It is, and this buggy is racing off-road.

Subaru earned its legacy of motorsport success in rallying, but it recently competed in a completely different type of off-road race with a wildly overhauled Crosstrek in the SCORE Baja 500. The Grabowski Brothers Racing team of siblings Dusty and Parker piloted this hardcore machine but weren’t able to finish the grueling race. The crew won its class in the earlier event in Lucerne, California, though.

Subaru Crosstrek Baja

This beast is a Crosstrek in name only. It retains a Subaru Boxer engine, which in this case is tuned by Crawford Performance. Gargantuan shocks sit at each corner to soak up the bumps, and the body amounts only to what is absolutely necessary.

“I am excited to showcase the capabilities of this vehicle, the Subaru Boxer engine platform, and our team. We are here to turn some heads and continue to prove the viability of the Subaru platform in off-road racing,” Quirt Crawford said.

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The Baja 500 ran for 515 miles (829 kilometres) in a loop beginning and ending in Ensenada, Mexico. While the event wasn’t a success, the team has already pledged to try again. The off-road Crosstrek will race in more desert events this year, including the 50th running of the Baja 1,000 in November. 

Putting a Crosstrek-branded buggy onto the desert trails serves as a way for Subaru to promote the new second-generation model arriving at dealers this summer. The brand’s latest compact crossover rides on the modular Subaru Global Platform, and the company’s 2.0-litre flat four-cylinder engine now produces 152 horsepower, versus 148 hp previously. While a six-speed manual is the standard transmission, expect most of them on the road to come with a continuously variable transmission. As a Subie, the Crosstrek naturally comes with all-wheel drive as a standard feature.

Source: Subaru, SCORE Baja 500

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