Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Rhythm of the Beat

Words & Snaps by Ben

If there's one particular car I remember from my childhood watching the WRC, it is the first gen Impreza WRX GC8. And I believe I'm not the only one. 

Let's face it, who in their right mind would have not drooled over the blue and yellow liveried Prodrive/555 all wheel drive monster that used to tear through the World Rally Championship's stages? 

Nicholas sure was one of the droolers, and many years later, his childhood dream came true when he bought this GC8 Version 4 (GC8D) with the aim of turning it into a monstrous little toy. 

This car is no show queen. Other than the carbon fibre spoiler that tackles the rear end's stability, the exterior is pretty much stock. A touch of grunge comes from the black duct tape framing the front and rear screens since the original rubber seals decided to go for a vacation along a highway, but otherwise nothing has been done to alter the sexy lines of the WRX.

Function over Form, just the way we like it.

Nicholas wanted to start off with a clean slate - and this demanded he'd get a motor which he could start from scratch with, and that had enough potential to handle anything he'd want to throw at it. Enter the 2005 EJ20.

To get things going, he force-fed the boxer with a VF22 turbo set up. With this came in a Mishimoto fuel pump to make sure the engine doesn't starve on fuel, and a Perrin Performance Short Ram intake to free a few more horses through a better breathing. A Mishimoto oil cooler and oil catch tank ensure proper lubrication and cooling.

To get all 330 horses from the motor to the ground, Nicholas mated the EJ20 with an Exedy Racing Clutch. This setup was only missing a proper conductor and to answer this need, a Vipec ECU found its way up front to lead the rumbling symphony of beats.

While 330bhp is a rather humble figure for a GC8, this number, paired with the 900 odd kilos of the car, make up for a decent amount of power to play with. Besides, Nicholas wasn't aiming at tearing up the quarter mile with this car, he was more interested in building a reliable and fun time attacker.

And when time attack is involved, handling is crucial. Nicholas knew it and made sure to get the proper stuff to carve corners.

He started by upgrading the coilovers to D2 Race Suspensions. A Whiteline Camber Adjusting Bolt Kit gives the functional camber that ensures his tyres would get the optimal contact patch under heavy cornering, or under the powerful braking provided by the Brembo STI brake kit.

The best handling possible being paramount to his aspirations, Nicholas then proceeded to raid the Whiteline store to sharpen the cornering and steering of his GC8.

At the front, a Whiteline Roll Centre Bump-Steer Adjustment Kit improves handling and stability while improving front grip by maintaining a steady camber angle. Steering is further improved both in precision and feedback thanks to Heavy Duty Steer rack Mounts.

Handling and braking are also enhanced through Front Control Arm Lower Inner Bushings and a Front and Rear Trailing Arm Bush Kit. An Anti Lift Race Kit has also been installed to increase the front grip during acceleration and braking.

Roll control is handled by Whiteline's Extra Heavy Duty Alloy Front and Rear Sway Bar Link Assembly. The rear received another healthy dose of upgrades, with a Subframe Lock Bolt Kit, to avoid rear subframe movement and allow a more precise wheel alignment, and a Rear Differential Support Lock Kit to reduce rear end float, especially under acceleration.

Add to this the 7 point roll cage that towers over the rear seats, and you'll understand that this GC8's handling is as sharp as a razor. All that's left to do is to let the Yokohama Advan Sports, wrapped around the black set of Rota wheels, or even the R888 shod on Nicholas' gold set or rims provide the right amount of grip to catch this beabox around Sepang International Circuit.

All that was left to do was to make sure he himself wasn't going to fly off his WRX in those tight corners.

For this, Nicholas got his hands on a set of Recaro Seats, and Takata 4-points harnesses. Under his hands would fit a Momo Tuner steering wheel, and a carbon fibre gear knob to jump through the gears.

From behind the wheel, Nicholas keeps track of the beat of the boxer thanks to STI Genome Meters fitted snugly in their carbon fibre mount on the bash.

A series of essential Apexi tools comprising of an AVC-R and boost controller to handle the turbo, an RSM to monitor then engine, and finally a turbo timer, for a proper cool down after some hard riding around the track.

As a build is never finished, Nicholas got his hands on another EJ20, which he planned on handing over to Cosworth to get a boost in power. Sadly, this story might not happen as this GC8 is running out of paper life, and the Singapore laws dictate that it will be scrapped this coming April. We sure hope Nicholas will find a way to keep this story, and its beat, going.

1994 WRX GC8D
1,994cc 2005 EJ20 Turbo
Drive Layout
Max Output

Power Mods
Perrin Performance Short Ram Intake
Mishimoto Oil Cooler
Mishimoto Oil Catch Tank
Mishimoto Fuel Pump
VF22 Turbo Set Up
Exedy Racing Clutch

Rota Rims, 2 Sets (Black / Bronze)
Yokohama Advan Sports / Toyo R888
Brembo STI (Gold Brake Kit)
D2 Race Suspension
Camber Adjusting Bolt Kit
Whiteline Rear Differential Front Support Lock Kit
Whiteline Roll Centre Bump-Steer Adjustment Kit
Whiteline Anti Lift Race Kit
Whiteline Front Control Arm Lower Inner Front Bushing
Whiteline Heavy Duty Steer Rack Mounts
Whiteline Subframe Lock Bolt Kit
Whiteline F&R Sway Bar Link Extra Heavy Duty Alloy Assembly Kit
Whiteline F&R Trailing Arm Bush Kit
7 Point Roll Cage

Carbon Fibre Spoiler

Recaro Seats
Takata 4 Points Harness
Steering Wheel
Momo Tuner
Gear Knob
Carbon Fibre Knob
STI Genome Meters
Apexi AVC-R
Apexi RSM
Apexi Boost Controller
Turbo Timer


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