Sunday, February 22, 2015

Top Times in the Tundra!

February 22nd marked the first rallycross event on the 2015 NRSCCA schedule.  Appropriately dubbed "The Chili Bowl", this event was bitterly cold.  With high temperatures in the mid teens and wind chill to knock it down to the single-digits, you'd have to be CRAZY to attend, right?  One look at the roster for the event tells a different story.  27 entries, with 16 of them Subarus, made for the biggest rallycross season opener for the Nebraska Region SCCA ever.

It was quite the show!  There were plenty of familiar faces in attendance, but the bulk of the entry list were drivers that were new to rallycross.  For many, this was their first event attacking on dirt with their road warriors.  Still, that didn't stop them from improving with each lap and learning with every corner.  After the dust had settled, Subarus occupied the top spots of all three of the All-Wheel Drive categories: Stock, Prepared, and Modified.

Speaking of top times, in a previous post I mentioned that my car would have a co-driver.  Jon Simmons gave me awesome advice and helped me and my 2.5 RS Coupe to improve lap after lap and go toe-to-toe with other seasoned drivers at the event.  Thanks to his guidance and expertise, I managed to land 3rd in my class and 5th overall.  Not only that, but Jon wheeled his way to 1st in our class and overall for the entire day!  I'm admittedly proud that he did it (and beat out other "faster" cars) with my RS.  It's encouraging to see a result like that in a car I've been working on.

Regardless of the results, I was personally most happy with the experience overall.  Working with people at the event, talking with drivers in-between runs, and the fantastic support and help from my co-driver made the event more than enjoyable.

Check out pictures from the event here> Rallycross Photos

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Strömung Exhaust - '00 2.5 RS Coupe

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As preparations for the 2015 NRSCCA Rallycross season come to a head for my Impreza RS Coupe, there's a bit of boxer rumble in the air.  That's because we've fitted a Strömung Axleback Exhaust to this project car and it sounds brilliant!  While it certainly won't help with better times or quicker cornering, this car sounds like a Subaru again.

The exhaust was found through Boxer4Racing.  With the help of Russ' Garage and a mid-pipe from Aki's GC4, we bolted up the new system and fitted COBB 15mm Hangers to secure it into place, as the stock hangers were too flimsy and loose to grab hold of the new shiny Strömung axleback.

This exhaust really lives up to it's name.  Strömung literally means "flow" and you can hear and feel it while you're driving.  The spirited driving I did around town with it is only a prelude to what I'm hoping to hear with the aggressive cone-dodging coming up this weekend, so I'm really looking forward to kicking up dirt with that smooth yet distinctive growl!  I'll be adding a video with the exhaust note once I figure out a half-decent way to capture the sound on this page for reference.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Preparing for Chili Bowl!

The first Rallycross event for the NRSCCA is fast approaching, so my revived RS is getting prepared for the start of the 2015 season.  There's still a few changes in store, a few adjustments to be made, but I'm more than just excited to go hit the dirt like I was last year.  This season will take the RS and it's silly owner (me) to a new level.

I started off the new year by becoming a Member of the SCCA.  Plans are to attend all 6 Rallycross events this year and be more involved with the organization.  I still have a lot to learn, but another key component to that involvement is some guidance from veteran drivers in the area.  Last year, I learned SO much just from sharing a car with a fellow RS owner and Subaru Enthusiast.  I quickly discovered that the car was not limiting success... but my abilities as a driver.

For the first event of the 2015 Season, the guy driving that Impreza in the video above will be co-driving with me.  Jon Simmons has competed at the National level for SCCA Rallycross before and was very involved with the NRSCCA Rallycross and Autocross programs.  On top of his work behind the wheels, Jon also started the Nebraska Subaru Owners Club in 2003 and has owned an impressive lineup of Subarus, so he's no stranger to these cars.  I'm excited for the chance to share the wheel of a car I've been working on with him!

The event is this Sunday, so I'll be buttoning up things on the RS on Thursday to get it all squared away.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

New STI "Impressive" at Sno*Drift

DSC_5758_WebOn January 30th and 31st, only one team sat atop the list of times for the 17 snow and ice covered stages of the Sno*Drift Rally in Michigan.  David Higgins, Craig Drew, and Subaru Rally Team USA owned every slippery inch of the rally, starting off the 2015 Rally America season with first place points.  Winning Rallies (or Championships for that matter) is nothing new for this team, but the car that did it today was fresh out of Vermont Sportscar's garage: the brand-new 2015 Subaru WRX STI.  With that in mind, having such a successful and problem-free weekend at one of the most challenging events of the season is quite the accomplishment in itself!

David Higgins put it perfectly.

"It's really impressive to run a full race with a brand new car and not have any problems or setup changes whatsoever. It's a testament to Vermont SportsCar’s attention to detail and preparation."

The team will head to Missouri on the 27th and 28th this month for the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood to put this new car to the test once again.  We'll see if the performance at Sno*Drift was Beginners Luck or if this car really is the next best thing!  Last year, the 100 Acre Wood wasn't a high point in the #75 car's season.  Plus, if Ken Block makes his usual appearance at his favorite event, it should be a fun battle between Ford and Subaru again.

de60c91a9450560ec2c2337210725c235949cc15Sno*Drift 2015 wasn't just a shining debut for SRT USA's latest ride.  The new STI was joined at the podium with familiar company.  The top five spots at Sno*Drift went to teams toting that familiar Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.  Nick Roberts, Lauchlin O'Sullivan, Garry Gill, and Peter Fetela all piloted their Subarus to victory through Michigan's icy back roads!

Over this same weekend, Winter Storm Linus passed over the Midwest.  Omaha-area forecasters underestimated this storm, as the 2-3 inch predictions were smashed by nearly 10 inch reports in some areas.  As such, a few of my buddies and I had a great time enjoying the snow in a similar fashion to the rallying that took place further north in Michigan. 

It was truly a Subaru weekend with rally heritage shining strong!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Snow Hooning

On January 31st, Winter Storm Linus dropped over half a foot of underestimated snow on the Omaha area.  For most, this would mean tip-toeing around local roads or avoiding them all together.  However, for a few Subaru owners, it meant it was playtime!!  We rounded up some local enthusiasts and headed to a big empty parking lot taking turns doing cookies, donuts, and other sweet treats.

IMG_4730Aside from the fun we had, the lineup was pretty sweet!  My 2001 2.5 RS Coupe was the oldest there.  Then we had a Bugeye, Blobeye, an '08 WRX sedan, a '11 WRX Hatchback, an XV Crosstrek, a '15 WRX and a '15 STI.  All we were really missing was a Hawkeye, but we didn't have much time to track one down.  After only a few cars had managed to take to the wide open spaces, some snob in a Volvo proudly professed that she had called the local Sheriff.  We managed to squeeze in another 15 minutes in before some blue and red flashy lights threatened to arrest us all.  Tails tucked between our legs, we vacated the empty lot and split up.

It was a bit of a downer, considering that this parking lot was home to HOURS of play last winter for dozens of enthusiasts when a similar storm had passed through.  Instead of helping stranded motorists or chasing down burglars, the angry Sheriff shooed our Subarus off the lot.  Still, we managed to have a good time with everyone who was there.  We'll need to find a different place to play next time the flakes are falling!