It all started when I was deployed to OMAN during Iraqi Freedom - My wife was sending me all my WRC VHS tapes to keep me entertained. It was towards the end of the last VHS tape I had watched that she tells me she wants to get rid of the S2000 and get something with AWD. She felt a little nervous with the S2K in the rain, and she wanted something a little more stable.
Of course, I had just been watching years worth of WRC videos, so I was all pumped up when she said she wanted AWD. Her exact words to me were “Sweetie, I want something as fast as the S2000, AWD, 4 doors, and it can’t cost more either.”
I was like, dang, she just described the WRX to a “T”. Her reply was that she thought it was ugly (this is about the time when the Bug Eyes were coming to the US). I said unless she wanted an Audi S4 for almost 20 grand more, the WRX was the only thing that fit her criteria. She agreed to test drive one with me when I got back from the war.
About 6 months later, I returned to the US and we got our test drive. She still thought it was ugly, but that was the farthest thing from her mind after the tach went north of 3,000rpm and she felt the turbo kick in for the first time. She was addicted to boost!
We put our order in with Huffines Subaru in Texas and waited patiently for months to get one of the last 2002 Aspen White 5sp MT’s. At that time, Huffines Subaru was affiliated with Cobb Tuning, who intern was the only US distributor of APS products. They gave us a test drive of an APS Club Spec equipped car and my wife was instantly hooked. It was the BOV. She loved the sound. She said no matter what, she wanted that sound.
So it began...
My inspiration for the car was deeply rooted in tarmac rallying (after watching years of WRC rallies while deployed). I wanted to build a daily-driven road going version of the Prodrive World Rally Championship WRC S8 rally car. A car that really captured the essence of the WRC car, without being a full up replica. Replicas have been done in the past but I wanted something that was more like a factory special edition. Something that had presence. Something that was subtle but so special you couldn’t put your finger on exactly what it was until you looked a little longer, and noticed the fine details of what helps identify this car with its WRC heritage.
It was to be uber clean, as if it started life as a Prodrive WRC Privateer entry, only in not such raw form. It was to be a finished vehicle, capable as a daily driver on real roads, but a monster when pushed in the mountains. It was to be well balanced, both visually and mechanically, and also in it’s capabilities. I wanted a car that would blur the lines in the twisties, but could also excel at the circuit, or at a show - the ultimate daily driver. I wanted a car that really represented what the WRC is all about - a global motorsport, one that just happens to be the closest thing that someone could emulate with their road going car, since the WRC is based on them.
I knew the parts I chose had to have a European flavor, and so my quest began searching the globe for parts to represent a whole host of countries. From APS (Australia), Sparco, Orciari and Lester AutoTuning (Italy), H&R (Germany), Revolutions Wheels and AP Racing (UK), Michelin Sport division (France), Rev-Lab (Canada), STi genuine parts (Japan) and Hotchkis, Ground-Control, and Gimmie Gears (USA), many countries were represented in the build up of this car.
All the modifications to this car were chosen with a methodical, calculated precision. The balance had to be just right, down to the colors. The devil is in the details.
This car was developed over time (about 4 years), all on my own dime. No sponsors, no gimmies, nada - Just some hard work and an extreme dedication to build my ultimate dream car.
The interior sports a full Sparco compliment of their finest threads. Material was ordered from Sparco Italy to complete the look. One of the highlights is the full padded Alcantara dash, a throw back to the flocked dashboards of the WRC cars, to help eliminate glare when blasting down the rally stages. On the passenger side, I had the SRS Airbag logo digitized and then CNC embroidered in the same exact location as stock to pull of a factory look. Nested within the dash at its center, you’ll find a trio of Defi’s BF series gauges in Amber Red, one of the first sets imported into the country. The controls are all about keeping the theme, so the steering wheel got the Alcantara treatment as well. First, the WRX wheel was tossed in favor of a genuine STi wheel, and then stitched up by none other than Stitchcraft Custom Interiors of Hunting Beach, Ca - the same folks who do work for Chip Foose. The detail on the wheel is amazing. I had them replicate the stitching on the STi wheel down to the thread. It took 20 times to get right, but the end result was breathtaking. Roudign out the controls, the navigation system was from Kenwood, same electronic sponsor to that of the WRC car. The door cards got the Sparco treatment as well. The tops were done in Alcantara to match the lines of the dash, and the inserts were done in Netspacer fabric to match the inserts on the Sparco Monza seats. The rear seats went under the knife as well. Fully encased in Sparco materials to match the front seats, the headrests were reshaped to that of their counterparts, for that little something special. To finish out the interior, I installed Sparco’s competition 3 inch harness, along with their newly redesigned harness bar custom made for the WRX.
