Tag Archive | Prodrive

The drive for five

Saturday, January 3, 2009 marked five years of life together with my 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX Sedan, a.k.a. Devoted Dan.  After 104,000 miles, it continues to run well and provide smiles per mile.  Below is a brief rundown of our time together.


January 3 – Took delivery from Frank’s Irvine Subaru in Lake Forest
March – Installed 17-inch Prodrive P1 wheels (made by O.Z. Racing) with Bridgestone Potenza S-03 Pole Position tires (P215/45R17)
May – Cleared headlights
November – Installed Prodrive round tip axleback exhaust/muffler


January – Retrofitted Subaru 4-pot/2-pot brakes, installed Prodrive springs, Group N STI strut tops, and Goodridge stainless steel brake lines
March – Participated in my first track day on the infield road course of California Speedway
April – Flashed the engine ECU with a COBB AccessPort Stage 1 map
September – Participated in a track day at the Streets of Willow Springs
December – Installed fender sidemarkers and 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI rear diffuser


January – Participated in a track day at Buttonwillow Raceway, obtained 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX stock wheels and tires (Bridgestone Potenza RE92 -P215/45R17)
May – Participated in another track day at Buttonwillow Raceway


April – Returned to Buttonwillow Raceway
November – Participated in a track day at Laguna Seca Raceway
December – Installed Koni strut inserts and Japanese domestic market (JDM) STI springs


March – Ran at Buttonwillow Raceway again
April – Ran at the Streets of Willow Springs again


February – Already registered to return to Laguna Seca Raceway

Happy New Year!  See you later! :o)

Colin’s cult

Back in January 2004, I joined a cult.  Entry came in the form of purchasing a Subaru.  Last September, Colin McRae and his son, Jimmy, were killed in a helicopter crash.  On August 30, 2008, over a thousand Subarus caravaned to Prodrive’s Warwick facility where they assembled to write his name with their vehicles and form the Scottish flag, the Saltire.  For those unfamiliar with his successes, Colin McRae won the 1995 FIA WRC Drivers’ Championship driving a Subaru Impreza.  His efforts also helped Subaru win three straight FIA WRC Manufacturers’ titles from 1995-1997.  The 25 victories he accumulated place him fourth on the all-time WRC win list.  He also won a silver medal in the inaugural X Games Rally event in 2006 despite rolling his Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car, which was able to keep going almost as if nothing happened.

Here’s Inside Line‘s news article about the tribute to the late rally legend.

Convoy of Subarus Stretches 30 Miles in Honor of Rally Driver Colin McRae

BANBURY, England — Nearly two years after his death, fans of Colin McRae turned up with more than 1,000 Subarus to celebrate the life of the Scottish rally star with a record-setting convoy.

The convoy was led by McRae’s father, Jimmy McRae, and traveled 9 hours and 300 miles from McRae’s hometown to the headquarters of Prodrive in honor of the rally hero. McRae was the first Briton to win the World Rally Championship Driver’s title and helped the Prodrive-led Subaru factory rally team win three straight WRC Constructors’ titles. He was killed in a helicopter crash in September 2007.

At the Prodrive headquarters, 1,086 Subarus were arranged to spell McRae’s name and form the Scottish flag, stretching more than half a mile in length and setting a world record. A second world record was set for the largest parade of cars as the Subarus left from the Prodrive test track. An estimated $70,000 was raised for McRae charities at the event.

What this means to you: McRae’s legacy as a fan-favorite rally driver continues to grow well after his death. — Eric Tingwall, Correspondent

Fifth Gear‘s Vicki Butler-Henderson covered the event for the show.  Enjoy this great clip of their coverage of the late Scotsman.

Pretty in pink

After busting the left front strut of my car at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in November, I was presented with the burden privilege of upgrading its suspension.  I was hoping to have the upgrade done before I went to Laguna Seca, but the JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) STI (Subaru Tecnica International) springs I ordered in late July.  The problem is that they didn’t arrive from Japan until after I had to get the car ready to go to Monterey.  I ordered Koni adjustable strut inserts a little before I ordered the springs.  They came within a week and sat in the house for the next four and a half months.

The springs that were on the car previously were Prodrive lowering springs.  Prodrive is the U.K.-based company that prepares and runs the Subaru World Rally Team in the FIA World Rally Championship.  The Prodrive springs are actually Eibach springs that are manufactured to Prodrive specifications.  Prodrive has never released the spring rates for their springs.  The closest they’ve come is saying that they’re 25% stiffer than stock.  The stock spring rates for a 2002-2007 USDM (United States Domestic Market) WRX Sedan with a 5-speed manual transmission are 163 lb./in. front and 119 lb./in. rear (there’s a great list of spring rates on NASIOC.com (North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club) here).  25% stiffer spring rates translate to roughly 204 lb./in. front and 149 lb./in. rear.  They supposedly lower the car 20 mm, but I’m pretty sure that number isn’t accurate because they lower the front more than the rear to create the “even” fender gap look.

Those, my friends, are the JDM STI pink springs.  They have spring rates of 257 lb./in. front and 217 lb./in. rear.  Compared to the Prodrive estimated spring rates, they’re 26% stiffer in the front and 46% stiffer in the rear.  For reference, stock 2004-2007 STi/STI spring rates are 224 lb./in. front and 195 lb./in. rear.  They lower the car 1 inch in both the front and rear from the stock (STi/STI) ride height.  As a result, my car now has a saggy butt look.  But that isn’t nearly as important to me as it being able to handle better!

Because the car got stiffer springs, it would be a bad idea to couple them with the stock struts.  The stock struts don’t provide enough damping for the springs.  This is where the Koni adjustable strut inserts come into the equation.

The part laid flat in the above image is the Koni Sport adjustable strut insert.  The item positioned in an upright manner is an actual strut assembly, which is not available for the WRX.  To install the Koni strut inserts, Suby Specialties had to remove all four struts, cut and drill into them, remove the original cartridges, and then install the new strut inserts.  Because of their adjustability, a broad range of strut damper settings are now available to me.  Out of the box, I believe there were set around 40-60% firm.  At these settings, most of the body roll the car would previously exhibit in turns had been eliminated.  The tradeoff was the ride was annoying on bad (read: pothole-ridden) roads.  Wanting to soften up the ride, I adjusted all four inserts to an almost full soft setting.  The car feels like it rides better now than when it was on the Prodrive springs and stock struts.  Then again, that may simply be all in my head.  The beauty of the ability to adjust the inserts is that I’ll be able to firm them up the next time I take the car to the track!