Ferrari engines appearing in rally cars are no new thing. After all, the Lancia Stratos is pretty famous for bringing the prancing horses’ legendary engines to the rally stages, and even Maranello’s finest took a 308 GTB rally car once. However, we never quite expected to see one become the beating heart of a Subaru – although one hero has had another idea.
The team at Top Gear has filmed Sam Albert’s impressive and unconventional creation, seeing an F136 V8 transplanted under the bonnet of a blob eye Impreza WRX STI rally chassis. Normally, you’d find them housed in a mid-2010s Maserati Quattroporte complete with a cross-plane crank or Ferrari California T with a flat plane, which is where this particular lump was sourced from.
This isn’t just a “just because” toy, either. It’s actually competing. Rules for the American Rally Association (ARA) allow for naturally-aspirated engines under 4.5 liters and without any restrictions. This discovery sprung an idea in Albert – an instructor at Dirtfish Rally School when he’s not racing – leading to him finding the V8, which he said wasn’t any more expensive than a competition-built boxer four you’d normally see in an Impreza rally car.
Naturally, such a bonkers mish-mash wasn’t an easy thing to put together, with “a lot of late nights and a lot of sacrifices made” to get it working. Just from looking at it, you can tell the engine barely fits and requires it to be sat quite far forward within the bay, though despite this, Albert says weight distribution isn’t far off from what it is with the original engine in.
The engine itself is largely stock, though without a radiator to help it fit into the car. It’s hooked up to a sequential gearbox, which Albert says uses the original Subaru casing but with completely different internals.
Will it prove a competitive formula? Time will tell, but we suspect victory for the best-sounding car in any ARA event this year will be locked in.