We have to admit: We like where the show scene is going. We're fans of tuning cars in accord with their original designs. Take the sleek, low profile, and plush accommodations of a GS300, LS400, or M45, and what's the most logical direction to take for modification? It ain't bolting on Lambo doors, replica wheels and a cheap kit, or stuffing 12,000 LCDs or a fish tank in the cabin. VIP's the way to be for these three, and we love to see sleeker, slammed, and more plush VIP whips take back the trophies from riced out rides of decades past. For born-and-bred performers, like certain turbocharged, all-wheel-drive platforms, a different direction is best: Do away with the frill, adjust the ride height to its optimal point for performance, and to hell with sleek. It's a logical path, just one that hasn't won shows until now. But that's exactly why we love Jamarri Whiteside's WRX STI.
Yes, Jamarri's STI was built to dominate the show circuit. At least for now. Go ahead and sink $60K into your prized ride and see how willing you are to crack up ultra-rare Voltex and Zero Sports aero chasing after time-attack Gold. Jamarri's down to do that, but he's planning to rake in at least a year of top show honors first. And judging by how well he's done, fielding one of the only race-prepped machines out there and raking in 11 Best of Show titles so far this year-with absolutely zero audio-we can only agree that it's a wise strategy.
Building his previous car is what got Jamarri into this game. "The show scene was huge when I first got serious about building my ('94) Prelude," he says about the import scene circa '04-'07. "Drag racing was sort of dying out back then, and time-attack wasn't very popular. Plus, the Prelude makes a better street car than a race car, so taking it to shows was just what we did." Not wanting to destroy the streetability of his only car, Jamarri kept his build stylishly basic: a Wings West lip kit, 19-inch Rays G-Games, a carbon-fiber hood and trunk, JDM ITR Recaros and interior components, and tastefully executed Alpine audio. "It wasn't as crazy as a lot of the cars it went up against," he says, "but it was a lot more functional. It was different, and I guess the judges liked that." It would appear so-the 'Lude won over 100 trophies in four years showing. "I used to work the points system," he tells. "I had parts in every category: audio, power, interior and exterior, suspension. But I made them all subtle; not in-your-face." The more he and the competition progressed away from overbearing body kits and audio, and toward functional cleanliness, he came up with a new plan: "Performance parts are constantly being improved and new ones are coming out all the time," he says. "I started to realize that a lot of the most functional parts were rare and hard-to-find, and thus worth a lot of points. By scoring points in the areas that increased performance, I could cut out the parts I didn't need, build a track car, and still win."
Jamarri bought his STI in 2007 and set out to build that class favorite, modifying it almost entirely from within his Beaverton, OR, one-car garage. He went back and forth on the gutted-interior look before settling on it. The car was rolled across town for the fabrication of an SCCA-legal, fully gusseted roll cage and select stitch-welding. Then it was off to nearby Performance Race Engineering (PRE) in Portland for the installation of a Perrin GT35R turbocharger (with a Garrett 0.70 A/R compressor housing and 82-trim exducer), Greddy turbo manifold, and custom exhaust. "Bobby from PRE suggested I tune it with an AEM EMS stand-alone and complete fuel system for maximum upgradeability," he says. "That's when I yanked the interior for the last time and got to work." A complete, custom-plumbed, external Aeromotive fuel system was devised, feeding monster 1,200cc Deatschwerks injectors, controlled by a variable-speed fuel pump controller. "Running a high-capacity pump at full pressure heats up fuel if it isn't used quickly," he explains. "The variable controller keeps pump voltage lower when fuel demand is low, to decrease vapor lock."
Back in his garage, Jamarri got to work on a new interior. Recaro Pole Position bucket seats replaced the factory stock, customized a bit: "I've always been a Honda guy," he says. "I wanted to incorporate the personalization and 'gangster' look the SoCal Honda guys are doing." Hence, the bandana reupholstery. "But my car's an STI, and no one gives love to pink-I figured, 'Why not?'" Teamtech was contacted, and custom pink harnesses and window netting were added, and door pulls for custom aluminum Racetech door panels. The STI's dash was removed and rid of its A/C, heat, airbag, and audio provisions, and covered in black suede to reduce glare. In it, Jamarri got a little crafty, adding a carbon-fiber switch panel in place of the factory head unit, and retrofitting the left-most vent with an engine kill switch.
