The term DIY (do it yourself) is feared in my home and garage; I simply don’t have the best track record with hands-on projects. And any sense of pride in the multitude of dodgy DIY projects I once had evaporated instantly when the four guys at Australia’s Got It Rex workshop showed me their interpretation of the acronym.
Admittedly, they’ve got a hundred times the experience and at least four times as many hands as I have, but the fact that so few people were involved in constructing this “DIY” DTM-inspired, wide-body ’99 Subaru WRX STI Coupe is extremely impressive.
That includes the engine work, tuning, chassis modifications and aero fabrication too. I guess that’s one of the perks of owning your own workshop. Aleck Kazakovski can hide behind excuses like ‘testing our capabilities’ or ‘product development’, but after spending an afternoon with him, I’m positive the the truth is that he just wants to go as fast as humanly possible.
The project kicked off six long years ago with Aleck throwing the typical sort of mods that one finds in a club level competitor – boost, intercooler pipes, suspension, brake pads, that sort of thing. It was a far cry from the outrageous build on display today.
It wouldn’t stay this way for too long, though. The hunger for more speed and power was to strong too be ignored, and before the team knew it they were working on a full engine swap, Aleck opting for the larger EG33.
The Subaru flat-six has been bored and stroked, again, completely in-house, and there’s a billet crank, race-spec camshafts, and oversized valves in the mix too. A six-stage dry sump was manufactured by the guys to ensure that heat and oil starvation are never a problem, not even under the high g-force loads expected on the track.
A set of LS ignition coils are paired with a larger set of 1,650cc injectors, ensuring the thirsty EG33 is fed constantly with liberal amounts of E85 fuel. Exhaust gasses vent directly to the atmosphere through a side-exit exhaust directly behind the passenger door. It sounds pretty angry, even at idle.
Once all the parts were fitted up, Got It Rex dyno tuned the new build using a MoTeC ECU. Turn your speakers up and enjoy the glorious sounds of one of the angriest EG-series engines on the planet.
All 500kW (670hp) generated are directed to a super-wide Michelin slicks through a 6-speed Modena sequential gearbox and carbon fibre tailshaft. In the brake department, a larger set of AP Racing 6-pot calipers replace the standard STI brakes up front with Circo pads by Winmax featuring at all four corners.
A fully customised suspension configuration has been designed around a full set of Australian-built MCA coilovers.
While the larger engine brings more weight to the build, the boys all agreed the swap was in the car’s best interest. It’d be much easier to extract more power and torque with a fatter safety margain than what the smaller, already highly strung EJ four cylinders could ever offer.
To balance out the weight distribution, the radiator was relocated to the boot.
The completely stripped car presented an opportunity for the guys to play Tetris while piecing the STI back together, and a great deal of thought went into part placement with the goal to create the lightest, best balanced chassis possible. The result was worth the effort with a fairly level front/rear split, and a slightly lower centre of gravity.
The revised coupe made its debut at Subinats 2016, but not in the way anyone had hoped. During the event the rear spoiler stays snapped under the immense downforce as Aleck flew down Phillip Island Raceway’s main straight. Out of control, the car spun several times along the narrow straight away, miraculously avoiding the concrete and any serious chassis damage.
Shaping With No Restriction
The scare at Phillip Island forced the whole team to rethink the project. The importance of getting their almost irresponsible amount of horsepower to the ground safely was thrust upon them. Reducing power, going slower, or winding the build back a little was never an option, but nor was compromising safety.
The WRX collected dust at the back of Got It Rex’s workshop while the next move was planned. Aleck had often wondered how a DTM-inspired WRX would look, and he was about to find out firsthand.
And so began the next phase, the current phase. Shape with no restriction, well, outside of ensuring the build would still fit on a car trailer. After discussions, a set of plans were drawn up with Tom from Aero One; the guys at Got It Rex were about to begin their crash course in DIY aero fabrication.
Let’s be clear, up until this task, the team had absolutely zero experience in designing and manufacturing custom aero parts. They were quick to have a laugh about the whole experience and share just how steep the learning curve was.
Being able to create a new body opened up new options and unlocked more of the chassis’ potential for record lap times. Along with helping to shed some weight and stiffen the unibody with additional bracing, the custom kit also enabled the guys to create the clearances required to run those enormous slicks beneath it.
With the major work now complete, the team plan on booking as much track time as possible to help them fine tune the aero and suspension. Currently, the car holds the fastest WRX lap record at nearly all of the state of Victoria’s race tracks, the exception being Sandown Raceway where it wasn’t allowed to run due exceeding noise limits.
Enjoy an on-board lap of Phillip Island. Remember, volume up!
Building to such an extreme level has been a very long and challenging experience, but it’s also been one of the most rewarding projects the Got It Rex team have had a hand in. It might have been quicker, easier and more cost-effective to outsource a lot of the work, but for these guys, the lessons learnt and pride of ownership tied to the car are absolutely priceless.
If you’ve ever completed your own DIY project, that strong sense of pride should resonate within you.
If I’ve felt as proud as I have about completing a wonky bracket for Project Nine, I can’t possibly imagine the level of satisfaction felt by these ingenious gentlemen as their DIY masterpiece blasts past pit lane at full throttle.
The Cutting Room Floor