This year’s AWD group may not have included three-time defending champ GST Motorsports or World Racing’s wild new AWD Scion tC (we expect to see both in action at next year’s Shootout), but don’t think for a second that the competition amongst this year’s lineup of Mitsus and Subies was watered down. Case in point is Snail Peformance’s bug-eye WRX, a machine that’s really starting to make a name for itself, thanks to the skillful tuning of Travis Barnes and his Subaru specialty shop based in the Phoenix area.
In year’s past, 492 whp and almost 14,000 points under-the-curve would have resulted in a top-five showing during the dyno competition, but this year we had five teams post peak horsepower figures of more than 600 at the wheel and power under-the-curve of over 17,000 points, a first for the Shootout (remember, these cars aren’t dyno queens but race cars built to produce usable powerbands). But “only” having 500 boxer ponies at the wheels didn’t hold Snail Performance back on the dragstrip. “It took me all three runs to get back into the drag-racing groove after road racing for so long,” Travis explains, “but on the third and final run, I put down our fastest time of the night.” An 11.12-second quarter-mile put Snail’s WRX just off the podium in fourth place, only a couple tenths off the pace.
Given that Snail is an ECU tuning specialist, we weren’t surprised to see the company’s WRX run reliably throughout the Shootout, proving that Travis and his team understand the old adage that to finish first, first you must finish. Travis is also honest enough to realize that he’s not the most experienced cone-dodger in the world, so he strapped local hot shoe Markos Mylonas into the driver seat during the autocross event. “For being thrown into the Snail Racer with little seat time, Markos performed very well,” Travis says. “Later we had some practice time on the main track before the time attack event, which gave us time to dial in the Continental tires. With the tires set, we hit the track for the main event of the night and I put down a time that we were happy with.” In fact, Snail’s time attack performance was good enough for fourth in the event, locking the team into the fourth overall position for the Shootout — a rock-solid performance by a rock-solid Subie tuner.
'03 Subaru Impreza Wrx
Engine 2.5-liter EJ257 flat-4
Engine Modifications 2.5-liter STI block; Top Secret billet crankshaft; Gruppe-S Engineering H-beam rods; Cosworth 278/274 camshafts & timing belt guide; Brian Crower SS valves, valvesprings & Ti retainers; ARP head studs; Garrett GT3582r turbocharger; TiAL 38mm wastegate; Turbosmart Megasonic BOV & FPR; Walbro 255 fuel pump; AFI Turbo fuel rails; DeatschWerks 850cc injectors; Ron Davis radiator; Turbo XS FMIC; LIC Motorsports adjustable timing idlers; Espelir JGT500 exhaust; Hydra EMS 2.6
Drivetrain JDM STI RA 6-speed transmission; ACT 6-puck clutch & HD pressure plate
Suspension PIC Performance coilovers; Whiteline 27mm sway bars, steering rach bushings, roll center kit, anti-lift race kit, lateral links & endlinks; Snail Performance strut bar (f), rear v-brace & subframe; ’04 STI steering rack
Wheels, Tires & Brakes 18x10" +30 Rota Grids; 275/35R18 Continental Gram-Am spec tires; StopTech ST-40 4-piston calipers & 332mm rotors (f); ’04 STI Brembo calipers & DBA 4000 rotors (r); Hawk DTC-70 (f) & DTC-60 (r) pads; Techna-Fit SS brake lines
Interior Autopower 4-point roll bar; Sparco EVO 2 seat, 6-point belt & 323 steering wheel; AiM Sports Pista MXL digital dash
Exterior Prodrive front lip; APR front splitter; KS-Tech hood scoop delete; ’07 STI rear diffuser & vortex generator; Aeromotions R2 wing w/ LIC Motorsports custom mounts; graphics by Taylor and AZ Auto Graphics
Sponsors Forced Air Technologies; LIC Motorsports; Gruppe-S Engineering; Wheeldude.com; AFI Turbo, AZ Auto Graphics