Subaru took the wraps off its 2006 Impreza WRC rally car at this month's Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany.
Based on the new Impreza WRX STi, the Impreza 2006 WRC has improved aerodynamics and strengthened bodyshell as well as numerous technical changes.
The full new 2006 Impreza model range will be launched in New Zealand in October, including the Impreza WRX STi on which the new World Rally Car is based.
The most obvious changes to the 2006 WRC are the redesigned nose with the new corporate grille. And there is a roof-mounted vane to better direct air flow on to the bootlid-mounted rear spoiler. Other improvements to reduce weight and lower the car's centre of gravity include thinner window glass, more aluminium panels and a thinner-gauge steel roof.
The Subaru World Rally Team has already started testing the Impreza 2006 WRC and it is expected to make its competition debut at next January's Monte Carlo Rally.
The Frankfurt Motor Show also saw the European launch of Subaru's 2006 models, including the Legacy and Outback ranges and specifically the new Legacy 2.0R model.
Also making its European debut was the latest Forester. The 2006 Forester, Legacy and Outback are already on sale in New Zealand.
Subaru also announced plans to have the new Impreza WRX STi 'Spec C', officially recognised for international motorsport and homologated into the Group N standard production class.
Subaru has to produce 1000 of these cars which will be 70kg lighter than the currently homologated WRX STi, thanks to thinner glass, an aluminium boot and the use of thinner-gauge steel for the roof.
The current Impreza WRX STi in the hands of Japanese driver Toshi Arai and his New Zealand co-driver Tony Sircombe leads this year's Production Car World Rally Championship.
The STi Spec C will also have strengthened front and rear suspension mountings with the use of standard tower braces. The turbocharger will run on ball bearings for quicker boost and better engine response. A larger intercooler spray reservoir and oil cooler are incorporated in the 2006 Impreza WRX STI Spec C, which also has the aerodynamic enhancements of the Impreza 2006 WRC.