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2002 Subaru Impreza WRX - JDM Perfection

Do Luck’s Time Attack GDA Impreza.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Oct 11, 2012
Modp 1211 01+2002 subaru impreza wrx+cover Photo 1/8   |   2002 Subaru Impreza WRX - JDM Perfection

Patience is a virtue. It’s often striking just how much patience the Japanese have. It’s something that becomes very obvious once you spend a little time in the country, and it’s at the core of the whole culture. It’s refreshing to see such a trait in action; in situations that would have most people throwing a fit, the Japanese remain calm, composed, and open minded enough to think of alternatives to solve the problem at hand. There is never any rush, which is almost thought to be rude at times. Taking your time to do a good job and not overlooking anything is imperative. It’s obviously something that Ito-san, the owner and founder of Do Luck, knows all too well. Back in 2008 he began building one of the most extreme cars to ever come out of the famed workshop in Yokohama, a car that was put together to compete in the ever-popular Time Attack scene. But Ito-san, an obvious perfectionist, had no intention of unleashing his new creation until it was ready. The car could have competed in 2008, but there were lots of small things that needed to be done to complete it just like he wanted. It took a lot of patience to get it up to the high standards we are used to in Time Attack these days, but this GDA Impreza WRX is finally ready, and to say it’s impressive would be a massive understatement.

When we arrived at the Do Luck building in Tsuzuki-ku, we found Ito-san removing the side skirts of the car so it could be placed on the lift and raised for us to look over. A lot of work went into every area of the car starting with the chassis and suspension. After the shell prep, which called for countless hours behind a spot-welding machine, Ito-san and his mechanic addressed the suspension. Ikeya Formula adjustable links replaced stock items such as the rear lower arms and a heavily modified subframe, which helps eliminate the chronic bumpsteer Imprezas suffer from. This was coupled with roll center adjusters to square up the geometry efficiently and was completed with stiffer Do Luck antiroll bars. Special Do Luck adjustable dampers were developed for this project, joined to rather stiff Swift springs at each corner, 20 kg/mm at the front an 18 kg/mm at the rear. Ito-san is a firm believer in boosting chassis stiffness wherever possible, which is why he fitted the Do Luck Assist Bar, a brace fixed onto the front subframe. This joins the Do Luck strut tower bar in the engine bay and the multipoint custom rollcage. With the shell now as stiff as a WRC car, it was on to the oily bits, and no small detail was overlooked there, either.

Ito-san likes to make his track cars presentable, but the EJ20 in this GDA takes this notion to the limit. Function does follow form here, but in the process, things have become rather mouthwateringly beautiful. Following an unexpected failure during the car’s first shakedown test a few years ago, Ito redid the engine completely, starting off with a GDB block and dropping in a complete HKS 2.2L stroker kit. Each of the two horizontally opposed heads was ported and polished and treated to a full valvetrain upgrade to help the motor endure high-rpm abuse. The Tomei 250-degree intake and 256-degree exhaust camshafts might look mild, but Ito-san, who is one of Japan’s most respected engine mappers, has done a lot of work fine-tuning the variable valve timing to get the results he needs. Supplying the 1.8 bar of boost is a Turbonetics GT-K550 turbocharger, mounted high in the engine bay for everyone to admire. Lots of effort was put into heat insulation, starting with the turbine-side blanket and the heat wrap on the Do Luck front pipe and custom exhaust system. The GT-K550 is mounted onto a Do Luck manifold and controlled by an HKS GTII external wastegate along with the HKS EVC 5 boost controller. Gold heat insulation was applied on the intake pipe as well as the intercooler piping, which plumbs the ARC front-mounted intercooler from the compressor outlet, all the way to the N15 Nissan Pulsar throttle-body. Ito-san had the stock EJ intake plenum wrapped in real dry carbon, which not only looks great in the engine bay but also works wonders at lowering intake temperatures, as there isn’t as much heat soak.

