In 2020 I wrote about the potential of the Subaru BRZ but its lack of a track-oriented trim level:
If we want a truely lightweight track-oriented weapon like the 2002 WRX STI Spec-C Type RA, we'll need to build it ourselves... or really, deconstruct the cars we have, in order to make one.
… so I built one myself.
It had been five years since I had owned a track car, it was the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was languishing, and my wife said "You need to do something, you need to make your own happiness".
Your Own Happiness
‟Your Own Happiness” is the name I've given to a 2017 Subaru BRZ purchased in October 2020 with 66k miles. The build mission is a trackable street car with a whole bunch of very subtle OEM+ aesthetic changes.
I've given myself a few principals to guide the build:
- The Subaru BRZ / Toyota 86 is a perfectly balanced drivers car for those on a budget.
- This build will be a trackable street car, in that order.
- Power is a band-aid for poor setup and lack of driving skill.
- Nobody is impressed if you can only pass in the straights.
- Weight and simplicity are key: Complexity means more maintenance, more weight, more cost, more heat, and more futzing at the track: reducing fun and seat time.
- A car that reinvigorates the idea of driving delight at an affordable price.
- Drive it to the track & back
- Make power with 93 Octane
After a six-month search for a gently used Crystal White Pearl Kouki (2017-2020) BRZ or 86, I found one on the Subaru Certified Pre-Owned web portal in Annapolis Subaru. I called them and immediately put down a deposit. I rented a car and drove 11 hours on a Friday night, starting at 10pm, arriving at 9am Saturday morning. The car was in great condition, and lucky for me, this was just before COVID-19 caused used-car prices to skyrocket.
Many, if not most of the performance improvement ideas were taken from my previous RASpec Impreza build, and applied to this car, only simpler.
Thus far the car has seen 18 track days between racing & drifting, and has handled them beautifully, with only a few minor issues. It’s not making ridiculous amounts of power for a street car, keeping reliability and affordability in check. Most importantly, it’s fulfilling its destiny as a driver’s car, customised for its intended use and used well.
The car itself, the physical object—isn't what makes me happy, its the involvement in creating my vision with my own hands, it's the participation in motorsports, and of course the people and friends I make along the way. That is my own happiness. What is yours?
Tomei Japan EXPREME Ti equal-length manifold, Fujitsubo Authorize R TypeS cat back exhaust, ECUTek tune (188hp/145.6tq) by R Tuned at Kinetic Motorsports, HKS oil cooler, Odyssey PC1100 battery, Beat Rush sound generator delete.
Cusco engine mounts, Cusco steering rack bushings, Cusco shift lever bushings, Cusco rear differential bushings, Cusco braided steel clutch hose, Perrin rear shifter bushing, MTech shifter springs, STI transmission mount, PBM solid rear subframe bushings.
Öhlins Road & Track coilovers, modified OEM knuckles, Hotchkiss front endlinks, H&R 15mm spacers, Cusco front strut bar, Cusco master cylinder stopper, extended tie rods, DBA 5000-series 2-piece front rotors, Spiegler braided steel brake lines, CounterSpace CSG Spec C1 & C11 pads, Ferodo DS2500 brake pads, ARP extended wheel studs, Muteki SR48 open-ended lug nuts.
Enkei GTC02 in Hyper Silver F 17x7.5+38 R 17x9+43 on Goodyear Eagle Exhilarate F 215/45/R17 R 225/45R17.
WedsSports TC-105X EJ Titan 17x9+35 square on Yokohama ADVAN A052 225/45R17.
ENKEI RPF-1 17x9+35 in Matte Black on Bridgestone POTENZA RE-71RS in 225/45R17.
Subaru STI bumper lip and lip skirt, CLEiB carbon fiber side skirts, Cusco tow strap, Verus Engineering carbon fiber side markers, Aerocatch hood pins, Quik-Latch front bumper release, Audi Q3 overfenders, Perrin license plate bracket, Subaru 'Type RA' badge from the WRX STI.
Bride Zeta IV seat, MOMO Type 78 steering wheel on Works Bell quick release with steering controls switch kit, Verus Engineering throttle pedal spacer, P3 v3 ODB gauge, Safety Restore seatbelt webbing, OEM JDM Toyota/Subaru interior trim & door handles, Amerex & Element fire extinguishers.