TYPE- RAD

RARE MODEL GC8 STI BUILT TO BEAT ON AT THE TRACK

NZ Performance Car - - Contents - WORDS: JADEN MARTIN PHO­TOS: ADAM CROY

build­ing a car is a very per­sonal process — tastes vary, and want­ing to cre­ate a style that rep­re­sents ‘you’ as a per­son is a huge part of that. Ev­ery decision, right down to the small touches, shapes the way peo­ple will per­ceive the fi­nal prod­uct and the per­son be­hind the wheel. All too often, though, you can find your­self al­ter­ing the orig­i­nal build con­cept to suit a spe­cific way things are ‘sup­posed’ to be done and en­sure the purists aren’t riled up. But when you boot any such thoughts out the back door and run wild, next-level awe­some can be achieved.

This was, with­out a doubt, Rus­sell Clarke’s ap­proach — even if he had never dreamed of own­ing the WRX in the first place. When he mi­grated from the UK in 2008, Rus­sell’s weapon of choice was a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated SW20 MR2, and he had full in­ten­tions to con­tinue that fo­cus here, so he began hunt­ing for a clean turbo ver­sion, to no avail. While un­lucky in that search, he did turn up a bit of a rare gem in the back garage of a lo­cal car dealer. “I had never re­ally liked Subarus back home and wasn’t par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in own­ing one at that point ei­ther, but the guy said, ‘I’ll take you for a ride’, and, straight away, I said to my­self, holy shit, these things can ac­tu­ally move,” Rus­sell ex­plained.

The STI Type-RA Lim­ited, which is a stripped down ver­sion of the WRX, al­ready sported a few en­gine mods and a close-ra­tio gear­box, but part of the pur­chase agree­ment was that it would be re­turned to fac­tory form me­chan­i­cally.

Af­ter throw­ing it around Pukekohe Park Race­way a hand­ful of times, Rus­sell quickly de­cided that he would chase the power he’d tasted on the test drive. This was when he met and be­friended a lo­cal Subaru spe­cial­ist, Paul Mil­lett from PS Au­to­mo­tive, who be­came an in­stru­men­tal part of the build. Paul knows Subarus like the back of his hand, hav­ing spent time as a Subaru-deal­er­ship tech­ni­cian. The pair planned a

The build was based around a sim­ple con­cept: for it to pull right through all the gears, whether it’s on the track, or on the street — not a huge num­ber on the dyno sheet

strong en­gine build that would de­liver us­able power through­out the rev range. They em­ployed a 2.1-litre EJ207 block and bolted BH Legacy heads on ei­ther side — which Paul ex­plained of­fer larger in­let and ex­haust ports. The heads were fur­ther ported to suit one-mil­lime­tre-over-sized valves — en­sur­ing op­ti­mal air flow. Cus­tom 279-de­gree camshafts were ma­chined, and are spun through Brian Crower ad­justable cam wheels. The in­take plenum was also flipped, and shaved to suit the new heads.

When more air is fed in, more fuel is re­quired, so a set of Fiveo­mo­tor­sport Black-Ops 1400cc top-feed fuel in­jec­tors was mounted into cus­tom Miller En­gi­neer­ing fuel rails, with a Zeitronix flex-fuel sen­sor fit­ted to al­low the sweet aroma of E85 to fill the car while main­tain­ing streetabil­ity on 98 oc­tane. Equally trick down back, the spare wheel well was al­tered to suit an ATL 12-gal­lon fuel cell with cus­tom surge tank, drawn from by twin Wal­bro pri­mary pumps.

Of course, with all the power-plant work go­ing on, the driv­e­line needed some at­ten­tion, too. An ’06 Spec C six-speed was in­stalled, us­ing a Cusco twin-plate clutch and keep­ing the fac­tory 3.9:1-ra­tio LSDs. As a new drive­shaft was re­quired for the fresh box, Rus­sell told us that it was as good a time as any to up­grade it to a cus­tom one-piece car­bon-fi­bre unit. Tuned at Dtech, the com­plete pack­age made an im­pres­sive 361kW and 590Nm at the wheels on 25psi of boost, run­ning E85. It no doubt blasted along the track some­thing wicked and sounded all kinds of rad while do­ing it, but, for all in­tents and pur­poses, it still looked like your reg­u­lar iconic-blue GC8, and Rus­sell wasn’t dig­ging the sleeper mode. How­ever, that changed when he stum­bled across what he said were his per­fect wheels, and the car’s looks now re­volve around them. There was an is­sue to re­solve first, though, as the 18x10-inch (-20p) Work Meis­ter S1 3P wheels

