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Old 02-23-2004, 04:03 PM   #1
WRXPRESS
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Default The very latest evolution of the Subaru Impreza World Rally Car

Click the link for pics.
http://www.crash.net/uk/en/news_view...id=4&nid=85921


The very latest evolution of the Subaru Impreza World Rally Car, the WRC2004, will make its competitive debut on the Corona Rally Mexico, which begins from the town of Leon on 11 March.

Taking full advantage of the latest FIA technical regulations, and incorporating a host of improvements in such areas as the bodyshell, engine, suspension, electronics systems and aerodynamics, the WRC2004 is the latest development of a car that has earned a formidable reputation on rallies around the world with 38 WRC wins since it burst onto the world rally scene back in 1993.

Born of Subaru's desire to harness the engineering skills of its teams at Subaru Tecnica International [STI] and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd [FHI] - the manufacturer of the Subaru range - in Japan and at the Subaru World Rally Team's base in the UK, the WRC2004 is the result of a 14-month design and development project that has involved the three parties working more closely than ever before.

Following the introduction last year of the WRC2003, with its new aerodynamic package, aggressively styled front end and unique sectioned rear wing, the brief for the WRC2004 was to develop other areas of the vehicle, notably those under the skin.

"If you look at the development process of the Impreza over the last ten years, there's a consistent three-year cycle," explained Subaru World Rally team principal David Lapworth, "Typically, about a third of the car is new with each evolution. The 2003 car was the first phase of the current Impreza model. Last year, we made a lot of progress in areas like aerodynamics and suspension systems. For this year, although there have been further revisions to the aero package and suspension, the focus was on the engine, electronics systems and the bodyshell."

Presented in the familiar blue-and-yellow Subaru World Rally Team colour scheme, the casual observer could be forgiven for thinking that little has changed from the previous WRC2003 version but, under its familiar bodywork, the WRC2004 is packed with the very latest technology and is a very different animal indeed.

Work on the car began in January 2003, and was overseen by Ed Wood, the team's new chief designer. With a first class reputation as a research and design engineer in Formula One, Wood was responsible for ensuring that the project made the best use of the latest technological developments, as well as the wealth of experience learned over more than a decade of WRC competition.

"More computer aided engineering techniques were used to design the WRC2004 than on any of its predecessors," he said, "The team has made a big investment in the adoption of Finite Element Analysis [FEA] techniques here in the UK and at STI in Japan, and wherever possible we made use of these modelling and simulation facilities to assist our work.

"This, combined with the close working relationship we have with our colleagues in Japan, has allowed us to be very agile and had a significant impact on the speed at which we are able to undertake development work. We were able to react and implement new solutions very quickly. In fact, by mid April, evaluation testing on some of the of the 2004 car's sub-systems like brakes, transmission and suspension was already underway."

Bodyshell changes were next on the agenda - specifically, making the best use of new FIA technical regulations that permit the inclusion of lightweight bodywork components.

"We've fitted polycarbonate rear and side windows, which weigh about half as much as their glass equivalents, and have replaced the steel front wings and boot-lid with lightweight aluminium components which were provided by FHI," Wood revealed, "Really, this sort of work is just what you'd expect us to do when faced with the new technical freedoms, and we're certainly not the only team to be working with these types of lightweight materials.

"For me, it's the other modifications we've made to the shell that have been more satisfying from an engineering point of view. We've made considerable changes with the aim of achieving greater overall structural efficiency - a stronger shell with less mass. The end result gives a significant increase in overall stiffness as well as a favourable centre of gravity."

While the majority of bodyshell changes are only visible from inside the cockpit, further refinements have been made to the external aerodynamic package with the emphasis on maintaining an effective airflow for cooling without increasing drag. The attention to detail shown by the project team has seen the mounting angle of the engine radiator changed to assist airflow, while the ducted system that vents hot air from the turbo intercooler through a slot in the bonnet remains. The innovative rear spoiler, designed to maintain yaw stability at high slip angles, has been further refined. The result is that, when compared to the WRC2003, the new car's cooling and aerodynamic processes are far more efficient.

The Impreza's trademark flat-four, horizontally opposed 'boxer' engine is now more powerful than ever before. Developed in tandem with STI's engine engineers in Japan, enhancements were made to the IHI turbo charger, exhaust manifold and fuel injection system, as well as key internal components like the crankshaft, pistons and camshafts.

"In working on the engine, we made full use of the dyno testing and simulation facilities here and at STI," Wood explained, "The net result is an engine that gives a wider spread of useable power and torque that provides improved response and drivability."

Making full use of the latest vehicle dynamics simulation systems, the suspension of the new car has also undergone a process of refinement. Building on the successful introduction of new dampers in 2003 and set-up lessons learned throughout the year, the WRC2004 features a more consolidated package that allows adjustment in all key areas.

There have also been modifications made to the electronics systems on board. A new wiring harness has been developed alongside an integrated control system, that replaces the previous separate chassis, engine and transmission ECU's. Originally introduced on Petter Solberg's San Remo car, and run on his car for comparative purposes for the rest of the season, the software - which again was designed in collaboration with STI - provides enhanced control in many areas. With less duplication of sensors, faster processing speeds, more data logging memory and easier manipulation of data, the integrated system enables engineers to get the very best out of the crucial dynamic elements of the car.

Testing of the WRC2004 began last November and, with the forthcoming event schedule, has been predominantly focussed on loose surface work. Having driven thousands of kilometres on test roads with the new car, feedback from Solberg and new team-mate Mikko Hirvonen has been very encouraging, with both commenting on the improved drivability and performance.

With the first competitive test of the new car less than three weeks away, Wood is full of praise for the close-knit group of engineers at Subaru who have ensured the smooth running of the project.