With the help of Auto Concept Elite, while all this was going on, Jamarri sourced one of the most exclusive and functionally eclectic mixes of exterior components we've seen on an STI, highlighted by a Voltex undertray and Type 5 V-mount carbon-fiber wing (believed to be the only such Subie-specific model in the States), Varis three-piece carbon rear diffuser and B-pillar garnish (L'Aunsports for the C pillars), Zero Sports roof vane, and carbon-fiber hood, trunk, and doors from Seibon. Perfect for raking in show points, and later, pwning track competition.
For all of Jamarri's car that meets the eye, it's what isn't apparent at first glance that separates it from the rest. Short of that track-only R34 GT-R on last month's cover, we can scarcely remember seeing such a well-planned, functional, and stylish undercarriage on a car other than Jamarri's. Picture nearly every aftermarket component from the top companies' product lineups-Jamarri's added it to his STI. Aside from semi-compliant and non-compliant bushings (from Kartboy, Tic, and Whiteline and Beatrush, respectively) supporting nearly every removable component, standouts include powdercoated Perrin adjustable rear control arms and sway bars, Cusco adjustable rear trailing arms and bracing, and select parts à la GT Spec, Carbing, and EM Racing. Among this mix, some might be surprised to find comparatively underpriced Megan Racing coilovers. Don't be one of them. "They were my very first mod, back when I didn't have a lot of coin to drop," explains Jamarri, "but I love them. I've driven other Subies with competitively priced alternatives, and I would stick with the Megans all over again if given the choice."
And if you think that's impressive, pop the hood. Surrounding that Perrin turbocharger is nearly every supporting mod we could wish for in a dream setup: Grimmspeed three-port electronic boost control solenoid, Koyo radiator, Forge Motorsports aluminum power steering reservoir and header tank, PTP black turbine blanket, Beatrush pitch stop mount, AEM water/methanol injection system, a ton of anodized or powdercoated gold everything, baller hardware, and sleek black nylon braided lines and A/N fittings wherever possible. And even some stuff you can't see-namely an ACT six-puck/Xtreme pressure plate clutch setup with Prolite flywheel, rated at up to 500 lb-ft of torque.
What you won't notice on the spec sheet is the mention of internal engine work. "I wanted to get everything sorted out and troubleshot before I did any of that," Jamarri says. "With the right mods and good tuning, the EJ engine is a lot stronger than people give it credit for." After all, he's just showing and driving his STI on the street for now. "Once I start tracking the car I'll see how far I can push the stock engine, then rebuild it when I need to." A decade ago, we'd never hear those words from the owner of a "show car."
