Subaru is no stranger to tackling wintry conditions of course, but its latest PR stunt in conjunction with Manx rally driver Mark Higgins is a little bit different...
Remember the time Subaru set the Isle of Man TT lap record back in 2011? And then remember the time when Subaru smashed its own record by nearly two minutes all over again last year? Well, Subaru’s back, but this time it’s got its eye on bobsledding.
Specifically, Subaru wanted to prove that it could rally the length of the Olympia Bobrun in St Moritz, Switzerland, one of the most famous bobsled tracks in the world. Why? Because it’s cool, that’s why.
While cars driving down disused bobsled tracks aren’t unheard of, the Olympia run is quite different to your average bobrun. While most are made of concrete with a refrigerated surface, the Olympia run consists of pure snow.
Stay tuned to our YouTube Channel tomorrow, 11:30 AM EST. pic.twitter.com/HcFPbY0M3Z— Subaru (@subaru_usa) March 16, 2017
Not only does that mean that its exact shape and difficulty varies from year to year, it also makes it incredibly dangerous to chuck a one-and-a-half tonne car down.
To complete the stunt, Subaru teamed up with Manx rally driver Mark Higgins, the same man who set both of its Isle of Man lap records and the brother of Subaru’s Rally America champion David Higgins.
Prodrive-modified WRX STi
It also dragged the same WRX STi that he completed last year’s TT run in out of retirement, which was then sent to long-time Subaru collaborators Prodrive for an extensive refit.
The STi remains largely stock, and so to help it cope with the rigours of bobsledding Prodrive had to fit it with a whole range of upgrades in order to make sure it made it to the end of the run in one piece.
Mark Higgins takes on the only natural bobsled run in the world…. in a WRX STI. Check out our YouTube Channel tomorrow, 11:30AM. pic.twitter.com/E6zILGP4Od— Subaru (@subaru_usa) March 17, 2017
Stiffer suspension springs were fitted to deal with quick load transitions and the car gained overinflated WRC tyres complete with 400 tungsten carbide studs stuck into each for better grip.
The whole body was reinforced with massive welded in steel tubes, while extra body cladding was added in an effort to stop the panels from ripping off the sides of the car on high-speed impacts.
So how did Higgins and the car get on? Well, you’ll have to wait an hour or two for that yet as Subaru is due to release the official video later this afternoon. In the meantime, check out the teasers above.