"Overall, I think the new car is a tribute to the way our team works by drawing on the experiences gained over the past eleven seasons, as well as being open to new techniques from other areas of motorsport," he said, "The joy is that in our engineering team we've got a group of individuals who are deeply passionate about rally and technology, but who are able to contribute engineering solutions from a broad range of different backgrounds - not just other rally cars, but road cars and Formula One.

"For me, the beauty of designing a rally car is that it is the broadest canvas to work on in terms of motorsport - it has to be good in so many different conditions, that the end result is something pretty special."
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Old 02-23-2004, 05:06 PM   #2
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I think the rear wing was designed by Paul Hogan, as in "that's not a wing - this is a wing!"
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Old 02-23-2004, 05:36 PM   #3
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Nice read! Thanks for the post.
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Old 02-23-2004, 06:08 PM   #4
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More pictures can be found here:

http://www.swrt.com/74331.html

My Favorite pic:
http://www.swrt.com/cpimages/488512.jpg
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Old 02-23-2004, 06:41 PM   #5
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This should answer the noob-friendly FAQ "How much in common do the WRC and the road WRX have in common?"

Take a look under the bonnet, Grommet. See anything you recognize?
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Old 02-23-2004, 06:51 PM   #6
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Is it just me or the subaru insignia looks photoshopped in this pic ? (high res)

don't they have better photoshoppers?? (not that I could do it better, but anyway...)
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Old 02-23-2004, 06:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by cvalle-sd
This should answer the noob-friendly FAQ "How much in common do the WRC and the road WRX have in common?"

Take a look under the bonnet, Grommet. See anything you recognize?
I think I saw an intake manifold
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Old 02-23-2004, 09:53 PM   #8
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thats some killer ride height.
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Old 02-24-2004, 12:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by kotaro
Is it just me or the subaru insignia looks photoshopped in this pic ? (high res)

don't they have better photoshoppers?? (not that I could do it better, but anyway...)
i don't see it.

it looks like the oil cap is the same as on my Legacy.
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Old 02-24-2004, 02:05 AM   #10
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That's the toughest-looking Suby I've ever seen.

-s-
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Old 02-24-2004, 02:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by whtlegacy
i don't see it.

it looks like the oil cap is the same as on my Legacy.
Really?...the six stars logo?... above the "STi Performance"?

To me it seems like there's something wrong with the logo's illumination and sharpness in relation to the rest of the car
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Old 02-24-2004, 03:06 AM   #12
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looks like a styrofoam dash
and from the front 3/4 shot you can see how tilted the radiator is, and also that it vents out in front of the front wheels

it looks like the gurney on the lower element of the wing is smaller than monte carlo spec
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Old 02-24-2004, 09:53 AM   #13
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Hmmm, I just noticed that the exhaust on the WRC car is on the right side versus the left on production cars.
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Old 02-24-2004, 12:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by RedBean
Hmmm, I just noticed that the exhaust on the WRC car is on the right side versus the left on production cars.
Yeah it's been like that for years.
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Old 02-24-2004, 12:39 PM   #15
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The roof scoop is back. What happened to their cooling system?





-Matt
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Old 02-24-2004, 12:39 PM   #16
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anyone know what those distribution blocks are for on top of the intake manifold?

-Nathan
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Old 02-24-2004, 01:17 PM   #17
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Does anyone still have the official pictures of the WRC 2003 car? I want to see the cosmetic difference. It seems that swrt.com has taken them offline.
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Old 02-24-2004, 01:41 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by kotaro
Is it just me or the subaru insignia looks photoshopped in this pic ? (high res)

don't they have better photoshoppers?? (not that I could do it better, but anyway...)
Definitely. You can see the edge of the "paste" in the radiator texture. The Pirelli and Denso decals on the right-side fender "aren't right" either. Enchanced or photoshopped on.



Quote:
Originally posted by crash
anyone know what those distribution blocks are for on top of the intake manifold?

-Nathan
The connectors are labelled, but I can't quite make them out. ECU and a "hot spare" ECU?
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Old 02-24-2004, 01:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kuro
Does anyone still have the official pictures of the WRC 2003 car? I want to see the cosmetic difference. It seems that swrt.com has taken them offline.
Subaru Impreza WRC2002
Subaru Impreza WRC2003 Prototype
Subaru Impreza WRC2003
Subaru Impreza WRC2004 Monte Carlo
Subaru Impreza WRC2004

Last edited by skope; 02-24-2004 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 02-24-2004, 06:45 PM   #20
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took them long enough to realise you can increase cooling eficiency by running the intercoolers horizontally angled, allowing more surface area. I would say that has come directly from ed woods Racing background, GT/F1 cars have been doing that for decades.

I hate articles that give you very little substance but lots of "we improved this, and we improved that....." it actually tells you nothing worthwhile at all. I suppose they have their hands tied with having to say something but not tell anything of value to competitors.

Looks like the suspension for Mexico is Safari spec.
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Old 02-24-2004, 10:26 PM   #21
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Default Oil cooler?

The 2001 used to have a oil cooler radiator under the hood scoop - now there's nothing? When did that change?
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Old 02-24-2004, 10:34 PM   #22
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Why no TMIC? or am I blind?
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Old 02-24-2004, 10:38 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by sha_zapple
Why no TMIC? or am I blind?

Been a front mount for as long as I can remember. The scoop is just there so it looks like the stock car.



-Matt

Last edited by Cobreth; 02-25-2004 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 02-25-2004, 12:01 AM   #24
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what he said.
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Old 02-25-2004, 12:51 AM   #25
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Default Duct tape

Quote:
Originally posted by cvalle-sd
This should answer the noob-friendly FAQ "How much in common do the WRC and the road WRX have in common?"

Take a look under the bonnet, Grommet. See anything you recognize?
Duct tape ?
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