So Have the Cars
Last year, the rally cars brought by competitors from the Rally America National Championship fought a pitched battle against a trio of Ford Fiestas fielded by a Swedish team. As we noted in Drive Performance Version 6.3, "These cars were built specifically for rallycross, making them lighter and more powerful than a traditional rally car. They only have to traverse a few miles in an event on a partially paved/partially dirt racetrack similar to a rally stage … While the cars normally make about 600 horsepower … for X Games 15, they were required to have a smaller restrictor that lowered their horsepower to about 450 bhp. Plus they added ballast to make their weight comparable to the rally-specification Subaru and other rally cars."
For X Games 16 Rally, Subaru Rally Team USA (SRT USA) has prepared Subaru WRX STI rally cross-dedicated cars, which are stronger, lighter, and faster than the cars it fields in the Rally America National Championship events. Prepared by Vermont SportsCar, these cars were dubbed "VT10r."
Although the VT10r wasn't finished by press time, we can show some of the work on the cars to date. (See final versions of the car in the Editor's Track Journal after X Games 16 Rally.)
Plus, here's what we do know about the VT10r at the time of writing. Comparisons are against Vermont SportsCar's current VT9r rally car.
Weight distribution has been improved, and the VT10r is more than 200 pounds lighter. Weight savings were accomplished by a lightened shell and the increased use of carbon fiber, which can be found in the rear doors, dashboard, rear hatch, and hood. (The hatch and hood were made of carbon fiber previously.)
The frame rails were lightened and strengthened. The purpose of reengineering them was to enhance safety in impacts for the driver and co-driver and to improve durability during the hard-hitting X Games Rally event. The jumps alone have brutalized competitors' cars every year.
Contributing to the improved weight distribution is the relocation of the co-driver's seat to a lower position.
Helping to reduce overall weight is a wiring harness that is 50 percent lighter.
The aerodynamics package at the front of the car has been modified.
Vermont SportsCar had two goals for the car's revised suspension system – to achieve more suspension travel and to improve levels of grip.
The engine package is new. The team has managed an increase in power of approximately 10 percent. In addition, response has been improved along with torque delivery.
Besides the relocation of the co-driver's seat mentioned above, the new cockpit was designed with optimized layouts for switches and electrical components. As much as possible, these have been moved to the floor, which contributes to improved weight distribution.
In addition, the car has a new manual sequential gearbox.
We'll know more details as the event approaches. Watch the journal!