It’s a funny old thing, being a photographer and a writer; usually when I’m at the track, I’m capturing others having a blast, and writing about their highs, and their lows — capturing the event as an outsider looking in. This time though, Rex our 2008 Subaru WRX STi project got involved out on the circuit, with me behind the leather-wrapped momo-style factory wheel. The event; Street Fighters 2017, held at the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in the ‘Track One’ configuration.
With the help of ST Hitec, we were able to attend this brand new event held by Guy Maxwell and Choice Events & Promotions, to try out our most recent upgrades and additions. This article won’t be a picture heavy one of my vehicle, as I struggle to photograph and drive, but rather some moments I enjoyed at the event — and there were many. After passing scrutineering on the Friday evening before the event, I was second in line come race day — chomping at the bit to put the pedal to the metal, longer than legally possible on the street.
After milling around in the rain for several damp minutes wondering where’d I store my camera gear for the day, I met a nice guy by the name of Cam Stephens. Cam had hired a double pit garage for the event, and had one spare. The bill was split into two, and I had myself a pit partner who was a fellow Subaru enthusiast. Cam’s WRX STi, a 2004 example, had been tastefully upgraded and tuned by Possum Bourne Motorsport to the tune of 220kW at the wheels and featured one of the loudest exhausts I have ever heard, thanks to a Titanium Tomei system.
So, what upgrades had I done prior to this event? Last time we came to this circuit, the Subaru was on street tyres and brakes. I managed to have the tyre de-laminate on the corners of the tread blocks, and I then proceeded to boil the brake fluid, and overheat the factory pads with ease. Yes, the Subaru has gigantic four-piston front Brembos from the factory, but the street pads could not handle heat well.
To remedy this, I ordered Project Mu B-Spec pads for each caliper, Hel stainless brake lines, Motul RBF600 brake fluid, DBA T2 slotted rotors all round, and a Cusco brake master cylinder stopper. Once installed, I noticed an immediate improvement in grab and feel on the street. To solve my tyre overheating issue, I had fitted a set of Zestino 07R Gredge semi slicks in the factory Subaru sizing to my recently acquired 18x9.5-inch (+30P) Work Emotion 11R wheels.
Simply put, the Subaru was a savage! The brake and tyre combo once warmed up stopped and steered the Subaru with an elegant ease. It made driving around slower, more street-orientated cars a breeze. Surprisingly, it managed to peel past plenty of other Subaru and Evos down the long Taupo brack straight, too (maybe it was my special Torco race fuel concentrate mix? hehe).
With cruising sessions much more casual than the race sessions, we were allowed an hour to cut laps with friends in the car, and drag race people down the back straight. It was similar to lining someone up on the highway, and giving them a good run until somebody eventually jumps on the anchors.
There were some seriously cool cars out on track too, like Bhavish Rathod's Mitsubishi Evo VII featuring a rad set of wheels, ride height, and grunt to boot. (Sorry about the water on the lens!)
One of the best things about the weekend was comparing Rex with other Subarus of the same generation. As we don't know what power it's actually making, it was good to know we pulled past a tuned 211kW at the wheels example. It managed to hold neck and neck with Cam's 220kW '04 example too, so I think it's putting out around about that power wise — cool!
I can't stress enough how good it was having an enclosed area in which to wind down between sessions and keep our gear dry. It truly made our weekend much more enjoyable — thanks again Cam. With a few tweaks, I think the Subaru will be a heap more fun on the track. I will be making the switch to a higher temp race pad, adding in my recently purchased roll-center adjuster kit, and I may even go to a wider 255-wide semi slick. None of this will be done before the cambelt, water pump, and baffled sump though! Thanks heaps for having us Choice Events & Promotions, and thanks to Iain Clegg of ST Hitec for helping to make this weekend happen.