Torn, battered and bruised, the GST Motorsports Subaru GC8 rumbled into the paddock just completing its second run session of the day. Posting an impressive 1:50 lap time, the Subie managed to squeak into fourth place. The deafening roar of the boxer engine came to an abrupt halt as a handful of the team quickly went to work making the necessary adjustments on the Subie's suspension, while the rest focused on repairing the passenger-side front end that encountered damage on the track just seconds before. GOTO:Racing's Brian Lock, who is in charge of piloting the GST time attack machine, quickly unsheathed his helmet and yelled out the window, "Does anyone know our lap times?" Team/shop owner Mike Warfield quickly responded "1:50." As Lock analyzed the data from his run, the team continued to work on the vehicle in preparation for the next session while Mike attempted to keep the group organized and levelheaded, knowing the chaos that was sure to ensue throughout the day.
The story you are about to read is seen through the eyes of Mike Warfield as we turn back the hands of time and follow this team and driver as they prepare the GST Motorsports Subaru for the inaugural Super Lap Battle. Mike's personal diary is filled with many of the highlights as well as disappointments that make the world of motorsports what it is today. Nothing is as easy as it seems.
It all started with a phone call from Source Interlink Media's Elliot Moran back in August inviting us to compete in their annual Super Lap Battle at Buttonwillow Raceway on Nov. 7. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Source InterlinkMedia invite-only event, it's an event for the top time attack teams/cars in the U.S. where the best domestic-based U.S. and JDM teams are attracted. This year it was rumored that arguably the fastest time attack car in the world, the HKS CT230R Evo, would be in attendance.
Over the past two to three years Buttonwillow's CW13 track configuration has become the U.S. equivalent to the renowned Tsukuba track in Japan, where our times are used to measure and rank us in the U.S.
Our preparation began in late September on the way home from the Tuner Shootout event in Las Vegas after we went head-to-head with AMS's awesome Evo. At that event, we were beaten by just over a second on a 4.5-mile course and realized that while our car had been very successful at West Coast events, we were seriously underpowered when going up against cars like the AMS Evo. We were running a low-compression Cosworth motor with a Garrett GT30r turbo and knew that in order to be able to compete with the top cars we'd need to step up to the GT35r's horsepower. So the GST crew agreed that we needed to do something with the motor to help with the additional lag. This was sorted rather easily with a quick call to Nickolaus DiBlasi of JE Pistons where we had a custom set of 10:1 compression pistons for our Cosworth motor on the way.
Another issue we had been fighting since building the car was the balance between needing to run fairly wide sticky tires and our inability to run a suitable ride height due to the clearance issues the 275s presented us with. In stepped our driver Brian Lock of GOTO:Racing, who with much deliberation worked out a way to remove the material from the fenders allowing us to bring the cars ride height down to where we needed it. A quick search on the Internet and we were able to find a suitable bolt-on fender flare to keep the aesthetic impact at a minimum.
With the new motor built, we proceeded to dyno tune the car. The new piston and turbo setup didn't disappoint; we managed to make an additional 100 whp over what we were running-with no loss in spool and better shift response. Now we were ready to test the car and work out the fresh chassis setup with the new ride height.