To build the winningest show STI in history
Engine AEM EMS, tuned by Bobby at PRE; Greddy turbo manifold, oil cap, radiator cap; Perrin GT3582R rotated turbo kit, big MAF blow-through boost tube, fuel rails, front-mount intercooler, piping, silicone radiator hoses, T-bolt clamps, water temperature sender; custom stainless intake, intake ducting, up-pipe, downpipe, wastegate dump tube, powdercoating, three-inch exhaust; Vibrant Performance exhaust resonator; Kartboy pink poly exhaust hangers, gold rear hanger mount; Garrett 0.70 A/R compressor housing; Russell black nylon braided turbo coolant lines, oil lines, fuel lines, power steering lines, AN fittings; Precision Turbo 46mm V-band wastegate; PTP black turbo blanket; HKS turbo air suction funnel; Grimmspeed three-port electronic boost control solenoid, 8mm TGV phenolic spacers; Deatschwerks 1,200cc top-feed fuel injectors; JDM TGV top-feed deletes; Forge Motorsports swirl pot; Aeromotive A1000 external fuel pump, fuel pressure regulator, in-line fuel filter, billet pump speed controller, fuel pressure gauge; Walbro 255-lph in-tank fuel pump; custom bulkhead; Earl's polished hose separators; Cobb Tuning MAP sensor adaptor, lightweight crank pulley; AEM 1-gallon methanol injection kit; Unorthodox Racing anodized gold power steering and alternator pulleys; Turbo XS RFL blow-off valve; Cusco engine and chassis mounts; Koyo aluminum radiator; Mishimoto dual slim radiator fans; Forge Motorsports aluminum power steering reservoir, header tank; Braille carbon-fiber 15-pound battery; Prodrive gold battery tie-down; Buddy Club Racing spec condenser; A'pexi turbo timer; Tein hood dampers; Beatrush pitch stop mount; Password:JDM gold washer bolt kit
Drivetrain ACT six-puck clutch disc, Xtreme pressure plate, Prolite flywheel; Goodridge stainless braided clutch line; Kartboy pink transmission crossmember bushings, rear diff mount race bushings, rear diff outrigger bushings, short shifter, shifter stay bushings; Cusco transmission mount; Perrin rear differential cover; Beatrush rear differential support bar, solid aluminum driveshaft bushings; Tic shift linkage bushings, pivot bushings
Suspension Perrin cross-lock underbraces, rear control arms, PSRS, 25mm front and rear sway bars, endlinks, stout mounts; Whiteline extended front lower ball joints, extended tie-rod ends, rear toe lockout bolts; Cusco rear trailing arms, trunk power brace, lower center power braces, lower rear power braces, rear strut bar; GT Spec fender braces, front lower tie bar, rear T-bar braces, rear subframe lockout bushings; EM Racing C-pillar bar; Carbing front strut bar/brake master cylinder brace; Megan Racing coilovers, camber plates; Super Pro front control arm bushings, rear trailing arm bushings; stitch welding throughout
Wheels/Tires Enkei NT-03 wheels (18x9.5 +27mm offset); ARP extended wheel studs; Muteki SR-35 lug nuts; Falken RT615K tires (275/35-18)
Brakes Hawk HPS ferro-carbon brake pads
Exterior Voltex front bumper, single canards, undertray, 1,400mm Type 5 V-mount carbon-fiber wing; Zero Sports side skirts, roof vane; Seibon carbon-fiber hood, doors, trunk; Mines carbon-fiber front lip; Varis three-piece dry-carbon-fiber rear diffuser, exhaust heat shield, B-pillar garnish; JDM STI Spec C roof vent, amber side markers; L'aunsport carbon-fiber C-pillar garnish; Carbign Craft carbon-fiber license plate insert; NRG carbon-fiber side mirrors; Benen front and rear tow hooks; custom bumper-mounted battery terminals, pulled fenders, fender flares, black headlight housings, LED bulbs, matte black vinyl roof, Aspen white paint
Interior Audio system delete; six-point SCCA welded/gusseted roll cage; custom painted Recaro Pole Position seats, aluminum side mounts; Team Tech custom pink four-point harnesses, window net; custom racing door panels, stainless shift lever extension, black suede dash upholstery, head unit block-off switch panel plate, relocated power window controls; Vertex 10th Anniversary steering wheel; NRG short hub, 2.5-gen quick release, carbon-fiber dash gauge pod; Auto Meter bezel gauge pod; Innovate AFR; Defi White Racer gauges (boost, water temperature); Megan Racing volt gauge, vacuum gauge, EGT gauge, Honda S2000 engine start button; JDM hazard button, STI carbon shift pattern badge, safety road flare, air bag delete
Gratitude Mom; girlfriend Cinda; Jason and Bobby at PRE; Project Tuners; Ben Abutin and Auto Concept Elite; High End Performance; Eric at Driveline Motoring; Bakari at Falken Tire; everyone at Perrin Performance; NOS Energy Drink; my vinyl guy Fred Roman; Matt Teske; Import Tuner for making a dream come true; Mackey for the great shots; all my fans and friends; all the haters; God, for making all this possible.