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The 670-HP Subaru Project Midnight Is Anything But Your Typical WRX

WRX-based Subaru Project Midnight 12 photos
Photo: Subaru / edited
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Subaru Motorsport USA has unleashed the "quickest and fastest WRX race car to date" in the form of Project Midnight. A time-attack monster with a widebody kit made from lightweight carbon fiber, this fellow boasts a lighter chassis than its road-going brother.
Tipping the scales at 2,469 pounds (1,120 kilograms) compared to 3,329 pounds (1,510 kilograms) for the manual-equipped WRX, this incredibly badass tarmac special was built for outright speed. You can think of it as the successor to the Gymkhana car known as the Airslayer. Gifted with 18- by 11-inch magnesium wheels instead of 17s for the Airslayer, the newcomer will debut in the flesh at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

You know, Lord March's playground for all things four and two wheels. Goodwood FoS will run between July 11 and July 14 this year, and the festival's theme is pompously dubbed Horseless to Hybrid – Revolutions in Power. You won't find any electrical assistance under the hood of Project Midnight, and neither will you find a WRX-derived 2.4-liter turbo H4.

Instead, the folks at Subaru Motorsport USA decided on a 2.0-liter unit with a redline of 9,500 revolutions per minute. Said powerhouse is a development of the rallycross engine that helped Scott Speed finish runner-up in the 2021 Nitro Rallycross Teams Championship.

Speed raced for Scuderia Toro Rosso from 2006 to 2007, only to be replaced by a then-unknown youngster by the name of Sebastian Vettel. The American racing driver switched to stock car racing in the United States, competed in the Super Trofeo North America, then Formula E, the Global Rallycross Championship, and the Americas Rallycross Championship.

Speed and Subaru have been joined at the hip since 2019, the year he fractured his vertebrae at the Nitro World Games 2019. Designed to enable Speed take on new challenges and hopefully set new records, Project Midnight is rated at 670 horses and 680 pound-feet (922 Nm).

WRX\-based Subaru Project Midnight
Photo: Subaru
Ludicrous indeed, especially when compared to the VA-series WRX STI and the current-generation WRX. The 2.5er of the old WRX STI develops 310 horsepower and 290 pound-feet (393 Nm) in road-going spec, whereas the VB-series WRX makes do with 271 horsepower and 258 pound-feet (350 Nm).

Equipped with a hood-exit exhaust, Project Midnight isn't merely low weight and immense power. This race-prepped sedan also knows aero, for it features a larger version of the WRX ARA24 gravel rally car. When it comes to suspension tuning, Subaru and Speed went for a tarmac-specific geometry.

Pictured on 18-inch Yokohama Advan A005 racing slicks, Project Midnight further stands out from the WRX for mere plebs like you and me with a SADEV six-speed sequential transmission instead of a good ol' manual or a CVT with eight simulated forward gears. According to the EPA, the WRX nets 22 miles to the gallon (10.7 liters per 100 kilometers) with the stick shift or 21 (11.2) with the CVT.

WRX prices kick off at $32,735 for model year 2024. The continuously variable transmission is optional on the Premium and Limited trim levels, and standard equipment on the GT.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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