The Bilster Mountain is calling (2 / 2)

Back to the rally legend. The day belongs to the WRX STI. It's his party, and every participant is looking forward to the moment when he is allowed to take the legend out on the track. It just so happened that I ended up in the instructor's vehicle for the introductory lap. It wasn't really planned that way, and I don't want to explain how it came about. But some coincidences are worth gold.

WRX STI. Ultimate driving machine and legend saying goodbye.
WRX STI. Ultimate driving machine and legend saying goodbye.

Werner Gusenbauer is Driftprofi, has a drift school at the Nürburgring with his son, and also raced with the BRZ the 24 race on the ring. It goes on the track. A quiet introductory round. Gusenbauer with the 200 PS BRZ with sequential gear ahead, one hand at the wheel, the other on the radio. A hungry pack of charged WRX behind it, it goes on the west loop with its extreme gradients and gradients. Demanding, and already the two bumps in front of the legendary mousetrap warn for respect. Then it descends with an 26% gradient down the hill, then up.

The rounds are getting faster, Gusenbauer remains completely relaxed, moderated - as if we were both going to get a bag of rolls from the bakery. While the participants in the back sweat, fight, optimize and fight for traction, we chat about the 24 hour race on the ring. Impressive!

I notice how impressive that is when I get to drive the WRX STI myself. I chase the instructions in my ear after the BRZ. Keep the ideal line as best you can, overcome my weaker self and stay on the gas where common sense urges you to brake.

The limit range of the WRX is far higher than my personal - I have no chance of even getting within striking distance of the 100 hp weaker BRZ. And the WRX is fascinating. The turbo comes down to the point, the handling is top notch, the feedback is precise. Forget all the reviews and criticisms there has ever been about the car. Drive yourself, make your own opinion. To put it in a nutshell, it is an impressive total work of art for a driving machine.

Training on the Westschleife is over too quickly. It continues with a handling course, race talk with Tim Schrick. I am learning a lot that day. For example, how to sit properly in the car to stay in control. Or how to steer and make the best possible cornering.

The limits of physics

From 18 p.m. it's time for the BBQ. I'm drained, hungry, thirsty. The break is good. Later it goes out again. In the WRX STI, the full course is open. The legend flies, the turbo boxer delivers the sound and power of all-wheel traction. Andreas, with whom I share the cockpit, is much more ambitious than me. After he has taken the wheel, we hang behind the lead car, the rest of the field follows at a long distance. In the mousetrap we then feel how the WRX negotiates with the limits of physics.

The day was challenging, especially for me as an inexperienced “normal driver”. And it was great because Subaru Germany delivered the perfect big party for a motorsport legend. My first real contact with a brand that has something special to offer. I enjoyed every minute. A relaxed, nice audience, a great Subaru Club on site, a friendly crew from Friedberg and a sophisticated, modern route made the event something special.

A quick thought on the edge.

One more brief thought away from Subaru, towards Saab. The most modern and exciting racing resort in Germany opened in 2013. In 2011, while the construction phase was still in progress, Saab Germany had the idea of ​​hosting a large Saab festival there in the future. The brand hasn't made it that far. But it would have been a great place.

Home is in the 9-3 Aero. The Viggensitze are almost as good as the Recaros of the WRX STI. And yes, my Aero is similarly uncomfortable suspension as the driving machine from Subaru. You can feel it on the country roads around the Bilster mountain, to the highway there are about 50 kilometers. Shortly before I take fuel. I'm in the pole position, the Subarus are jammed behind me. A WRX STI flies in with a dark boxer rumble. Proud of Boxer. Yes, that has something!

The Saab has free run on the autobahn. It's 250 kilometers, and where there is no limit, the turbo can run. He does it well, really confidently. The Kassel Mountains. I notice how I begin to question every motorway curve. OMG! Yes, I should improve. My steering behavior in fast corners, it's not confident. I've learned something, and maybe a motorsport virus is eating inside me. Or I caught a WRX-Subaru-BRZ thing like that. but who knows that?

