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Sideways STi

A Subaru Impreza STi with a difference - it's a rear-wheel-drive drifter!

Words by Michael Knowling, Pix by Julian Edgar

Click on pics to view larger images

At a glance...

  • A pair of ex GT-P race cars combined to create a single drift special
  • Full race car-style preparation and presentation
  • Rear-wheel-drive
  • Sets a new standard in the Australian drift scene
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Sometimes you see the weirdest things. Birds trained to talk. Politicians that answer questions. Even Subaru Imprezas that go drifting...

It might be stepping on Nissan rear-wheel-drive toes, but this MY04-spec Impreza STi is here to change the face of drifting in Australia. That’s a big call to make but it’s one that Scott Anderson, the owner, stands by.

"We’ll be out to set a benchmark in the scene," says a confident Scott.

"Our car is presented as a race car with proper race car equipment and preparation."

It’s a far cry from the battered and bruised dungers that typically make ‘good’ drift machines...

Click for larger image

Scott Anderson knows what it takes to own and manage a winning team. His motorsport company, ProTecnica, has campaigned in Australia’s GT-P category for the past 3 years - and this year their STi won its class.

Evos were no match.

In the off-season, Scott and the guys at ProTecnica decided to have a go at something a bit different. They already had two crashed STis sitting in the workshop, so they decided to blend them together to make a single MY04-spec machine. A machine that, as it turns out, measures up squarer than some un-crashed examples!

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The idea for this car was simple – to go out and have some fun drifting. A tired driveline (used in the Bathurst 24 hour enduro) was thrown into the reborn car, the centre diff was welded to provide drive only to the rear wheels and – voila – a drifter was born.

At this stage one of the major team sponsors, JVC, encouraged development of the drift car. And this kind of upped the ante – it was no longer enough to continue mucking around with it when a sponsor was providing substantial financial backing.

Scott says what started off as a silly little project then became quite a big deal.

In GT-P spec, the STi had run with only the modifications allowed under CAMS guidelines. An EcuTeK ECU remap and an exhaust were the extent of the engine mods. Aside from that, the car was equipped with Bilstein struts and tweaked brakes.

But to cut the mustard as a drift car you need power - and lots of it.

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A rebuilt and blueprinted EJ20 engine now lives under the hood. It retains the standard STi cams, pistons and internals to help interchangeability with other Protecnica vehicles. A rare S202 engine oil cooler and upgrade radiator/gearbox fluid cooler assembly enhance durability. An AVO oil catch can also serves this purpose. Scott says drifting requires a lot of cooling performance without the high speed airflow associated in normal circuit racing. A GFB pulley set reduces the speed of the water pump to reduce parasitic losses and prevent high rpm pump cavitation.

Click for larger image

Scott has extracted more power after switching to a K&N pod filter, cat-less 3 inch exhaust (with only a single hot-dog style resonator) and a Hyperflow front-mount intercooler kit. The intercooler is further cooled by a water spray system that draws from a Japanese-market Spec C 12 litre reservoir (which, as this photo shows, is designed to fit behind the back seat.) The turbocharger employed is an IHI VF30 set to deliver approx 24 psi boost.

Fuel flow is increased using a ‘500hp’ fuel pump and modified fuel rails teamed with the PE800 injectors. The engine management was removed to make way for a MoTeC M800 system with a MAP sensor. A big-bore Hyperflow airflow meter housing provides a mounting facility for the K&N pod filter and contains the MoTeC’s intake air temp sensor.

With Elf high-octane fuel in the tank, the car puts out approximately 200kW at the rear wheels.

So, with oodles of power on tap, the next challenge was to make sure every bit of it could be effectively put to use to spit the rear of the car sideways. And, for this, the standard STi AWD driveline is no good.

Click for larger image

Protecnica has removed the standard centre diff and fitted a custom billet shaft to send drive to the rear wheels only. This billet shaft fits where the standard centre diff normally resides. Out back, a Modena Engineering diff provides a 3.9:1 final drive ratio. The standard STi driveshafts remain at the rear – but, after snapping several, there are a couple of alternatives currently being tested. The now-redundant front driveshafts have been removed, which required custom modified knuckles and cross member to keep everything tied together.

The gearbox is the standard STi 6 speed with a 5 button ceramic clutch and heavy duty pressure plate – you don’t want the clutch slipping instead of the tyres...

Brakes – which are an often overlooked part of drifting – are enhanced with stainless lines, DBA 5000 series rotors and Endless pads front and rear. A hydraulic handbrake is also useful to get the back moving around.

The suspension is comprehensively modified. Scott says the team quickly realized that drifting is a lot more complex than "sideways and smoke"...

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The geometry is altered to provide about 3.5 degrees negative camber at the rear, 5.5 degrees of negative camber at the front and 4 degrees of castor. This is achieved with adjustable Noltec strut tops. A Whiteline 27mm swaybar lives under the rear, and at the time of photography, there was no front swaybar. The team is in the early stages of experimentation in this area. An effective tyre contact patch is maintained by adjustable Bilstein struts with custom valving. Rims are 19 inch OZ Racing alloys wearing 225/35 Falken Azenis ST115s.

Inside the cabin it’s just like a race car - probably because it is!

Click for larger image

You’ll find a GT-P-spec roll cage, Sparco steering wheel, Cobra seats, Willans harnesses and a mouth-watering MoTeC dash providing info on all important temperatures and pressures. A MoTeC shift light (set to 7200 rpm) shines bright through the clouds of tyre smoke.

The body of this drifter remains as the manufacturer intended with the exception of the easily removable 4-clip front bumper. Inevitably, there’s a bit of carnage in drifting! We’re told that the car previously weighed about 1360kg in GT-P trim; these days it’s a bit lighter.

Scott says the car handles nicely and performs well in the role of drift machine.

"It power slides as well as anything else – I mean you can gas it in third gear and it’ll go sideways so it’s pretty well set up. On tight corners you need to flick it sideways, but that’s pretty normal," he says.

Click for larger image

There are a few small details to be finished on the car, but Scott says the true Subaru drift special is yet to materialize. The in-the-build successor will be tubbed , have a wide body kit, 2.5 litre grunt, carbon fibre doors and more. Scott says it’ll be essentially a Subaru V8 Supercar - without the V8...

Yep, the face of drifting is about to change dramatically!

Thanks:

Protecnica Racing would like to thank its sponsors - JVC, Falken, Bilstein, Elf oil and lubricants, DBA, GFB and GCG Turbos.

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