Prodrive Turns GC8 Impreza WRX Into Ultimate Subaru 22B Homage

Prodrive P25 Subaru 22B tribute article highlights:

  • Prodrive, the British shop behind the 1990s WRC cars that led to the Subaru 22B, is making a modern homage, the P25
  • Based on an original GC8 Impreza WRX, the Prodrive P25 features a carbon-fiber body, 400-hp turbocharged boxer, and a host of suspension, brake, and drivetrain upgrades
  • With a $564,000-ish price tag and 25-unit production run only for the UK, the P25 is rarer and more expensive than an original 22B

Nostalgia, though a powerful force, isn’t the only thing that shapes the classic car world; respect does, too. And amongst rallying and JDM fans, few cars are as respected as the Subaru 22B. Often considered the ultimate Impreza, the 22B has inspired countless tribute builds and clones. But now, the minds behind the Subaru WRC cars that the 22B emulated are honoring it with an homage. And just like the original, the Prodrive P25 takes the WRX to a whole new level.

Legendary motorsports company Prodrive has another WRC-inspired GC8 Impreza

The blue 1996 Prodrive Subaru Impreza Group A WRC car driven by Pierro Liatti jumping at Rally Argentina
1996 Prodrive Subaru Impreza Group A WRC car | Prodrive

Many are at least casually familiar with Subaru Tecnica International, the ‘STI’ in ‘WRX STI’ and Subaru’s performance division. But there’s another name that’s worth remembering, and that’s Prodrive. The British shop has competed in all kinds of events, including Le Mans, British Touring Car, and World Sportscar. However, it’s most closely tied to Subaru and rallying.

When the WRC switched from Group B to Group A rules, Prodrive was the one that built Subaru’s rally cars. And these cars dominated in the 1990s and early 200s. Subaru won three straight titles from 1995-1997, with Collin McRae ringing in the 1995 win. Furthermore, in 1997 the Prodrive Imprezas won eight out of 14 WRC events. It was these wins that inspired Subaru to make the original 22B.

But while Prodrive helped engineer the 22B, Subaru never sold it in the UK. It did, though, commission the shop to make a European-market version, the Impreza P1. Based on the GC8 Impreza WRX STi Type R, it doesn’t have the 22B’s enlarged boxer engine. But it does have similar body, chassis, and suspension mods, as well as OZ Racing wheels and a larger rear wing.

However, in the years since the 22B and P1, Prodrive hasn’t stayed idle. In addition to racing, the shop has also provided suspension, composite engineering, and prototyping expertise to the automotive and aerospace industries. That’s what it let it recreate the Ferrari 550 GTS race car, for example, and build Ian Callum’s BRX T1 off-roader, The Drive says.

And now, 25 years after that 1997 win, Prodrive is turning a limited number of GC8 WRXs into extreme modern homages to the Subaru 22B.

The Prodrive P25 is a GC8 Impreza WRX turned into a Singer-level carbon-fiber Subaru 22B tribute

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When I was in high school, I watched an anime called eX-Driver that featured a WRC-prepped WRX in its first episode. Reading through the Prodrive P25’s specs makes it seem like not just a Subaru 22B homage, but a real-life recreation of that car. And I mean that in the most awesome way possible.

At first glance, the Prodrive P25 looks nearly identical to the Subaru 22B and Impreza P1, which isn’t a coincidence. For one, the same guy who designed the Impreza WRC cars and the P1, Peter Stevens, penned the P25, too. And secondly, underneath its carbon-fiber bodywork, the P25 is a GC8 Impreza WRX. However, like that bit about carbon fiber suggests, it’s far from stock.

Firstly, those carbon-composite body panels—including the wing and mirrors—mean the Prodrive P25 weighs less than 2650 lbs. That’s roughly 100 pounds lighter than a stock GC8 WRX and about 200 pounds lighter than an original Subaru 22B. It’s even lighter than the OG Impreza WRC rally car, The Drive notes. And that’s with an upgraded interior featuring leather, Alcantara, and yes, carbon trim.

Secondly, the Prodrive P25 is way more powerful than a 1990s Impreza. Under its carbon-fiber hood is a custom-built 2.5-liter turbocharged flat-four engine. It’s based on a modern Subaru boxer block, but thanks to custom internals, a new Garrett turbo, variable valve timing, and a titanium-and-stainless-steel Akrapovic exhaust, it puts out 400 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. That’s more than the Subaru 22B or 2022 WRX make. And the engine has adjustable mapping and rally-style anti-lag that squirts fuel into the turbo to keep it spooled.

Prodrive went beyond the engine and body to honor the Subaru 22B

The rear 3/4 view of a blue Prodrive P25 in a black studio
Prodrive P25 rear 3/4 | Prodrive

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In addition, Prodrive reworked the rest of the drivetrain to handle that extra power. The boxer is hooked up to a paddle-shifted six-speed sequential transmission with helical-cut gears and an active center differential. Furthermore, the P25’s launch control works through the first three gears. The result is a claimed 3.5-second 0-60 mph time, which explains the vented AP Racing disc brakes.

But wait, there’s more. Besides the center active differential, the P25 also has two limited-slip differentials, one in front and one in back. The interior also holds two handbrakes: an electronic parking brake and a rally-style hydraulic one that also disengages the rear differential. Plus, the re-worked suspension features aluminum components and adjustable Bilstein shocks. And not only is there a digital display with a data logger inside, but buyers can replace the rear seats with a full roll cage.

How much does the restomod cost compared to a ‘real’ 22B?

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Unfortunately, like the Subaru 22B and Impreza P1 before it, the Prodrive P25 isn’t coming to the U.S. And even if it did, you’d have to fight tooth and nail to get one, because the company’s only building 25 examples.

Also, at current exchange rates, the P25 starts at roughly $564,000 before value-added taxes. That’s more than even a pristine original 22B costs, or enough to buy 10-15 Impreza P1s, based on past Collecting Cars auction results.

Though to be fair, even the 22B doesn’t have all the bells, whistles, and carbon fiber that the P25 has. Furthermore, much like Cyan Racing’s P1800, this is a car built by experts steeped in Subaru racing lore. It’s kinda like if Enzo Ferrari restomodded a 250 GTO. And even if we Yanks can’t get one, we can at least look on as it tackles the upcoming Goodwood Festival of Speed’s hill-climb.

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