WRX STI Type RA: The Spoils Of Homologation

For whatever reason, I’ve never actually sat down and watched rallying at any length. I really ought to though, because whenever I do watch a clip I’m reminded that it’s an absolutely mental form of motorsport.

As any enthusiast should, I’ve also got a serious appreciation for the caliber of cars rallying has brought to the street. Homologation – aka the obligation for a manufacturer to produce a set number of cars throughout a model range in order to be eligible for competition – gave birth to the legends of the Group A era. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lancia, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, Subaru and others all took up the practice of passing race cars off as street cars and putting them into catalogs or dealerships. Creative interpretations of rule books meant that many of these cars weren’t marketed to everyday consumers, making certain special trim models a bit of a rarity on the street. Capturing one in the wild is something I haven’t done a lot of.


Perhaps that’s why when I first saw this car cranking laps around Toronto Motorsport Park near Cayuga in Ontario, Canada, I initially thought it as nothing more than a clean GC8 (not that we have too many of those left either, mind you). It wasn’t until a friend pointed out the factory-fitted roof vent that I realized we were watching something pretty rare zip around the 3km-long road course.


Wandering over to the car later in the day to confirmed it to be a genuine Japan-imported 1995 Subaru Impreza WRX STI Type RA. Depending on who you ask, RA stands for ‘Race Altered’, ‘Rally Application, ‘Racing (Group) A’ or ‘Record Attempt’, among others. It appears as though the latter two have been officially used by Subaru over the years.

Subaru made these cars as race-capable as you possible could make a four-door while still feigning somewhat of an attempt to break even. As a JDM model primarily intended for competition purposes (read: rallying) street comforts fell by the wayside. The focus was on weight reduction, hence less sound deadening was used and the power windows were replaced with hand crank units. Air conditioning was also forgone.


Handling wise, the uprated springs of the normal STI variant were retained along with the larger sway bars and upgraded dampers. Without any sort of anti-lock braking system, the RA models also forced you to be a little more alert.


From the factory, these cars also came with a close-ratio 5-speed gearbox and a more racing-oriented 3.90 final drive. Inside, this one’s been upgraded with a Nardi Deep Corn steering wheel and some AEM Electronics gauges.


Under hood is a closed-deck 2.0-liter EJ20 that was treated to an additional 5th injector, and a water sprayer for the top-mount intercooler.

Does anyone else know of any other cars that shipped with a factory water sprayer? Asking for a friend.


Walking about the WRX, I noted that it was clean, but not spotless, which for a car like this is actually perfect. We can’t forget that it’s almost 25 years old either.

As cars that were meant to be competed in, many RAs were sacrificed in the hunt for speed. Others, remain more race car than street car, and I’m sure there are a sad few kept under lock and key in a climate-controlled garage as a rainy day sort of investment.


Seeing an example like this being driven hard on the track was great. Though I suppose some of you might argue that a more natural habitat would be an unsealed forest road, I’m choosing not to split hairs here.

Among a wide assortment of cars at the fairly busy Speed Academy lapping day, this was one of my personal favourites. Much respect to the owner of this car for enjoying it exactly the way it ought to be enjoyed.

Dave Thomas
Instagram: stanceiseverythingcom



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Matthew Everingham

So cool to see one getting used properly.
I found one for sale at a dealership in Sydney many years ago. It's a shame I was so fixated on finding a mint R32 Skyline.

Keep thrashing!


WOW! I never lose hope to see more of this on the roads driving, track days and long long road trips.


"Does anyone else know of any other cars that shipped with a factory water sprayer? Asking for a friend."

Yes, Mitsubishi EVO VII-IX afaik.


Evo 4 to 8 and Evo X RS. The Evo 9 was not fitted with this device.


My Evo 3 has it as well, so I assume the 1 and 2 have it as well.


Evo 2 definitely. Mine does...


I suppose it makes sense Homolgation cars would all have them haha. I feel like I opened a deep research rabbit hole for myself.


The ST205 Celica GT-Four WRC (the one that got banned) shipped with it from the factory as well. However I do recall that it may have needed an extra fuse, relay or disconnected plug to actually enable it. Most homologation models of that time probably had it, as it was the only way they were allowed to have it on the actual rally cars.


It was the team not the car that was banned


sorry almost forgot evo 5 - 6 also has. it uses the washer bottle. there is a button for it inside the cabin


Celica GT-Four ST205 WRC homologation car had deactivated anti-lag and water spray bar amongst other features. Love the type RA’s too though


Sorry but, what's the purpose of the additional 5th injector ?
For anti lag ?


Funny you should ask, from my research it actually didn't do anything with the stock ECU and stock tune but as Vince and Marco mentioned it had to be there for use on the rally cars.

In that case I'd guess it may have helped with lean conditions? While writing this I couldn't come to any conclusive answers. :/


Old fashioned way of performing antilag was using an additional injector.


This has been the most informative, and positive comment are I've encountered in some time. Thanks!


The 5th injector on the actual rally cars injects fuel into the manifold where it actually combusts as part of the anti-lag system.

Sorry for the double post on the Gt-Four, you beat me to it! There is a guy over on retro rides forum that has managed to activate the water spray bar and it seems pretty effective. His videos are also on youtube somewhere as he's built a pepper mint green Gt-four with boosted Beams engine. Most of the anti-lag systems on those era of homologation cars would be hard to ever activate but again i think that guy is going to try.


This is the best Subaru ever made. That said, I don't get the pricing here in the states. They'd consistently ask 6-8k.... for a stock 2.5RS. With 130hp. I wanted one, but couldn't justify the price, so I wound up getting a 95 S6 Avant with a 5 cylinder turbo and a way better interior for $5k. I'm happy.


Bunta is that you?


Check out the carbon fiber water tank on the Porsche 991 GT2 RS. Also, M4 GTS has an intercooler water sprayer.


The '04 - ? STI had Intercoooler sprayers as well ...


I've always been drawn to the RAs, the 95s may have some of the last closed deck engine blocks. Torque shift button first seen here I think


I think the tommi makinen evo 6 had the sprayer.