Is The Subaru WRX STI Really A Rally Car?
What modifications are needed to turn a stock STI into a rally car?
Big thanks to DirtFish for inviting me out!
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Is the Subaru STI really a rally car? Whether it’s the big auto magazines, the marketing advertisements, or the Subaru forums, there’s certainly a rally aura surrounding the WRX. That appeal is part of why the Subaru STI was the first new car I ever bought, a 2014 Hatch in World Rally Blue.

But the first time I took my Subaru on anything other than smooth pavement, it didn’t exactly feel at home. The suspension is very stiff, and there’s not much ground clearance. Sure, the AWD system is fantastic, but there are plenty of vehicles with great AWD systems.

DirtFish Rally School, based in Snoqualmie, Washington, invited me to their three day rally program. Here, I was able to chat with their instructors and technicians, many of whom participate in rally racing across the country. Over the three days, on top of dialing in driving techniques, I was curious to learn about what physical changes they make to these cars in order to have them properly set up as rally cars, ready to thrash their courses, keep the occupants safe, and maybe even remain comfortable.

And it’s not nearly as simple as you might think - throw on some rally tires and call it a day. There’s extensive work done to get these things to safely and reliably perform on a multitude of surfaces. Check out the video for all the details!

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  • Egor Russian
    Egor Russian

    2014 WRX Hachback was my car also

  • Haaris Raja
    Haaris Raja

    Samir your breaking the car

  • ryan sanders (and his 4 stroke)
    ryan sanders (and his 4 stroke)

    our teams recce car is a stock STI, its fine doing recce at 30 MPH for a majority of the time, but at some events, we break stuff, IE southern loop of 100AW

  • Luca Gattoni-Celli
    Luca Gattoni-Celli

    I love that the instructor at 0:56 has a foot up on the seat, totally relaxed as a semi-experienced driver slides around.

  • Shoedi L
    Shoedi L

    4:14 Was that a vape? LMFAO!

  • Luis Martinez
    Luis Martinez

    HAA the stall had my dead

  • Catfish Billy 3.7
    Catfish Billy 3.7

    3 day rally class? I wonder how many posers have went to that and now think they’re professionally rally drivers 😂😂😂

  • Bush Pig
    Bush Pig

    Both feet to the floor, don't steer much!

  • Wayzor

    I thought all Subarus came with your choice of a vape, dog, or lesbian.

  • Marvin Eghan
    Marvin Eghan

    There is rally tarmac 🙈

  • Dank Memer
    Dank Memer

    If the rally version of the sti have more comfortable suspensions, why does the street version have to be so stiff?

  • 45casing NA
    45casing NA

    So bottom line is 80% of the car has to be revised for rallying... ya don't say. Never woulda guessed that on my own. (Sarcasm)

  • David Marshall
    David Marshall

    Shoutout from Yakima Washington! You were right down the way from me!!

  • Ivan M
    Ivan M

    G A Y 🌈

  • Derek S
    Derek S

    Very good video. Learned lots of new things! Never taking my stock cars off road again lol

  • Paul Dombrowski
    Paul Dombrowski

    Great explanation video. My son and I work controls for Rally America. We love it.

  • Colton . Zimmerman
    Colton . Zimmerman

    Most people just keep them on the street.

  • I_THE_ME

    You didn't touch the shifter too many times on your "hot lap". lol It was entertaining regardless.

  • Jeremiah Shields
    Jeremiah Shields

    Wow you just got me over the hype of this platform. Thanks mafren.

  • DazoDer

    Evo > subaru

  • Jeff Henning
    Jeff Henning

    Considering a "rally car" is limited to 2.0L and a STI has a 2.5L... No. There's more to rallying then just going sideways lmfao

  • sean white
    sean white

    This was awesome bro . Definitely gonna be going to this school next time I'm out west for sure

  • dirtybird _78
    dirtybird _78

    Other AWD systems aren't quite the same as subarus

  • Joe Gage
    Joe Gage

    Anything can 'rally' if you don't have to drive it home after.

  • Leo Paron
    Leo Paron

    buy a subaru outback 1998 - 2005 if u want stock rally

  • car scene
    car scene

    You can honestly make your Subaru a Riley car just do the suspension and tires stick with stock rim and slap a off road tire that fits with a thick sidewall

  • Catfish Hero
    Catfish Hero

    WOW! Wearing masks in cars! If there was really a reason to wear the mask, y’all wouldn’t be rallying, you would be trying to survive

  • Jakin Hoffer
    Jakin Hoffer

    “There is certainly a rally aura”. Well, I mean, it does stand for world rally experimental

  • Ross Fraser
    Ross Fraser

    What do the turning numbers mean? Remember hearing those while watching wrc back in the day and never could make it the meaning.

