Subaru hasn’t taken the wraps off the 2022 WRX STI quite yet, but its performance division is keeping busy in other ways. Chiefly, by going racing. But while Subaru has a heavy rallying presence, its competition portfolio is broader than that. For example, though it hasn’t replaced BMW or Audi in Formula E, Subaru is investing more in electric racers. And with some help from Yamaha, it’s hitting the Nurburgring ground hard with the new Subaru STI E-RA Concept.
Yamaha’s hyper-EV electric motors give the 2022 Subaru STI E-RA over 1000 hp
Besides motorcycles, scooters, UTVs, and musical instruments, Yamaha has also dabbled in cars from time to time. Famously, it helped Lexus with the LFA’s V10 engine. And in 2021, it announced a new electric crate motor that made up to 469 hp.
Yamaha claimed that its ‘Interior Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor,’ as it was called then, could power anything from EV-swapped classics to new hypercars. But at the time, it was still in the prototype stage. Now, though, the IPMSM is finally ready to party. And not only does it have a new name, but it’s also found its first home: the Subaru STI E-RA Concept.
Dubbed ‘emotional electric engines,’ the Subaru STI E-RA Concept packs four of these Yamaha motors, one per wheel. So, not only does it have AWD, but it also develops 1073 hp. In addition, thanks to the Yamaha-developed inverter and multiple onboard sensors, the STI E-RA has four-wheel torque-vectoring, too. And it fuels all this speed with a 60-kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
The Subaru STI E-RA Concept is ready to hit the Nurburgring
Even though it’s technically a concept, the Subaru STI E-RA is racetrack-legal. Subaru says it’s built to the FIA’s E-GT electric racing standards, Car and Driver reports. So, if the company wanted to, it could take this EV racing. And it will.
Like Volkswagen did in Baja with the ID.4, Subaru and Yamaha want to use competition to improve their electric tech. Initially, Subaru plans to let the STI E-RA Concept loose on some Japanese circuits in 2022. Hence the serious-looking rear wing, front splitter, and body kit. The roof-mounted scoop seems odd, seeing as this is an electric Subaru race car. But it might provide cooling air for the battery pack.
The Japanese-circuit testing is just that, though—testing. Subaru has something else in mind for its race car concept’s initial goal: the Nurburgring.
No, seriously, this EV concept has got the ‘Ring in its sights
As of this writing, the Tesla Model S Plaid holds the (unofficial) production EV record at the Nurburgring: 7:30.9 minutes. But the Volkswagen ID.R holds the overall EV record, with a time of 6:05.336 minutes.
Given that the STI E-RA Concept is Subaru’s first real electric race car, the automaker isn’t going for an outright record. Instead, it’s aiming to lap the ‘Ring in no more than 6:40 minutes, or a nice round 400 seconds. But if the STI E-RA hits that time, that would put it just behind the fastest production car at the ‘Ring, the 991.2-gen Porsche 911 GT2 RS.
If the Japanese testing goes smoothly, Subaru hopes to hit the Nurburgring by 2023. Fingers crossed that the STI E-RA lays down a shocking pace.
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