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Subaru WRX Sparco - QuickStrike

Sparco's Power-Packed WRX

Al Mamoon
Aug 6, 2002

When it came time to formulate a game plan with its Subaru WRX Sparco used a quick-strike method where each component system of the car was hit with few quick bolt-ons to optimize performance. The result is a well-balanced car that handles better, runs harder and is more driver engaging than OE issue.

For balance, Sparco upgraded the suspension and rolling stock with an eye toward vehicle control and ride quality. The stock strut set up was tossed in favor of adjustable Intrax ARS coilovers. The ARS units allow ride height adjustments and relatively easy changing of springs to allow the user to arrive at his preferred handling and ride quality set-up. The coil-overs are flanked by a squad of Cusco underpinning enhancements. Front and rear anti-roll bars are joined by front and rear strut tower braces and a rear carbon fiber bar in the interior. These items are designed to add torsional rigidity to the Subaru, which translates into a stable vehicle as the car transitions through g-loads and enhanced driver feedback. The WRX's contact patch is provided by Nitto NT555 drag radials wrapped around stylish Axis Sport Tuning Six Speed aluminum.

Thrust was addressed with a gaggle of HKS parts and a dynamic duo of XS Engineering components. The big power adders are XS Engineering's intercooler upgrade, Cold Air Intake system and an HKS EVC-EZ boost controller. The XS chiller is a front-mount unit that is proving to pay big dividends on WRXs. The intercooler piping has been polished and fitted with an HKS Super Sequential blow-off valve to improve responsiveness. An HKS Fuel Cut Defenser allows the engine to boost freely and a turbo timer is on call to allow for proper cool down. A Paisley Automotive up-pipe enhances the flow of exhaust gases to an HKS exhaust system. These modifications resulted in 225.4 hp and 230.4 lb-ft of torque at 1.1 Bar of boost pressure as measured at the wheels on a Dynapack chassis dyno. That is a lot of all-wheel-drive performance and many of the mods actually improve reliability.

On the open road the driver is engaged by the Subaru's high-power audio system and is faced with a myriad of trick gauges. The left hand a/c vent is home to a boost gauge while a single-DIN, three-gauge panel houses EGT, oil temp and water temp readouts. The HKS gauges keep a watchful eye on the Boxer 4. Once confident all is well in the engine room, the driver can take in entertainment from a Pioneer AVX-P7300DVD in-dash motorized 7-inch wide screen monitor with a DVD player. A 600-watt amp and a 400-watt amp are on call powering two pairs of 6.5-inch coaxial speakers and a pair of 10-inch sub woofers.

As the driving experience intensifies the Subaru's Sparco equipment moves to the forefront. A Speedware Motorsports harness bar was mounted just behind the front buckets. The bar secures Sparco 3-inch Competition Harnesses that will keep the driver planted when that rally inspiration is put to the test. A pair of Sparco Alcantara Milano seats position the occupants while a Sparco Mugello steering wheel gets the car from one apex to the next. Footwork consists of a Sparco Grip pedal kit and a trick Sparco Globe X shift knob. Stitch Craft Custom Interiors added custom door panels and stitched the rear seats to further testify that this WRX is in the Sparco stable.

Sparco's WRX, along with the others of the fearsome foursome we are featuring in this issue, really exemplify how good the WRX is. We have waited a long time to get the real deal--the looks and the power of the rally car and it is a relief that the wait proved to be worth it.

By Al Mamoon
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