On the exterior of the car, the highlight has to be the front end. I designed the front of this car to emulate the WRC car (not to replicate it). The Prodrive lip, along with the Lester AutoTuning fog light covers and fender vents give the car a clean look. The modified one piece bumper complete with Orciari WRC grille and WRC projector headlights help solidify the WRC look. Fine details like the leading edge of the hood being cut to match the lines of the grill opening lend to it’s credibility as a WRC emulation, as do the Gimmie Gears WRC hood vent, which was molded from a real WRC competition hood. I chose not to get a set of WRC carbon mirrors because when looking at the car from the front, the stock White mirrors draw your eyes closer to the outer edge of the car, giving it a much wider, menacing appearance. The roof got the Spec C vent treatment, and the rear decklid sports a true WRC style wing, that hangs off the back of the car as if it just came from Prodrive.
Underneath, the chassis got a complete overhaul. To get telepathic reactions we said goodbye to the original steering rack and installed a custom unit from Rev-Lab. It brought the ratio down to an amazing 12.5 to 1 - just slightly over 2 turns lock-to-lock. The factory suspension was tossed in favor of H&R coilovers, mated to custom Ground-Control caster/camber plates up front, and STi Group N top mounts out back. Lightweight aluminum control arms from the overseas STi model were fitted, as were lightweight 25mm hollow sway bars from Hotchkis Tuning. Also from Hotchkis Tuning came a set of fully adjustable lateral links surrounded by their custom endlinks as well. Completing the suspension is a 40mm Cusco rear strut tower brace nestled in the trunk.
To help make the car stop as good as it cornered, AP Racing calipers from the UK were installed up front, loaded with Ferodo DS2500 pads (DS3000 for circuit duty) clamping on AP Racing 330mm slotted rotors. Out back, a set of Subaru Aluminum 2 piston calipers (as found on the 22B) were fitted and loaded with a matching set of Ferodo pads, but not without being powdercoated to match the AP binders up front first. Slotted rotors from Disc Brake Australia were fitted to the rear. Goodrich SS lines were used all around, filled with ATE Super Blue brake fluid. Housing all that stopping power is a set of Revolution Millennium tarmac rally wheels straight from the UK, in a WRC spec size of 18x8. These wheels were the first set imported into the country, and subsequently used in Revolution Motorsport print ads all over Europe. Wrapped tightly around them and contributing to the cars’ amazing kung fu like grip and stopping power, is a set of true Michelin N43 (hard compound) tarmac slicks from France- the same tires used by competing WRC teams around the world.
Under the hood of this WRC emulation is where it all comes to life. An APS SR30/15 trim turbo was chosen due to it’s dual ball bearing design and unmatched OEM-like quality. Breathing through an APS DR/500 FMIC an APS BOV was also installed. Spent gasses make their way through an APS 3” Turboback exhaust after getting sucked in by the APS Cold Air Induction system filtrated by K&N. Cooling duties go to the Fluidyne aluminum radiator. Getting the power to the ground is an APS lightened flywheel and Cucso Sport clutch combo. The factory gears were replaced with a STi RA close ratio gear set that was cryogenically treated for strength and reliability. Stiffeners such as a compliment of STi Group N mounts were used to keep the drivetrain in check. Dress up items by Prova were used to spice things up a bit, and the factory manifold was powder coated like it’s STi offspring.
