Subaru Reveals WRX Project Midnight Time Attack Car for Goodwood Festival of Speed

Subaru is hoping to climb back to the top of the Goodwood Festival of Speed shootout this year, eight years after its last victory, with a mean-looking time attack machine dubbed “Project Midnight”.

This black-on-black, all-wheel drive weapon is based on a regular 2023 Subaru WRX sedan, and actually takes on the mantle of a spiritual successor to the Gymkhana 2020 “Airslayer”. While that car was intended to slide and jump about — including a 230-foot leap over a powerboat — it was no slouch at time attack either.

However Project Midnight is laser-focused on time attack alone, with Subaru Motorsports USA and Vermont SportsCar — the builders of Airslayer — aiming to make the WRX as fast as possible on an asphalt surface.

Nearly 300lb has been stripped out of the car’s weight compared to Airslayer — making Midnight some 1000lb lighter than a standard WRX at just over an Imperial ton (or around 1,100kg). That comes courtesy of a fully carbon-fiber body, despite even more outlandish looks and weight savings in the chassis.

The body is designed to channel as much air as possible to provide significant downforce required for time attack, and that includes an even bigger version of the rear wing sported by Subaru’s gravel rally car.

Midnight sports slightly larger wheels, with 18-inch OZ Superturismo LMP items in magnesium, wrapped in 280mm-wide Yokohama Advan slick tires. A different suspension geometry compared to Airslayer is centered on asphalt grip to keep as much of the tire on the road as possible.

Power is slightly down by comparison though, with Midnight’s two-liter, turbocharged boxer engine sporting just under 680hp and 680lbft of torque rather than the former car’s 860hp, 2.3-liter powerplant. However the goal is to put that all to the floor rather than using it to spin up the tires, though its hood-exit exhaust does mean a fire-spitting party piece.

Subaru has, appropriately, enlisted the driving talents of former F1 star Scott Speed for the Goodwood Festival of Speed, but he and Project Midnight won’t be the only Subarus heading up the hill in the timed shootout. They’ll be joined by Travis Pastrana, once again driving the Family Huckster in which he finished second in 2023 to the $4m, Vision Gran Turismo-based McLaren Solus GT.

This year’s GWFOS takes place on July 11-14, with practice runs across the four-day event ahead of the Sunday Shootout on Sunday July 14. Subaru last won the GWFOS shootout in 2016, after back-to-back wins for the Roger Clark-prepared, Impreza GR-based Gobstopper II, and we wouldn’t bet against a return this year.

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