, which runs from July 15 to 17, a very special Subaru is hoping to take the crown as the fastest car on this challenging 1.2-mile track. This special Subaru is an Impreza STi that has been tuned by Cosworth. The model is called the STi CS400 and produces 395-hp. Apart from the power gain over the standard model, the car also gets lighter 18-inch wheels by Pro-Race, and six-piston caliper brakes by AP Racing.
Taking the fastest car crown at this track won’t be easy, since there will be some other fast machines hoping to take the glory. Cars such as the Ariel Atom V8, Lamborghini Gallardo LP-570-4 Performante, and the McLaren MP4-12C are just some of the other cars taking part. Last year, a Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera set the fastest time ever on this circuit with a time of 62.68 seconds.
To give the Cosworth STi its best chance of winning, the car will be piloted by British Rally Champion Mark Higgins. He recently set the fastest timed lap of the Isle of Man TT circuit in a Impreza STi. So they have the right man for the job, but will the car deliver? That we have to wait and see.
Mitsubishi‘s Lancer Evolution offers a dual-clutch gearbox on their top of the line MR model, but Subaru only offers a manual gearbox on their flagship Impreza WRX STI. But that’s about to change in Australia, where the STI will soon be available with a 5-speed automatic.
According to Subaru Australia, demand for an automatic WRX STI has been quite strong. With Australia being such an important market for Subaru, the company was happy to acquiesce to the demands of slushbox-coveting driving enthusiasts. Don’t be surprised if this shows up Stateside, where 91% of new cars are automatics.
According to a recent report by Car & Driver, the 2011 Subaru Impreza WRX STI sedan is three years late to the party for a number of reasons. Initially, Subaru decided to focus its efforts on the hatchback body style for the current generation STI because of advantages this body shape would provide their WRC rally cars (eg. shorter rear overhang, making it easier to slide sidways through tight spaces).
When Subaru abruptly ended its factory-backed WRC program in 2008, dealerships were left with a 5-door hatchback body style that wasn’t able to win buyers with a link to the car’s appearance in the WRC. This opened the door for Subaru to begin developing a 4-door sedan version, a body shape STI buyers have long associated with this ultimate Subaru thanks to the WRC success of drivers like Colin McRae, Richard Burns and Peter Solberg. We’ve always loved hot hatches, but we have to admit that the STI just looks “right” with a sedan trunk and a big obnoxious wing mounted on it.
Returning to the sedan body style offers more than just improved looks though. Subaru claims the sedan has 5 percent less drag than the hatchback, allowing it to reach a higher top speed. Subaru says the sedan should be marginally lighter than the hatch, too.
Interestingly, Subaru hired 4-time WRC Champion Tommi Makinen to test drive the new STI sedan around the Nurburgring, despite his championships all coming with rival Mitsubishi. Nevertheless, the combination of a rally racing legend and the new STI sedan made for the fastest Ring lap time ever recorded by a factory-stock STI. For a little history on the STI’s development at the Ring and an in-depth look at the new STI sedan, check out the video after the jump.
GALLERY: 2011 Subaru WRX STI Sedan Nurburgring Record
[Source: Car & Driver]