Building a Subaru Impreza Rally Car: Tips, Tricks and Preparations

Subaru Impreza has made a name for itself in the world of rally racing, thanks to its exceptional handling, all-wheel-drive system, and robust engine. With the right modifications and preparations, the Impreza can transform into a formidable rally car that can hold its ground against the toughest competition.

In this article, we will walk you through the process of building a Subaru Impreza rally car, starting from selecting the right model to crossing the finish line. Whether you are an seasoned mechanic or just starting to explore the world of rally racing, this guide has something to offer you.

Selecting the Right Model

Before you start the modifications, you need to find the right base model for your rally car. Ideally, you should go for a mid-2000 models that has better chassis, suspension, and engine than its earlier versions. The Impreza WRX STI is the most popular choice for building a rally car. It’s fitted with a powerful turbocharged engine, all-wheel-drive system, and stiff suspension, making it a great platform for modifications.

Engine Modifications

The engine is the heart of any rally car. If you want to compete at the top level, you need to extract as much power as possible from your engine without sacrificing reliability.

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Some of the most popular engine modifications for the Impreza include:

  • Turbocharger upgrade
  • High-Flow exhaust system
  • Cold air intakes
  • Performance injectors
  • Upgraded intercooler
  • Forged pistons and rods
  • Performance camshafts

Keep in mind that modifying your engine can void your warranty and make your car more difficult to drive on the streets. It’s important to weigh your options and choose the modifications that suit your goals and budget.

Suspension Tuning

Rally racing is all about handling and stability. You need a suspension system that can keep your car grounded on uneven surfaces and sharp turns. There are several ways to improve your Impreza’s suspension performance:

  • Install coilover suspension system
  • Upgrade sway bars and end links
  • Install strut braces and chassis reinforcements
  • Add stiffer bushings

Tuning your suspension system can be time-consuming and requires some experience and expertise. You may want to consider hiring a professional for this part of the build.

Installing Roll Cages and Safety Features

Safety should always be a top priority when building a rally car. A roll cage is an essential safety feature that can protect the driver and the passenger in case of an accident. It’s also required by most rally sanctioning bodies.

Some other safety features you may want to consider include:

  • Racing seats and harnesses
  • Fire extinguisher system
  • Quick-release steering wheel
  • Window nets

Equipment and Tools

Building a rally car requires a unique set of tools and equipment that you may not have in your garage. Some of the common tools and equipment include:

  • Welder and welding supplies
  • Air compressor and air tools
  • Specialty sockets and wrenches
  • Engine lift hoist
  • Hydraulic press
  • Torque wrench
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If you don’t have these tools, you may want to rent or borrow them from a local workshop or garage.

Preparing for a Rally Race

Preparing for a rally race requires more than just building a fast car. You need to be physically and mentally prepared for the rigors of the race. Some tips to consider include:

  • Train your body for endurance and strength
  • Learn the rally course and practice driving techniques
  • Prepare a checklist for spare parts and tools
  • Develop a race strategy and stick to it


Q: Is it expensive to build a Subaru Impreza rally car?

A: It can be expensive depending on the level of modifications and the quality of parts you use. However, you can also build a rally car on a budget if you prioritize certain modifications and DIY work.

Q: Do I need to be a professional mechanic to build a rally car?

A: No, but having some experience with car mechanics can help. You can also hire a professional to help with the build or attend a rally racing school to learn the techniques.

Q: How long does it take to build a rally car?

A: The time required for the build depends on various factors such as the extent of modifications and the availability of parts and tools. It can take anywhere from several months to a year or more to complete a rally car build.


Building a Subaru Impreza rally car is a rewarding experience that requires passion, dedication, and expertise. With the right modifications, tuning, and preparations, you can turn your Impreza into a rally machine that can give you the thrill of a lifetime. Remember to always prioritize safety and to have fun behind the wheel!

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Alton Brobst

As a longtime Subaru enthusiast, Alton brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our blog. From his early days of tinkering with engines to his current role as a certified Subaru technician, Alton has seen it all when it comes to Subarus. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys hiking and exploring the great outdoors.

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