Subaru has a storied motorsport history. That may be surprising to those who only see Subaru as the brand that makes pet-friendly station wagons. The truth is that Subaru has produced formidable race cars for decades. One only needs to look back at the late 90s seasons of WRC to see Subaru’s dominance.
In the early 2000s, Subaru got heavily involved in American rally racing and in extreme sports events such as rallycross. The WRX STI’s popularity skyrocketed when Ken Block masterfully drove one with expert precision in his Gymkhana videos.
The ‘Airslayer’ Subaru WRX STI
In the last Gymkhana short film, it was Travis Pastrana behind the wheel of a brand new car dubbed the “Airslayer STI.” The Airslayer STI started off as a purpose-built gymkhana car meant for Pastrana to make his mark on the video series popularized by his friend Ken Block. Though at its heart, the Airslayer is still a rally car, so it is uniquely equipped to take on non-gymkhana challenges.
The Airslayer Subaru STI is designed with no restrictions in mind. It is built specifically to take on extreme challenges where there are few to no rules. This is evidenced by the STI’s bespoke aerodynamic package which is unlike anything seen on WRC cars or rallycross cars that must adhere to a rulebook.
The Airslayer takes on Mt. Washington
In 2017, Travis Pastrana piloted a Subaru WRX STI all the way up Mt. Washington during a hill climb event and set a record time that remained in place until this year. The hill climb event is the oldest of its type in America and one of the tallest to still feature multiple road surfaces. That means getting to the summit in record time is no easy task.
Travis set out to break his own record in the Airslayer Subaru STI. On paper, his chances to achieve his goal looked very good. The Subaru that he drove to break the record in 2017 made 600 horsepower and featured a traditional rally-style aero package. The Airslayer Subaru STI has 862 horsepower and produces much more downforce. The biggest challenge for Pastrana would be keeping all of that power on the mountain and not going off the edge.
Did the Subaru WRX STI break the record?
Travis Pastrana finished his run with a time of 5 minutes, 28.67 seconds. That is more than 16 seconds faster than his previous record. His time also put him over 45 seconds ahead of his closest competitor. Needless to say, Pastrana was quite happy with the performance of the car.
“New record in the books!” said Pastrana. “This car is the perfect machine to do it. Coming off a second-place finish at Goodwood I really wanted to set a new record here to show what the car could do in the right environment. Luckily we really had good weather this year and I knew if I could get a clean run in, I’d have a great shot at the 5:44 time. So much fun and I can’t wait to do it again next time!”
Something tells us that when Pastrana is ready to make his next run on Mt. Washington, Subaru will have an even more unbelievable machine at the ready for him to pilot. We can’t help but be curious as to how they will top the Airslayer Subaru STI.