Subaru America is calling Travis Pastrana’s new Subaru WRX STI Gymkhana car “the most outrageous WRX STI ever,” and it’s not hard to see why.
With Nitro Circus creator Pastrana taking over the wildly popular Gymkhana series made famous by Ken Block, the Hoonigan team has revealed his new car via a video, above.
The car, built by Subaru and technical partner Vermont SportsCar, is a carbon fibre-bodied, aero-focussed tyre shredding machine, though its specifications haven’t been revealed officially yet.
In the first segment of the video created by Hoonigan, featuring 37-year-old Pastrana testing the car, Hoonigan marketing head Ron Zaras describes the build idea as “flames coming out the hood, all-carbon everything, a bespoke car built just for this video.”
He also calls it “one part DTM, one part modern WRC, and a whole lotta engineering from the boys at Subaru Motorsport and Vermont SportsCar.”
The aero package on the STI, which is yet to be bestowed a name, has even been wind-tunnel tested.
Its engine, still a Subaru Boxer flat-four, is custom made just for the Gymkhana car, while its suspension has been upgraded to a more suitable long-travel set, and the interior is built to Pastrana’s specs.
The result? The man driving the car calls it “unbelievable!"
“I asked for a car that could shatter the record at Mt Washington after this Gymkhana shoot was over but still fly a 200-foot gap. It’s the lightest and quickest vehicle I’ve ever driven.”
"We've never had the opportunity to do this before,” Pastrana adds, “to build a car with no restrictions. Engine, suspension, aero… everything is unlimited, clean sheet.
“It's crazy fast, easy to control and get sideways and it was perfect out of the box in testing. Gymkhana is a new challenge for me but I want to raise the bar, and this is the car to do it."
Pastrana says his car has an adjustable rear wing that allows him to control the angle in mid-air, adjusting landing approached for particularly long jumps.
“The nose started to drop on my first jump so I hit the rear wing to max and almost looped out! A few jumps later and we learned to use the wing and hand brake to literally fly my car.”
The wild STI will mark a return to origins for the Gymkhana series, with Ken Block’s first couple of Gymkhana videos having been with Subaru rather than Ford as the starring vehicle manufacturer.
Subaru America’s motorsport boss William Stokes says Subaru returning to Gymhkana had to involve “something outrageous.”
"Travis always wants to push the limits, so we knew from the outset we weren't going to do this with a rally or rallycross car.”
Pastrana’s career as a race driver in rally and rallycross (not to mention supercross and motocross) meant he had to get back into the swing of driving for the spectacle rather than driving for speed, as the video at the top of this page explores.
Pastrana has also driven in NASCAR with intermittent but limited success for a couple of years in the early 2010s, and has even dipped his toe into the waters of sports car racing and endurance racing, in the form of a 2012 24 Hours of Daytona tilt.