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The Impreza WRX STI Type R was introduced in 1997 and is a 2-door coupe version of the RA and has several features aimed at homologation for rallying. This is the vehicle Prodrive used for its Group N customer cars and also the donor vehicle for the Group A WRC in 1997, 98, 99 and 2000.
The 2-door body is slightly stronger/stiffer than the 4-door RA, and there is a rear header which further increases stiffness. The differences between the Type R and the JDM 4-door STi models are:
Short ratio gearbox
Adjustable Electromechanical Center Differential (DCCD)
ABSENCE OF ABS
Intercooler water spray
Rear brake caliper with two opposed pistons (the other versions have a single piston at the rear)
Tinted rear windows
No electric antenna
The gear ratios of the Type R and Type RA are much shorter than those of the standard STi (which themselves are lower than those of the British model). Gear ratios have lengthened in recent years. The 1997 Type R's fifth gear is actually shorter than the British Impreza's fourth.
The Type R introduced in 1997 was also the first Impreza STi to have a high-rise rear spoiler and color-matched side skirts. The standard STI models only got the larger spoiler and coded side skirts the following year.