Modp 1211 02+2002 subaru impreza wrx+rear view Photo 2/8   |   2002 Subaru Impreza WRX - JDM Perfection
Modp 1211 06+2002 subaru impreza wrx+brace Photo 6/8   |   2002 Subaru Impreza WRX - JDM Perfection

This is a no-endurance racer, which is why the 25L fuel cell in the trunk is more than enough to hold as much high-octane race gas as the car needs for about three laps. An in-tank GT-R pump and external Bosh unit work together to keep a high enough pressure to feed the four Power Enterprise 800cc/min injectors. Fuel and ignition are controlled through the HKS F-Con V Pro ECU, as is valve timing, handled in conjunction with the HKS VVC controller in the cockpit. Before ARC went out of business, Ito-san was able to get a custom radiator and oil cooler made for the Impreza, units that are extremely light and beautifully made. The transmission also gets its very own cooler, while the driveline was upgraded with an HKS twin place clutch and a lightweight aluminum propeller shaft. A full differential upgrade followed, an STI unit for the center and Cusco LSDs for both the front and rear. Ito-san hasn’t finalized an engine map yet, so he is unsure of the total power the engine can develop, but he is positive that close to 600 hp are available with a very even spread of torque. The HKS ECU also controls the Ny-Trex dry shot nitrous oxide system, which should come in to boost acceleration out of corners and really provide explosive midrange. With another 100 hp on tap thanks to the gas, this Impreza definitely has all the means to become a top performer.

Lots of weight has been shaved off thanks to the FRP and carbon body parts; the car weighs 2,800 pounds in full track spec. A complete Do Luck aero transformation has helped give the awkwardly styled GDA more fitting looks, with pumped-up fenders, more aggressive front and rear bumpers, and a headlight conversion. Additional carbon fiber is used in the aero hood as well as the mirrors, all parts developed for the car by Do Luck. The FRP rear doors are paper thin and direct air into the cockpit through NACA ducts, which will be piped toward the trunk to keep the fuel system well ventilated. Eighteen-inch Dark chrome Weds SA67R have been chosen in 9-inch width, wrapped in the tire of choice these days, the Hankook Ventus TD, 265/35R18. Braking upgrades consist of a full GLAD four-pot brake kit up front with two-piece slotted discs. Race GLAD pads are used front and back for fade-proof braking performance.

Ito-san has patiently worked on this car for the past three years, fine-tuning each detail to perfection to make sure it will be competitive from the first time it hits the track in anger. The Lap Battle in Tsukuba may well be where this Impreza will make itself seen, and with such impressive hardware under an equally tough exterior, the potential for greatness is there.

Modp 1211 07+2002 subaru impreza wrx+suspension Photo 7/8   |   2002 Subaru Impreza WRX - JDM Perfection
Modp 1211 08+2002 subaru impreza wrx+fuel cell Photo 8/8   |   2002 Subaru Impreza WRX - JDM Perfection

Specs & Details
'02 Subaru Impreza WRX
Engine 2.2L EJ20 turbocharged boxer
Engine Modifications HKS 2.2L stroker kit; Cosworth oil pan; ported and polished heads; Tomei 250/256 camshaft; Power Enterprise timing belt, 800cc injectors, & FPR; BC valvesprings & Ti retainers; Do Luck exhaust manifold downpipe & titanium exhaust; Turbonetics GT-K550 turbo; HKS GTII wastegate; N15 Pulsar throttle-body; Nismo fuel pump; Bosch external fuel pump; Ny-Trex dry-shot nitrous system; ARC radiator & oil cooler
Drivetrain HKS twin-plate clutch with lightweight flywheel; aluminum driveshaft; STI center diff; Cusco F&R LSDs
Engine Management HKS F-Con V Pro Ver3.3 + Valcon ECU
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Weds Racing SA67R 18x9’’; Hankook Ventus TD 265/35R18 tires; GLAD 4-pot front brake calipers with 2-piece slotted discs & GLAD brake pads all round
Suspension Do Luck custom race adjustable dampers; Swift springs 20 kg/mm front, 18 kg/mm rear; Do Luck antiroll bars; Ikeya Formula roll center adjuster, tie rod ends, adjustable rear lower arms; Super Pro steering rack mounts; Do Luck front strut tower bar & rear subframe modifications
Interior Fully spot and seam welded chassis; custom rollcage; Alcantara clad dashboard; Racetech carbon-Kevlar RT9009HR bucket seats; Teamtech 4-point racing harness; Works Bell snap-off steering boss; T&E Vertex steering wheel; ARC titanium shift knob; Defi gauges: (boost, oil temp. oil press., fuel press., exhaust temp.); PLX A/F meter; HKS EVC 5; Auto Meter nitrous oxide pressure & fuel gauges; Do Luck floor brace
Exterior Do Luck front bumper; custom front under panel/splitter, canards, carbon hood, one-off front wide fenders & rear overfenders, side skirts, rear bumper, carbon trunk lid, rear diffuser, rear GT Wing, side mirrors, FRP rear doors; Headlight conversion; Lexan windows; Kleers body coating

By Dino Dalle Carbonare
122 Articles

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