To help celebrate 25 years of the Subaru WRX, Subaru New Zealand have been on the hunt for New Zealand’s top 25 WRXs, and the winners have recently been chosen.
The competition proved just how much Kiwis love their WRXs, with more than 12,000 votes being placed on the 268 entered vehicles.
The 25 winners have all received tickets to attend the Leadfoot Festival, which will be held over Waitangi Weekend, February 4 and 5, 2017, where they will enjoy Subaru hospitality as well as have their WRX on display in prime position.
Five lucky owners will also be chosen on the day to drive their car up the iconic racetrack at the venue.
Subaru New Zealand’s Managing Director, Wallis Dumper — who together with Leadfoot Festival founder Rod Millen and Subaru Brand Ambassador (and WRX driver) Ben Hunt formed the judging panel — says it was incredible to see the variety of WRXs entered in the competition.
“Looking through all the entries was like a trip down memory lane of the entire 25-year history of our best bang-for-buck performance car. We had everything from a 1995 WRX WRC car, rare 22B limited-edition models, through to a spec’d-up Time Attack STi, and also some later-model WRXs.
“We look forward to seeing them all lined up at Leadfoot Festival and encourage all those coming along to this fantastic February event to make sure you admire them on display,” Dumper says.
Among the winners was Simon Rowe of Auckland, who owns a 2013 Subaru Impreza WRX Crouching Tiger limited edition, which is number eight of only 10 bought into New Zealand. He wasn’t after a blue, red, or white WRX.
“The orange just appealed to me. I liked the colour scheme,” he says.
Rowe has owned it for four years and although it is his daily driver, he says, with a laugh, that his wife is not allowed to drive it and it is banned from doing the supermarket run. He has never been to Leadfoot Festival before and is looking forward to going next year.
Wellington-based Graham Hill was extra thrilled to receive the news that his 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STi Spec C Type RA-R was one of the country’s best 25 WRXs. Not only has he always wanted to attend the Leadfoot Festival but Saturday, February 4 is his birthday and he will be able to celebrate it by showcasing his WRX in the competition-winners display area. This high-performance model comes with a potent set of specifications and was only sold in Japan in a batch of 300 — 125 were white, 125 were blue, and 50 were yellow.
Chris Watt was encouraged by his local Subaru dealership in Tauranga, Farmer Autovillage, to enter the best 25 WRXs competition, because the staff there knew his 1995 Subaru WRX RA is his “little pride and joy”.
“For me, purchasing this WRX really was a mid-life crisis. It took me back to my youth when they first came out. I used to ogle them in Wingers but couldn’t afford one,” Watt says.
At the event, not all WRXs will be on static display, with the cars also being the official pace car of the event, and the famous ex–Possum Bourne World Rally Championship WRX STi once again being driven by Scottish-born rally legend Alister McRae.
After coming tantalizingly close to snatching victory from the Millen clan last year in this 1998 Vantage Motorsport Subaru, during his debut at the event, Mr McRae ended up second to first-time Leadfoot Festival–winner Rhys Millen. This year, armed with prior knowledge of the Hahei hill climb’s twists and turns, McRae will be hunting down a win and a record-breaking run to help commemorate the 25 years of WRX in New Zealand.
Click here to see all 25 winning WRXs.