Up front, a pair of AP Rac­ing six-pot calipers grip 343mm float­ing MTEC J-Hook ro­tors, while, down back, you’ll find a Subaru four-pot pri­mary caliper and OBP hy­draulic hand­brake-con­trolled Subaru two-pot sec­ondary caliper combo

pushed far, far be­yond the fac­tory body lim­its, and al­though avail­able in the car’s na­tive 5x100 PCD, the hub bear­ings were too small for its in­tended use. To counter this, Paul and Rus­sell con­verted the hubs to V9 ex­am­ples, which have larger bear­ings — it did re­quired a fair amount of ma­chine work to make fit, though. Now even more de­ter­mined to force the car to work, they looked to the 22B for aes­thetic in­spi­ra­tion — Subaru’s fa­mous wide­body 2.2-litre Im­preza pro­duced to com­mem­o­rate both Subaru’s 40th an­niver­sary and its third con­sec­u­tive man­u­fac­turer’s ti­tle in the World Rally Cham­pi­onship (WRC). This was a four-door body, but there wasn’t much use planned for the ‘ex­tra’ two doors, so Paul and Rus­sell welded them shut to al­low one-piece rear quar­ter pan­els to be made — which would even­tu­ally be 110mm wider than fac­tory. Built from scratch at Mike Shaw Fi­bre­glass, they orig­i­nally took on a squarer DTMstyle look, which didn’t quite suit the rounder shape of the GC8, so they were re­vised to the curvier ver­sions you now see down back. The front guards are super-ag­gres­sive units out of the UK, mod­i­fied to dou­ble the width, again to 110mm wider than stan­dard, and given a fair amount of vent­ing to help re­move

The in­te­rior houses a eight-point roll cage, Sparco race seats, and a flocked dash that has had the fac­tory clus­ter re­moved in favour of a Race Tech­nolo­gies Dash2 Pro that dis­plays all the vi­tals from the Link G3 ECU

air from around the wheels — no doubt to keep those six-pot AP Rac­ing front brakes cool, too. Al­though you may not be able to pick it at first, the side skirts are gen­uine V8 su­per­car units that have been mod­i­fied to follow the new body lines. Rus­sell told us, “I re­ally wanted that front wrap-un­der cut­away style, and I’m glad we did, be­cause it works so smoothly with the open end of the front guards.” The front bumper is yet an­other cus­tom piece that has been chopped, chan­nelled, and vented to pro­vide op­ti­mal aero — you may no­tice the use of BNR32 bumper vents, too — and the rear was a cheap score that has been pumped out to match the width. Over­all, the kit is a one-off, and you’d have a hard time try­ing to repli­cate it, as the shape cre­ates a com­plex se­ries of body lines that are only fur­ther off­set by the wild liv­ery it now sports.

Speak­ing of that liv­ery — it was in­spired by one of the most un­usual things that we’ve heard of to date: it was found on the shaft of a golf club while Rus­sell chipped off the num­ber-five green at his lo­cal golf course. He took the idea to Ash at Hero Prints, who based

If you thought this car would be re­stricted to track work, you’d be wrong. A key build el­e­ment was to keep it road le­gal, so, freshly cer­ti­fied and Motorsport New Zealand author­ity carded, it was driven to the shoot with­out fear of Johnny Law, then taken to a bent sprint event af­ter­wards.

the colours around the wheels, tak­ing bronze from the an­odized lips and adding the white for a touch of con­trast. While Rus­sell’s rapt with the de­sign, the ap­pli­ca­tion process wasn’t easy, and he was turned down by mul­ti­ple wrap shops that didn’t want to deal with the com­pli­cated lay­er­ing of the de­sign. Paul sug­gested that Har­rier Signs and Ma­chine Sig­nage, bet­ter known for their work on large ma­chin­ery and Boe­ing 737s, might be able to print the en­tire de­sign and ap­ply it as a solid sheet — which they did, and the fin­ished re­sult, even around those finicky tight spa­ces, is spot on. “It was for­tu­nate that they re­ally knew what they were do­ing, oth­er­wise it may not even be wrapped now, and it’s been such an es­sen­tial piece of the build,” Rus­sell said.

This is the type of build that in­spires one of two emo­tions — love for how wild it has be­come or hate for how far it has strayed from the fac­tory ex­am­ple. But that’s just what Rus­sell was af­ter, as he told us: “I kind of wanted it to gen­er­ate both feel­ings for peo­ple. It’s a car that rep­re­sents me; it’s the the ma­te­rial rep­re­sen­ta­tion of my per­son­al­ity. Every­one is into dif­fer­ent things — some will have a very spe­cific taste, while oth­ers en­joy a bit of ev­ery­thing. The main thing is [that] it gets peo­ple talk­ing.”