    • Ross Fraser
      Ross Fraser

      @CryptikReap that's kind of what I thought but thanks for making sure.

    • CryptikReap

      Basically just means how sharp the corner is 1-5. 1 being very sharp. Usually hairpin and 5 being wide open throttle usually

  • Paweł

    Double camera in the end make it a perfect experience.

  • PlanetRylosIV

    Awesome video! Love Subaru AND I live in Seattle! Gonna have to check out DirtFish to get my fix!

  • Ink Rollo
    Ink Rollo

    Sounds like you need a lot of money for those upgrades

  • Cole Sisler
    Cole Sisler

    Coming from someone who lives in the Appalachian mountains, and who has a brother who owns an Sti who lives in CO near the Rockies, it’s a great stock rig for sometimes unpredictable twisty mountain roads that can range from very gritty to very smooth pavement. You won’t find a better car that comes stock from the factory for that exact purpose. But I wouldn’t take it in any more harsh conditions than that unless it was outfitted with some or all of the upgrades mentioned in the video.

  • Optical Flow Drones
    Optical Flow Drones

    Didn’t know David Shwimmer narrated this

  • underground legend
    underground legend

    Very very good video,apart from its too lengthy, its full of good information

  • underground legend
    underground legend

    These new wrx s are so ugly

  • newest bear
    newest bear

    Sti or wrx are not. A forester is more rally worthy, sti's bottom out on the lift. A car that bottoms out as much as a Lamborghini is not a rally car. A rally car motor doesn't last long so why would a imposter rally car be any better?

  • american-hairlines

    That camera view was genius

  • scrubby Bard
    scrubby Bard

    Its road legal so 👎

  • Caio Bortoletto
    Caio Bortoletto

    Im honestly shocked with how little they changed the engines. Sure, they used forged internals but thats extremely common among wrx owners. If i had the money, i would do it to mine

  • Orbital Jellyfish
    Orbital Jellyfish

    I can vouch for a stock ‘13 wrx being a ballerina in the snow doing slides and donuts. The brakes act as diff controllers and it’s perfectly satisfying, tho I’ve read that trail braking is ruined by a throttle cut safety feature :/

  • Orbital Jellyfish
    Orbital Jellyfish

    Great video! 👏👏

  • captainzero

    That looks like so much fun.

  • Adam Jones
    Adam Jones

    if, during a rally stage, you happen to flip over, you can start preparing a meal without any trouble 🤣🤣🤣

  • stingray

    That looks so much fun

  • kingpin deblufre
    kingpin deblufre

    Subaru should make rally specs of the wrx and sti for people who want to use their Subarus for where their real home is

  • Sam Haokip
    Sam Haokip

    I'd say this really is a rally car. I mean Subaru marketed it as a rally car and they really know what makes a rally car.

  • Greg “Maverick” Bailey
    Greg “Maverick” Bailey

    So like we all have known... stock subarus are for roads... rally costs moneh... dingus >.>

  • Serkan Ister
    Serkan Ister

    Don't waste your money

  • alan wyrwa
    alan wyrwa

    Good job, looks fun thanx for then info. May have to visit dirt one day just got to make time. Wonder how much a actual circuit sti has changed on it.

  • Wizardnil

    I got a ride in their STI hatch - it was extremely comfortable surprisingly!

  • Roberto Peris
    Roberto Peris

    My heart is beating so fast like I'm the one driving. Would love to try the experience one day

  • EJ

    The dirtfish hotlaps by the instructors some of the most fun I've had in a car with my clothes on

  • David

    You werent staying in the gas through those corners, cant lift in a subie you gotta stay in it and let the AWD do its thing.

  • Wojtgaw

    I know they want these cars to be as reliable as possible, but that sti could use some Anti-lag. Sometimes they were waiting for like 3 seconds for the turbos to spool up.

  • iNerdboy132

    That's so sick

  • Jesus Duran
    Jesus Duran

    Samir your breaking the car!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • TheMattbrownbill

    Very interesting, thanks!

  • SoulSolus

    If you had the choice between a model 3 SR+ vs a WRX STI. Which one would you get?

  • Chris H
    Chris H

    Dirt Fish is SO much fun. Looks like it rained as much on Jason as it did on us.

  • Revel rem
    Revel rem

    That's probably why there was an impreza wrx in the Japanese touring car championship in ADVAN colours, but not a single lancer evolution in sight!

  • Justin Williams
    Justin Williams

    don't know if someone has already asked, how much to convert a stock sti to this? Like just drove off the lot with the car what's the dollar amount to make all of these modifications from brand new, not using previously used parts at all?

