Cars > Transform

Project Midnight is the fastest WRX ever made by Subaru Motorsports USA

A full-carbon WRX, anyone?

Take a proven rally platform, then make it even faster, wider, and lighter. That's Project Midnight. PHOTO FROM SUBARU

Subaru Motorsports USA has a knack for building crazy-fast cars aside from their usual hill-climb, rally, and rallycross race cars.

Its last epic creation was Project Airslayer, which was the feature car in the Gymkhana 2020 short film that showcased both the car’s abilities and the professional race, rally, and stunt driver Travis Pastrana’s driving skills as it shredded tires, jumped 230ft over a river (using its active adjustable rear wing to control the car’s pitch mid-air) with a boat passing underneath, plus all sorts of other insane stunts.

Four years later, the crazy guys at Subaru Motorsports USA thought of an encore: What if they did another wild project, but this time focused purely on speed and performance rather than a jack-of-all-trades rally car cum stunt machine like Airslayer? Project Midnight is the answer to that what-if.

Imagine all the downforce that comically large rear wing produces. PHOTOS FROM SUBARU

Starting with a 2024 WRX ARA24 rally car chassis, the team at Vermont SportsCar (Subaru Motorsports USA’s technical partner) caged, lightened, and widened the car to deliver a machine focused solely on outright speed and performance rather than high-flying histrionics and flashy Scandinavian flicks.

Bare weight was pared down to 1,119.9kg—136kg lighter than the standard WRX rally car, and 453.6kg lighter than the street car.

The car was significantly stretched to accommodate the wide, lightweight 18-inch circuit-spec OZ Superturismo LMP wheels made of magnesium alloy for absolute lightness (LMP stands for Le Mans Prototype, as in that Le Mans Prototype race car).

Yokohama Advan slick tires measuring 280/650 provide tenacious grip on the surface. The entire car is then rebodied in carbon fiber.

Even the rear wing is a cartoonish and overly exaggerated version of Subaru’s ARA24 gravel rally car. It would’t look out of place in the Tsukuba TC2000 circuit at a “Battle Evome” or “Attack Tsukuba” time-attack event.

What will the mad scientists at Subaru do next? PHOTOS FROM SUBARU

Under the hood lies a heavily modified 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four engine revving to a heady 9,500rpm, producing an astounding 670hp and roughly 922Nm of torque, all while spitting flames from its hood-exit exhaust.

The fully forged engine drives all four wheels through a six-speed sequential transmission that allows for clutchless upshifts, delivering power to the ground uninterrupted.

It’s interesting to note that while engine output is less than its predecessor Project Airslayer’s (which had a healthier 862hp), Project Midnight is faster thanks to better overall mechanical grip and aerodynamics that allow it to corner at far higher speeds.

Project Midnight will debut at this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, making a run up the Earl of March driveway, hopefully in record time. Former Formula 1 driver and rallycross champion Scott Speed will be piloting Project Midnight.

We hope we’ll see Project Midnight in more proper hill-climb events, and that it will break more records in the process.

Botchi Santos

Botchi is your friendly, walking car encyclopedia. He loves helping people choose the right vehicle for themselves as much as he enjoys picking the right one for himself. Expect him to write about car culture, test drives and car-shopping advice. His regular column is called ‘Car Life’.