17 thoughts on "The Bilster Mountain is calling (2 / 2)"

  • I even switched from an 9-3x to an outback, the 9-3X with the XWD and eLSD was very active, because the Outback does not come along, but 1,5 is also bigger with longer wheelbase and the basic design of the chassis is also different, where I also have to say that I rarely drove a car of this size (almost 5m) that is so neutral around the curve. Also, I'm a fan of your own quirky solutions (eg: Eyesight) the really low service costs 30% less than my 9-3 and this I come through everywhere and up attitude 🙂

    • Thanks Alex. I have to admit that in the week before the Bilster Mountain I went outback for the first time. The suspension I found remarkable, it has true comfort qualities. I was convinced by the concept of the Outback (no, I did not order one), it is a good choice. Have fun with it!

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    Many thanks for this great report, I would have liked to have been there, Subaru are just as fascinating as Saab, a small brand that is just different. What I regret with the new Subarus is that there are no more frameless windows

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    An info, to which the team of Muckelbauer pointed out, brings Saab and Subaru together even closer. Because both brands have the same origin, both come from the aircraft industry.

    • Right. And if you look more closely at Subaru, you will find even more. The penchant for understatement (apart from the WRX STI), the consistent pulling through of their own technical solutions, and Subaru delivers a lot of car for the money. And certainly you will find even more in common, even if a Subaru in the buzzer of all things is completely different than a Saab.

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      Subaru comes from the aircraft industry?

      I did not know that. History has to be rewritten. The “Boxer Rebellion” is generally located in China. In truth, he comes from Japan ...

      In any case, I think it's cool when smaller companies or brands in the automotive industry are still doing their own thing in the form of cars that are suitable for everyday use. Many such brands are no longer there. My eyes keep falling on Alfa. It's a shame that they don't have a station wagon in their range. I have to look at the Subaru website again ...

      • Aircraft construction since 1917. Incidentally, Subaru is only a small brand for us. 1 million four-wheel-drive cars a year are already a number.

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          Oh yes, that's a number ...

          ... especially since the model range is small and special. Who will buy a million “niche products”? How is this paragraph distributed globally? Exciting questions, exciting brand. Undoubtedly ...

          • Americans buy one half, the rest of the world buy the other half. With Legacy and Ascent, there are big models in the US that we can't get. And in Japan there are sambar, dias, justy and chiffon. The latter is a kei car for which you do not have to provide evidence of a parking space. Subaru has traditionally been successful in this business. So enough Subaru, tomorrow it goes on with Saab before the readers freak out ... 😉

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            What is a kei-car? Is this something like a Kaiten with wheels?


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    As always written very cool. Make Subaru interesting for me. What a coincidence, my SAAB friend also sells Subarus 😀

  • Fries counter… Thanks for the laugh of the day
    You made my day.
    Thanks also to Tom for the emotional description of the Subaru.

  • Somehow a pity that the WRX STI will not exist anymore. Found in always great. One of the last of its kind.

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    Oh man, that makes goose bumps! Must have been a great event, because you are a bit jealous. I wanted Orio to do something like that, but that's probably a dream.

  • I think the car is really mood, but the car also has a decisive disadvantage: The car does not have it with understatement. A Prollkiste par excellence with a frying counter on the tailgate which seems to have sprung directly from the 80ern. In Switzerland, I've seen the car almost every corner, mostly young people to whom an Audi S3 / S4 too inconspicuous or too expensive.
    Too bad, a little less conspicuous, but a nicer interior and it would really be a Saabalternative today

    • As always a very discreet way of speaking, dear Daniel. For your reassurance: There is the WRX STI without frying counter, so he likes better. The interior is, after the current revision, really well done. On the issue, other brands can do something. I wanted my 9-3 II to be so solid inside.

      • I like clear words ... As far as the interior is concerned: The workmanship is really good, as is the case with many Japanese. A Legacy and Impreza are on the move in the extended family circle, there is really nothing to complain about. Nevertheless, I find the appearance too gimmicky and therefore a bit “cheap”. Even if the current variant is indeed an improvement ...

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