Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Car

Many people wonder where my love of cars comes from and how it manifests itself in my life today. Well, I think it’s time people realized the wonderful world of automotive marketing. So, let me introduce the 2005 Subaru Impreza WRX Sti.

Well, since I adored karting as a child, I ended up with a love of many kinds of open-wheel racing. Formula 1 has since then become my staple. But through the years, I still wanted more application; racing that showed me more relevance. I then discovered that the same automotive body that governs Formula 1 also governs the World Rally Championship.

Now, while the “WRC” cars are mocked up versions of the vehicles they represent, the P-WRC cars are essentially the cars we buy.

The P-WRC is a support championship to the WRC, open to drivers or teams using near-standard road cars which are mechanically identical to those sold in the dealer showroom, with modifications made only to improve driver safety.

So, naturally I was ecstatic when I made the purchase of my car. As a fan I get to actually drive the vehicle that the pros do. Now, with all that said, I found out that the amount of control that these drivers have is exceptional, which is why I believe cruise control comes standard on these cars. And as I found out, when on public roads (i.e. driving from stage to stage or back to the service park), the drivers also use cruise control which has even been installed in the premier WRC vehicles. Obeying the law is of course the priority.

And as far as I understand it, there is one more difference between my car and the P-WRC cars. They use the Japanese spec Subaru WRX Sti’s. The difference there is that they use a 2.0 liter engine with more boost from the turbo, whereas US-spec Sti’s use a 2.5 liter engine with less boost. (The WRC clearly states that when they homologated the cars, that 2.0 liter was the maximum displacement).

So, essentially, in the end, I’m a horrible victim of marketing. I see my own vehicle as a bona fide race car (even though it’s the Japanese spec car they use in the WRC) because Subaru decided to make the car available to the American market. The caveat here in the US is that I highly doubt the majority of Subaru owners would give two cents about rally cars and their heritage. So, buying an Sti for them wouldn't mean what it means to me exactly. To put it simply, the Japanese marketers didn't exactly get these cars to sell in the US thanks to rallying, but rather to the movie franchise known as The Fast and the Furious.
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