Subaru STi Track Car Ariella
Subaru STi AWD Track Car Ariella
Update November 21, 2016: The ’16 season ended well with my STi running beautifully. She’s been on track for 4 years now, and I finally have the reliability issues resolved (I hope!). She now has a better optimized water methanol setup, refined ECU tuning from track data logs, and the suspension setup works well. In December, KW V3 coilovers will replace the current custom, non-adjustable, Bilsteins. I can’t wait until next season to try them on track! Full specs are listed below.
Here she is in action with a Porsche GT3 on NJMP Thunderbolt.
In 2015 Ariella, my sexy Subaru STi, got a Blouch Dominator 1.5 XT-R turbo, a freshly built competition engine with Cosworth internals, Brian Crowler cams, racing valves / springs, bore alignment and a fully balanced assembly. I’ve been sliding her around my home tracks of Thunderbolt and Lightning at NJMP 😛
While the Subaru STi can be a pain in the ass in a lot of ways, it’s an extremely rewarding and fun car to drive on a road course. As my STi is “only” 360 WHP and 3600+ lbs with me at the helm, it needs to be driven like a momentum car to extract solid track times. While sliding is fun, it’s sadly not fast.
Here, I’m having fun with another NJMP Drivers Club member in June 2014. “Subaru STi vs. Nissan GT-R”
>> Subaru STi DCCD & VDC differential settings for track use explained <<
Please remember that your Insurance will not cover you on track. Take your time and slowly build up lower lap times until you are sure of how your STi will behave. In dry conditions, you want to increase the rear bias as much as possible with the DCCD in manual minus mode (fully to the rear or one bar at the bottom of the DCCD display). This is especially true using R comp or grippy tires like a Toyo R888, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup, Nitto NT01, and reduces understeer a significant amt. You will also need to turn off the traction control (TCS) or the STi will pull torque in a turn which is unpredictable and slow.
Amber Mode versus Green Mode, what are they?
Tapping the VDC button once turns it amber on 08-10 Subaru STi’s and holding the button turns it green. Green (08-10) is the same as Track Mode on 11+ STi’s.
- In Amber Mode, the Traction Control will be turned off and Stability Control will be relaxed.
- In Green Mode, a.k.a Track Mode, BOTH stability control AND traction control are defeated.
There’s a caveat! The Subaru ABS system works poorly in high-grip road course conditions in Track Mode (Green Mode). Under threshold braking, the ass of the STi will wiggle around. After years of experimenting, I’ve found that Traction Control off ONLY, a.k.a Amber Mode, works better on a racetrack with braking being linear and controlled.
I realize this doesn’t make sense; however, this is how Subaru chose to calibrate their ABS module. The only other option is an expensive stand-alone ABS system similar to Rally cars and fully custom builds.
To the contrary to misinformation I’ve seen, using the DCCD manual mode will NOT damage your STi. This merely changes the center differential’s torque bias. It has no effect on mechanical wear. However, the mode that CAN damage your STi is LOCKING the center diff. This is done by pushing the DCCD selector up in manual mode until you see “LOCK” on your dash. This mode literally locks your center diff and makes the front and rear torque equal. It’s similar to 4WD in a truck or Jeep but without using a separate gear set. This mode is for offroad and low traction usage like on ice. Prolonged usage at higher speeds can overheat the DCCD unit.
I’ve become an unwanted STi expert since 2012. I’ve learned that the front bumper design is freaking idiotic. The driver inner fender well liner is horrendous. The front lower control arm bushings are a “wear” item unless you go to metal on metal, as are numerous other suspension parts. The front CV boots can wear out due to heat if not properly isolated. The engine mounts can melt if not shielded. Brake pad choice is critical. Regardless, I have tons of fun with my 360 WHP, water methanol injected, somewhat plump, baby. She’s a sweet 10:1 Power to Weight ratio at the wheels (including me), which many argue is an ideal ratio to learn how to go faster.
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Ariella Subaru STi relaxing at NJMP Thunderbolt in 2015
The Subaru STi is incredibly fun on a race track!
The STi is one of the most fun cars around in my opinion. With a Torsen 2 limited slip in back, a helical limited slip up front, a 30 to 100 magneto-servo locking center differential that operates on the fly, and a nearly indestructible ZF 6 speed, the STi is a formidable force to be reckoned with 😉
Ariella started as an unmolested 2008 Subaru STi with approximately 36,000 miles. She was purchased in October of 2012. A Subaru STi is designed to get dirty and play rough. They’re not content being a fast grocery getter, or living a mundane, suburbanite, existence. They seek out daring and unusual work.
– Abridged from Diary of an STi now in paperback 🙂
Ariella needed to be prepared for road course duty. The STi is a very competent animal stock, aside from the prodigious understeer. Is Subaru scared to unleash the goodness for fear that people would kill themselves? However, the factory understeer tweaking can mostly be dialed out. One is left with a clawing beast!
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