Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Launch Edition Landing

For those waiting for the 2015 WRX STI Launch Edition, your wait may be over... in May.  Likely delayed due to a recall on the STI Exhaust, the coveted Launch Edition trim level, which was limited to 1000 units, is starting to make the rounds.  Most expected the Launch Edition WRX STI to be out first (as it's name would suggest) but as early as April, there were already units hitting dealership lots before the classic blue car with gold wheels touched down. This one was spotted in South Dakota, so they're starting to arrive finally.

Sadly, 2015 will mark the last "hurrah" to the Blue and Gold livery made famous by the 555 Rally Cars that etched Subaru into WRC History.  "State Express 555" was a brand of Cigarettes made by Benson & Hedges, an iconic look that Subaru won't offer on a factory car ever again.  It's a shame that this legendary look for a Subaru Rally Car is going away simply because of it's original association... something that has long been overshadowed by the fame that a Subaru with blue paint and gold wheels has accomplished.  Current liveries for Subaru Rally Team USA feature Dark Gray, White, and Blue for David Higgins / Craig Drew and Dark Gray, White and Red for Travis Pastrana / Chrissie Beavis.  Even the Global Rallycross cars seem to be moving away from any sort of Blue with Yellow or Gold.

The same day the Launch Edition WRX STI was announced also marked Subaru's re-signing of Travis Pastrana to Subaru Rally Team USA, so while one legend was on it's way out, another was making their return to the sport that these cars excel at.  Episode 2 of Launch Control does an excellent job of retelling Travis' history with SRT USA as he settles into a familiar car with a familiar team around him.  It's an interesting changing of the guard, especially considering how their paths crossed, to see the 555 Livery that Colin McRae made famous back in the 90s fade away while Travis Pastrana is signed up again to take the reigns of a Subaru.  Not to say that McRae can ever be replaced, but at the core of it all is Subaru and Rally... regardless of the name on the window or the colors on the door.

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