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Building the Fastest Subaru BRZ in the World

We Talk with Racer and Actor Ali Afshar about his 1600-HP BRZ and Latest "Born to Race" Movie

May 7, 2013
Photographer: Rex Tokeshi-Torres
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Let's face it: the Subaru BRZ (and its Scion FR-S sibling) is somewhat underpowered, but pure speed is not what this car is all about. The BRZ is a rear-drive coupe designed more for sublime drifting, or charging hard around an autocross track. Its mission is as an affordable, fun-to-drive sports car, and wasn't designed with straight line, drag-race times in mind.

But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be turned into a stupid fast drag car. Enter racer, actor, and movie producer Ali Afshar. Ali is no stranger to the race world as he's been going really fast since the early 1990s. At the age of 16 he got his license and immediately went to the strip and started winning drag races. His work through his Easy Street Motorsports operation, also known as ESX, eventually scored him a partnership with Subaru of America where he not only raced, but built a line of signature Subaru STi models called ESX/STi.

Not surprisingly, he's turned his attention to the BRZ, which is a change for him as it's the first rear-drive Subaru he's tuned. Strapping twin turbos onto the BRZ's 2.0-liter FA20 boxer engine will obliterate any talk of this particular car being underpowered. Ali is shooting for an astonishing 1600 horsepower in his quest to build the fastest Subaru BRZ -- and Subaru for that matter -- in the world. While there's no official record, Afshar is looking to get his car down to a 7.30-second quarter mile time, which he believes would be a record for a Subaru.

Throughout the build, Ali managed to find some time to produce his second movie "Born 2 Race: Fast Track". The plan is to have it released this summer 2013. While the first "Born 2 Race" movie was about drag racing, the second installment is all about road racing and features popular cars such as Chris Rado's FWing Scion TC, the Evosport/MBSS Mercedes-Benz CLK63 AMG, and of course an ESX-tuned Subaru BRZ.

Ali Afshar took some time out of his busy schedule to chat with us.

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SS: What made you choose the BRZ?

AA: It's rear wheel drive. It's the first time we've used a rear-wheel drive. We've had a lot of success in the all-wheel-drive platform; the BRZ opened a new world for us. A rear-wheel drive is also easier to use in drag racing.

SS: Have you driven the production BRZ? What do you think of it?

AA: I'm actually in one right now. I think it's awesome! It looks great, it drives great. It's the best bang for the buck, you can't beat it. What can you get for 25k that looks this great with great gas mileage? The car was really geared for the enthusiasts.

SS: How are you planning to get the car up to 1600 hp?

AA: Twin turbos, a lot of boost, and a lot of prayers (Laughs). Big thanks to Robert from Forced Performance.

SS: Any engine mods and specs you can share with me?

AA: It's a fully built motor with twin turbos.

SS: Enough said? (laughs)

SS: How long have you been drag racing?

AA: About four weeks.

SS: Four weeks? (Silence)
AA: (Laughs) No I started when I was 17. My first win was for a high school challenge at Sears Point International Raceway.

SS: What NHRA class were you a champ of?

AA: It was the NHRA Sony Compact Series. The series ended in 2007 and we won the last two remaining years back to back. We'll be running at Import Face Off at Las Vegas Speedway for the Subaru Shootout.

SS: What's your association with Subaru?

AA: I've been sponsored with Subaru America for over a decade now. I've done racing, marketing, shows, movies, celebrity placements; I would reach out to enthusiasts. I helped launch the WRX Concept. The STI, the WRX, and the Impreza will be three different models.

SS: What's driving you to be the fastest Subaru record holder?

AA: Well there's no real official record. My buddy Nelson has an Impreza that hit a 7.50 and beat my all-wheel-drive record in 2007 at 7.91. The unofficial record is 7.40 and we're shooting for 7.30. We'll be shooting a promo commercial. We're trying to sort out the technical difficulties and problems on the dyno. There are still a lot of foreign elements we have to deal with. Hopefully next week we can participate in the exhibition shootout.

SS: How did you get involved with Hollywood?

AA: I used to act full time in college. For a while I took a break from acting and focused on racing. In 2010 I went back to acting to make my first movie, "Born 2 Race". Have you watched it?

SS: Honestly, no I haven't. It's on Netflix right?

AA: Our interview is over. We're done here. (laughs) Yes it's on Netflix. It was shot back in 2010 to 2011 and came out 2012. The movie is all about drag racing, but the new movie is all about road racing. I love acting, I love racing, and it's just a good combination.

SS: Lastly Ali, what are the similarities between the racing business and the movie business?

AA: That's a good question! (Pause). I don't know. Business is business! Movies are so much different from the real racing world. Born 2 Race: Fast Track has real cars, real sponsors. More than half of the cars are actual real cars such as Chris Rado's Scion. Both are exciting businesses. There is a big visual difference from movies and an actual race. I guess I can say racing is entertaining for speed, and other is entertaining by story. I've never been into partying or drugs at all, I love to entertain.

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Ali's next movie is releasing this year keep track of updates here If you're interested in making your Subaru into an ESX/STI or just want to keep up with Ali Afshar check out his website at ESX Productions

Jofel Tolosa
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