  • M S
    M S

    Hi I have a truck, rear wheel drive The problem is when turning and hard accelerated it give massive grip on front wheel it feel like it wont to move easily especially if going uphill. The question is does positive camber can solve this issue or toe in ? Thanks in advance

  • tru tube
    tru tube

    Define Rally Car. Then go outside and look at YOUR WRX. Truth lies in the end.

  • ziggerknot88

    I'm upset there wasn't a lap comparison between the two cars just to drive it he

  • Dhruv Mittal
    Dhruv Mittal

    How much horsepower?

  • Omar O
    Omar O

    The STI is rally inspired. Not rally ready. And for 16k less, I would stick to the WRX and do the above mentioned mods if I were getting into this sport.

  • Rock_spideR

    Ngl that looked incredibly fun!

  • thewirah1

    What's with the nazi font on those hoosier tires? I will stick to Michelins.

  • ThornKajom

    Subaru is trash

  • krspice

    Did Team O'Neil for 4 days. This looks pretty damn good too. Definitely something everybody should do.

  • elementalblaze79

    Lol, why would I think you'd stall it as the instructor counted down?! Epic!!

  • Deducing Reality
    Deducing Reality

    Actually, to me those modifications seem rather minor. Bare minimum even, nice car.

  • Sol RC
    Sol RC

    One inch lift better shocks and springs. I know because my buddy does it all the time.

  • Porter House
    Porter House

    Honestly pickup trucks in 2wd are awesome rally cars

  • Jon A
    Jon A

    What a class like this cost? Even if it's just one days worth. Hundreds? Thousands?

  • Roni92pl


  • OGkilla420NY

    15 and up are trash blow up fast brakes are 2 big now and cost more money to chnage believe me we all made the mistake buying suabru. Trust me evo 9 is the king 👑 on the road and bullet proof engine

  • rednecktek

    Dirtfish? lols, you should have teamed up with barnacules nerdgasm to do something fun with rally. engineering explained and barnacules could be a cool thing.

  • Alistair White
    Alistair White

    Got a 2004 Forester XT. It's got a few mods to get 190kw at the wheels, front/rear LSD's, 20kg Sti rally centre diff and Sti spec C 13:1 quick steering rack. Stupidly fun/fast on gravel. Definately a rally car.....!

  • Eric Steele
    Eric Steele

    Well duh

  • Tee Oh
    Tee Oh

    I think if you’re driving as hard as pros and rally intended students, you will destroy a stock STI. However... going for a little soft sideways cruise can’t be too much can it? :)

  • Tee Oh
    Tee Oh

    Very insightgful

  • Killing Fields
    Killing Fields

    Yes. But especially if you up it to 200kw atw. My 200kw sti can do things my 310kw amg45s cant

  • Cloud Gaming
    Cloud Gaming

    Well coming from someone who owns two no it’s not, however that doesnt stop people from thinking or treating it like it is. However also people enter very cheap cars into rallies all the time. Its a great way to get into the sport for very little money

  • Calvin Schultink
    Calvin Schultink

    holy moly american accents are annoying

  • Kiran M Krishnan
    Kiran M Krishnan

    the gear shifter also moves so much with the turns ..

  • Julia Monem
    Julia Monem

    Alot of these modifications make sense for a car primarily sold for street use. I would say that the WRX STI seems like a good platform for many modifications, with the engine, trans, and the drivetrain all being perfect. safety modifications make sense as it would make the car less comfortable, and suspension setup really depends on the final use case. in the case of Dirtfish, you could tell that they focused on repairability and longevity, since it's a school that probably puts thousands of miles on these cars per year.

  • R1Armadill0

    Very cool! So want to do this!

  • Desmo S
    Desmo S


  • Chase Kloster
    Chase Kloster

    This is my new favorite video on the internet

  • Chad Houser
    Chad Houser

    This looks fannnntastic!!!!

  • Christopher Gruenwald
    Christopher Gruenwald

    Ok so thinking about getting 15 inch wheels for my 2014 wrx so I can put these tires on it. Having a hard time finding any source that can confirm fitment over the stock brakes. Does anyone know if stock wrx brakes in 2014 will fit in 15 inch wheel. It looks like it would be extremely tight to me looking at the stock 17 inch. What are my options?

  • Arnouth Pessoa
    Arnouth Pessoa

    12:16 that camera... GENIUS! Thx for sharing

  • Thorkell

    Short answer : No



  • DK

    This is so cool!

  • Jon Bar
    Jon Bar

    I would always do Brake-Turn-gas to get it pointed at the apex and letting the momentum cary me past it. Is that just because I'm using rear wheel drive?

  • Reginald Bowls
    Reginald Bowls

    poor cones

  • Robbie Blaze
    Robbie Blaze

    You monster! What did those poor cones do to you?