Your average Subaru Crosstrek, while moderately capable out of the box, isn't properly equipped for the rigors of a 487-mile (783-kilometer) desert race like the Baja 500. But with heightened engineering, courtesy of Subaru U.S., and the brand's iconic racing livery (which we all know adds at least five horsepower), this one is ready for competition.
In reality, this desert racer shares nothing in common with the average Crosstrek outside of name. It gets your run-of-the-mill race buggy look – exposed tires, tall ride height, bull bars, etc. – and the updated iteration of Subaru's iconic gold-and-blue race livery, which the company debuted in January.
Power comes from a non-turbocharged 2.5-liter Boxer engine, built by Quirt Crawford of Crawford Performance, that produces 300 horsepower (223 kilowatts). Again, that mill isn't anything you'll find on the average Crosstrek – or any road-going Subaru, for that matter. The new unit powers a "lightweight and reliable package," promises Subaru.
"Subaru is best known for its success in rally, but Subaru engines have been used in off-road buggies for years," said Quirt Crawford. "My goal with the Crosstrek Desert Racer program was to show what was possible with a non-turbocharged boxer engine in an unlimited class, and the results so far have been very strong. I'm looking forward to bringing the car back to Baja this year and showing what it can do!"
Gallery: 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Desert Racer
But this isn't the first time Subaru has taken on Baja. The Subaru Crosstrek Desert Racer debuted in 2017 and took home a second-place finish in class at Baja just a year later. Again in 2018, the Crosstrek racer took home a Class 5 Unlimited win at the 550-mile Las Vegas to Reno race, America's longest off-road event.
The 2019 Baja 500 kicks off on Saturday, June 1st. After that, Grabowski Brothers Racing will keep the Crosstrek racer active by entering it at this year's Las Vegas to Reno in August, before taking on the Baja 1000 in November.
Subaru of America today announced renewed support of the Subaru Crosstrek Desert Racer program with Crawford Performance and Grabowski Brothers Racing. The Class 5 Unlimited off-road buggy powered by a SUBARU BOXER engine will return to competition at this week’s legendary Baja 500 off-road race, debuting a new livery in the blue and gold competition colors of Subaru Motorsports USA and looking to improve on 2018’s second-place finish in class.
Since its debut in 2017 as the Subaru brand’s first factory-supported desert racing effort, the Crosstrek Desert Racer has pushed the boundaries of its class and racked up podium finishes including a Class 5 Unlimited win at last year’s 550-mile Vegas to Reno race, America’s longest off-road event. The Desert Racer is powered by a 2.5L non-turbocharged SUBARU BOXER engine built by Quirt Crawford of Crawford Performance, producing 300 horsepower in a lightweight and reliable package.
“Subaru is best known for its success in rally, but Subaru engines have been used in off-road buggies for years,” said Crawford. “My goal with the Crosstrek Desert Racer program was to show what was possible with a non-turbocharged boxer engine in an unlimited class, and the results so far have been very strong. I’m looking forward to bringing the car back to Baja this year and showing what it can do!”
For Subaru Motorsports USA, the Desert Racer’s new look reflects the expansion of the Subaru brand’s official racing efforts in America beyond rally and rallycross.
“The Crosstrek Desert Racer’s results over the past two seasons speak for themselves,” said William Stokes, Motorsports Manager for Subaru of America. “We’re proud to renew our support for Crawford Performance and Grabowski Brothers Racing, and bring our iconic blue and gold motorsports colors to the off-road racing world.”
The 2019 Baja 500 will kick off Saturday, June 1 and will feature a total race distance of 487.11 miles in a single loop on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. Grabowski Brothers Racing will continue the 2019 Crosstrek Desert Racer campaign by defending their class title at August’s Vegas to Reno event before moving on to the Baja 1000 in November.