PER­FOR­MANCE POWER: 361kW BOOST: 25psi TORQUE: 590Nm FUEL: E85/98 (flex-fuel)

HEART EN­GINE: Subaru EJ207, 2000cc, four-cylin­der BLOCK: 2.1-litre semi-closed deck, new Subaru bear­ings HEAD: Shim­less BH Legacy heads, AVCS delete, ported and pol­ished ex­haust ports, ported in­take ports, cus­tom 279-de­gree camshafts, Brian Crower ad­justable cam wheels, up­graded valve springs, 1mm over­size valves, ARP head studs IN­TAKE: Cus­tom in­take pipe, Si­mota fil­ter, cus­tom front-mount in­ter­cooler pip­ing, flipped and shaved plenum, 22-carat-gold in­su­la­tion wrap EX­HAUST: PS Au­to­mo­tive stain­lesssteel three-inch, Cobb ex­haust tip, sin­gle muf­fler, PS au­to­mo­tive cus­tom equal-length man­i­fold TURBO: Gar­rett GTX30R WASTEGATE: TiAL BOV: Go Fast Bits FUEL: Fiveo­mo­tor­sport Black-Ops 1400cc top-feed fuel in­jec­tors, Miller En­gi­neer­ing cus­tom fuel rails and brack­ets, Zeitronix flex-fuel ethanol sen­sor, ATL 54.5-litre fuel cell, Miller En­gi­neer­ing cus­tom surge tank, twin Wal­bro pri­mary pumps, ex­ter­nal lift pump, TiAL fuel-pres­sure reg­u­la­tor IG­NI­TION: MSD ig­ni­tion leads ECU: Link G3 (run­ning G4 firmware) COOL­ING: Al­loy radiator, top­mounted oil cooler EX­TRA: MAP driver-con­trolled cen­tre dif­fer­en­tial (DCCD) con­troller; shaved and de-loomed en­gine bay; motorsport-spec wiring through­out; brake booster re­moved; Miller En­gi­neer­ing cus­tom three-in­one coolant reser­voir, over­flow, and catch-can; Hardrace en­gine mounts

SUP­PORT STRUTS: Tein Type Flex coilovers; (F) 15kg springs, (R) 13kg springs BRAKES: (F) AP Rac­ing six-pot calipers, 343mm float­ing MTEC J-Hook ro­tors, End­less race pads; (R) Subaru four-pot pri­mary calipers, Subaru two-pot sec­ondary calipers, PS Au­to­mo­tive mount­ing plate, 328mm ro­tors, End­less race pads; Til­ton pedal box with hid­den re­mote reser­voirs, Wil­wood com­pact mas­ter cylin­ders, OBP hy­draulic hand­brake EX­TRA: White­line ad­justable arms, White­line front and rear sway bars, Ul­tra Rac­ing un­der-braces, 5x114.3 PCD hub con­ver­sion, mini-tubbed front wheel arches, en­larged rear arches, welded rear doors, light­ened in­ner body, eight-point roll cage DRIV­E­LINE GEAR­BOX: 2006 Subaru Spec C six-speed CLUTCH: Cusco twin-plate FLYWHEEL: Fac­tory DIFF: Fac­tory Subaru lim­ited-slip (3.9:1-ra­tio) EX­TRAS: The Drive­shaft Shop car­bon-fi­bre sin­gle­piece drive­shaft, Hardrace gear­box mounts

IN­TE­RIOR SEATS: Sparco Evo, Sparco Argo, PS Au­to­mo­tive cus­tom fixed mounts, Wil­lans five­point race har­nesses STEER­ING WHEEL: Sparco with dig­i­tal dash–con­trol but­tons IN­STRU­MEN­TA­TION: Race Tech­nolo­gies Dash2 Pro data-log­ging dig­i­tal dash with GPS EX­TRA: Key delete, cus­tom mis­sile switches for high-low boost, ig­ni­tion, lights, and push-to-start; Sparco gear knob; flocked dash

EX­TE­RIOR PAINT: Hero Prints–de­signed liv­ery ap­plied by Har­rier Signs and Ma­chine Sig­nage EN­HANCE­MENTS: Cus­tom 110mm front and rear wide­body guards, cus­tom front and rear bumpers, cus­tom ca­nards, mod­i­fied V8 su­per­car side skirts, Plas­tics 4 Per­for­mance poly­car­bon­ate ther­mo­formed win­dows DRIVER PRO­FILE DRIVER/OWNER: Rus­sell Clarke AGE: Of­fen­sively young LO­CA­TION: Auck­land OC­CU­PA­TION: Sci­en­tist BUILD TIME: Seven years on and off LENGTH OF OWN­ER­SHIP: Nine years THANKS: My son, Ca­ian, and my part­ner, Julie; PS Au­to­mo­tive; Miller En­gi­neer­ing; 0800 VapourBlast; Elite Tints; Paul, Terry, Pete, and Blair; MS Fi­bre­glass; Har­rier Signs and Ma­chine Sig­nage; Hero Prints; Tony from Dtech Motorsport SHOES WHEELS: 18x10-inch (-20p) Work Meis­ter S1 3P TYRES: 265/35R18 Zestino Gredge 07R (semi-slick)

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