A race car built by a motorstore in Gateshead has become the fastest Impreza around the Nürburgring in Germany.
The £60,000 Subaru Impreza Project STI was hand-built to celebrate Duston-based Revolution Motorstore’s 15th year in business and took more than 400 hours to build.
Workshop manager Glen Copeland said: “We wanted to do something crazy to celebrate our 15th year in business and we just thought – we’ll build a race car.”
The firm specialises in vehicle service, repairs and modification work at its £1.1m Clock Mill Road headquarters, near the Metrocentre in Gateshead.
Revolution Motorstore has already grown its annual sales by 8.2% and workshop manager Glen Copeland expects the same growth over the next year.
And Copeland added: “Within five years we want to have a turnover of around £5m and open more branches.”
Over the last five years, the firm had year on year average growth of just over 6% – despite the recession.
The firm currently employs 12 staff at its purpose-built 9,000 sq ft headquarters, which houses a showroom, workshop, training and web development team.
The motorstore has also just taken on two new staff and a sales apprentice, while there are plans to take on another two members of staff over the next 12 months.
The company’s Impreza set a record lap time of 7:53.08 around the German motorsports complex – making it quicker than the production model driven by Finnish rally driver Tommi Mäkinen in 2011 which had a time of 7:55.00.
Dubbed Project STI, the vehicle is the first of a limited edition consisting of 10 cars and has been featured in 13 magazines in UK, Europe and the States.
Copeland, who has been with the firm for 16 years, said: “As a North East family business we’re very proud to have potential customers looking at businesses outside of London. This vehicle is number one of 10 and we’ve had interest from potential buyers from as far afield as South America.”
Online, the car’s success has gone viral with the in-car footage of the record-breaking lap with 70,000 views and an interview with CBS sports channel Xcar at more than 35,000 views.
The business, which has more than 100,000 customers globally, as well as a loyal following in the North East, is now considering more outlets, starting with the UK, specifically in the North West.
Copeland said: “It’s a very exciting time for us. We have a massive following in the North East and globally, we are exporting to 36 countries – with a potential franchise opportunity in India. The future is in opening more branches throughout the UK. We’ve also won many national industry awards over the years.”