So after years of hard work and dedication, I present you my submission for Top Scoob, the WRC Tarmac Project - WRC Tarmac Emulating Model:
Optional pic 1 - At the Show
Optional pic 2 - At the track
Motor / Drivetrain
APS SR30/15 trim turbo
APS DR/500 FMIC
APS 3" Turbo Back Exhaust
APS Cold Air Induction w/ K & N filter
APS Lightened Flywheel (12.5 lbs)
STI RA close ratio 5 speed gear set (cryogenically treated)
STI 565cc injectors
STI Group N Motor Mounts
STI Group N Pitch Mount
STI Group N Tranny mount
Exedy Sport Clutch
Walboro fuel pump
Unichip Engine Control with Boost Mapping
HKS Twin Power DLI Ignition System
Fluidyne Aluminum Radiator
Samco radiator hoses
Prova Hood Dampers
Prova Oil cap
Prova Radiator cap
Prova Brake Fluid cap
Prova Clutch Fluid cap
Castrol Syntec oil
HKS Circle Earth System
Optima Yellow-Top Battery
Cobb Tuning double adj.short throw shifter w/ hardened bushings
Red Line gear oil
Manifold powder coated to match IC piping
Suspension / Chassis / Brakes
STi aluminum control arms
Ground Control front camber/caster plates (top mount, custom anodized Gold)
STi rear group N strut tops
Cusco 40mm rear strut tower brace
Hotchkis Tuning front & rear sway bars (w/ rear subframe bracket)
Hotchkis Tuning front & rear endlinks
Hotchkis Tuning adjustable rear camber links
Rev-Lab quick steering rack (12.5:1 ratio)
Subaru tapered wheel bearings packed with Neo Synthetic HP 800
Kartboy exhaust hangers
Performance 4 wheel alignment
Revolution Millenium wheels, 18x8, ET50, Gold
Michelin N43 (hard compound) tarmac slicks as used in the WRC
AP Racing front BBK direct from England - 5200 series calipers w/330x28mm vented/slotted 2 pc. rotors
Subaru 2-pot 22B calipers on rear - custom powder coated to match front BBK
DBA rear rotors, 290x18mm, vented/slotted
Ferodo DS 2500 pads for street / Ferodo DS3000 pads for track
ATE Super Blue brake fluid
Goodrich Stainless Steel Brake lines
Exterior / Bodywork
WRC wing (NeoDesigns)
WRC hood vent (Gimmie Gears)
WRC front grill (Orciari) molded into bumper - converted to 1 piece WRC spec.
WRC headlights (Orciari) w/Hella optics
Prodrive front lip
Prodrive rear diff guard (polished and painted)
Subaru Spec C roof vent
Lester fog light covers
Lester air intakes molded to fenders (replaces side markers)
Leading edge of hood cut to match WRC car/grill
Custom grills for hood vent, and radiator opening
Subaru OEM Painted Side Skirts
JDM rear WRX badge (Red outline instead of Blue)
De-badged "S U B A R U" on decklid
Original vinyl logo’s designed by me, cut by Underground Graphics
Full Stitchcraft interior out of Huntington Beach, CA - covered in Sparco materials
Dash covered in Alcantara, with “SRS Airbag” logo replicated on passenger side airbag
Defi Triple Meter Hood covered in Alcantara
USDM STi steering wheel swap w/WRX cruise control intact, covered in Alcantara with STi stitching fully replicated
Sparco Monza front seats
Custom rear seat made to match the Monza fronts, thread for thread, with headrest shape of Monza replicated
Top of door cards covered in Alcantara, middle covered in Netspacer fabric to match seat inserts
Sparco Globe X shift knob covered in Alcantara
Sparco harness bar with a pair of Sparco 3” competition harnesses
2004 WRX radio bezel, center vents, and cup holder (dark Silver)
Red Hazard button from the JDM S203 model
2004 USDM STi gauge cluster
Defi BF Amber Red series gauges – Boost, Oil Temp, and Oil Press
Defi Control Unit II
HVAC illumination converted to Red to match gauges
Kenwood Excelon DDX8017 double-din DVD/CD/MP3 player
Kenwood P4100 GPS Navigation
That about does it for my submission for Top Scoob…