One of the world largest touring car races – the Nürburgring 24-Hour Race was held at the Nürburgring circuit (25.378km/lap), located in a hilly region of western Germany, from 23 to 26 June 2011. A SUBARU WRX STI 4-door model from Subaru Tecnica International Inc. (STI) entered the SP3T class, which is for sub-2 litre turbo-charged vehicles. It completed the 24-hour race without any problems or accidents to come in 21st overall and win the class. For the most part, their race went as planned, and turned out perfectly.
With over about 210 cars starting together, the Nürburgring 24-Hour Race is famous for the number of entries as well as the narrow tracks which go through a forest area. STI first participated in this race in 2008, and this was their fourth time here. Since their first outing at Nürburgring, STI has been aiming for a class win and steadily improving their cars’ performance. The car for this year was built for races based on the STI complete car – the WRS STI tS. Following last year’s result of 4th in its class in the 24-hour race, this year, the team competed in the 6-hour VLN endurance race, which had taken place on the same Nürburgring circuit on 14 May, with an eye on a class win in the big race. In this shorter event, drivers familiarised themselves to the new car and the track, and the car was worked out to suit the course conditions. As for the drivers who got behind the wheel of the WRX STI, the team brought back Toshihiro Yoshida, who has a lot of experience in this race, as well as Carlo van Dam from Holland and Marcel Engels from Germany, who both joined the team last year. As the 4th driver, the team brought in Kouta Sasaki – a regular SUPER GT driver.
The final race kicked off at 4:00pm on the 25th in wet conditions. Starting from 6th position in the class as a result of the qualifying, the WRX STI moved up several places to take over the lead in its class by the 1-hour mark. The condition turned dry later on, but it held on to top position and made it through to the end after 24 hours. It ran a total of 142 laps, which is around 3,603.7km through a day and a night. Team Manager Hideharu Tatsumi, General Manager of STI’s Vehicle Experiment Department, said, “this time, the purpose was to fight against the world’s best cars with a car that STI developed and to win. I am very pleased we achieved this goal. We’ve been able to prove here that STI’s direction in creating cars is not wrong. I hope that we’ve been able to convey our message – that STI cars provide pleasure, to as many SUBARU owners as possible.”