Video: 700-HP Impreza Screams up an Italian Hillclimb

Influenced strongly by the WRC97, this fire-breather tears up the Alpe del Nevegal hillclimb in Belluno, Italy. The course climbs 1,725 feet over the course of 3.1 miles, and encourages drivers to tempt fate with long sweepers and a total lack of runoff area. Despite these challenges, Mike Jelinek and his 700-horsepower GC Impreza put down a stunningly-smooth run through the daunting course.

https://www.facebook.com/237505263057739/photos/a.237538619721070.1073741826.237505263057739/253720968102835/?type=3&theater

Simple lines, cues to its heritage, and wonderful wastegate chatter help this Impreza turn heads.

The built, 2.0-liter engine makes a usable 675 horsepower and 520 pound-feet of torque, all with remarkable response. Not a typical high-boost, small-displacement build; this motor makes power quickly and seamlessly, and its surprisingly-wide powerband is harnessed through a sequential gearbox, as is standard these days among top-flight hillclimbers such as this.

That power gets put to the ground via KW coilovers and Michelin slicks, and predictably, traction is incredible. As seen from one of Mike Jelinek’s onboard videos, albeit one shot at a different venue, the car surges forward quite effortlessly whenever the loud pedal is matted and never snaps sideways.

It also appears remarkably balanced at high speed, thanks in part to the massive front air dam and a rear wing picked off of a Subaru WRC car. It’s a complete package that puts him in league with the modified Lancia Delta Integrales and former Group B rally machines which dominate these sorts of events.

While it might not be the quickest machine on the Italian hillclimb scene, it’s certainly one of the more attractive – those Lancias always looked a bit too much like station wagons to be real beauties.

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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