Timo Main moneypit monkey

I dragged home a new track car - Subaru BRZ

I dragged home a new track car - Subaru BRZ

I’ve written about my S2000 and the idea of using it as a track car before. I did end up using it on the track once, but I wasn’t really feeling it. In the end, I sold the car on Bring A Trailer and ended up buying a Maxton Rollerskate. That one unfortunately wasn’t going to be a track car either. It’s a fun car to drive, but would require too many modifications to actually be allowed on the track. It’s too rare for that in my book. In the end it boiled down to either a Fiat X1/9 or one of the Frisbie twins (aka Subaru BRZ or Scion FR-S). The Fribies won for two reasons, one being parts availability and the other one car availability. The nearest “half decent in the pictures” X1/9 were a good 6-7 hour round trip away.

Anyway, I dragged home a 2013 BRZ yesterday. The plan is for this to be my “make or break” track car build - I’ll either get back into enjoying myself on the track, or I’m calling it a day, at least for now. I’ve only been on the track twice in the last four years due to my clutch foot issues, and I found the last time a little too stressful and not that enjoyable. Anyway, I digress.

So, yesterday I got the PowerStroke and the trailer out, and high tailed it further south into WV:

Old F250 towing a trailer with a Subaru BRZ on it

Got it home - after the turn signals on the truck decided to take a vacation - flattened a small tree with the trailer, unloaded the car and shoved into into the shop. The BRZ is pretty much the biggest track car I can get in there for now that I can move around. If I somehow smuggled a kei car in there too, the place would being to look like one of your typical Japanese tuner workshops. Only that they get work done there.

Photo of my workshop with a lot of cars in it

Today I decided it was time to clear out the interior, give it a bit of a vacuum and see how long it’d take for the smell from the magic trees to evaporate. Pulled out the floor mats, took out the trash - not a lot, but there was some stuff under the floor mats etc. I’d guess that the PO’s girlfriend is probably wondering where some of her lip gloss went (into the trash bag)…

But me being me, I just had to check something a little more involved. One reason why this car was relatively cheap for a BRZ was because the PO’s PO had run out of talent at some point and tapped the rear bumper against something a little immobile. You can see there’s a little paint damage on the bumper cover and the cover and the fender don’t quite line up. So, like picking at a scab, I had to pick at it, didn’t I?

I mean, how bad can it be?

One small dent in the rear right of the Subaru BRZ

Out came the light. You can see that the mounting hole look a bit worse for wear, and the metal around the bottom one is a bit more bent than I’d like.

Rear light removed

So, things escalated, quickly:

BRZ rear bumper removed

One advantage of modern cars is that some areas do come apart pretty quickly. Unfortunately the corner looks decidedly second hand:

Full picture of the accident damage

And a closer look:

Closer look at the damage hiding under the rear bumper

Compared to the driver’s side:

Same area on the driver's side, showing what it looks like undamaged

While I could have a go at bashing out the bent metal, I think I’ll leave that to the pros. As long as a local bodyshop can straighten it enough that the vent fits correctly again, it’ll likely resolve most of the fitment issues as well - I think the pushed in metal pulled the corner of the fender in a bit, too.

Oh, and one reason why I thought that this car was a little more quiet than other Frisbies I’ve driven in the past:

All the sound deadening in the trunk

Yay, weight loss o’clock. Of course it is cheap mat, but the advantage is that it doesn’t stick too well so I could actually get a bunch of it out by pulling and peeling. Need to get a heat gun though to soften it up more and get the rest out. Also, if you’re putting sound deadening material into the trunk, fer cryin’ out loud make sure it adheres properly. There was moisture trapped pretty much everywhere where this stuff didn’t fully adhere. Fortunately it’s all (mostly) coming out again. I suspect that if this had been there long enough, there would be a few nice rust bubbles forming already.

At the other end, the car looks depressingly stock:

Completely stock engine bay

That’s actually one of the reasons I bought it - I couldn’t find much in the way of signs of reverted modifications, nor ill-advised parts. Being a rust belt car, I have to have a very good poke around it from underneath, but in general it’s in decent shape. There’s some onset of surface rust, and the exhaust isn’t in that great a shape, but still gas tight. As a 2013, it had the valve spring recall done earlier this year. Obviously that’s often a concern to people, however the previous owner put about 7k miles on the car since the recall, so fingers crossed that it survived the recall OK.

So, what’s the plan?

Well, other than the unexpected visit to a bodywork pro, it looks a bit like this:

  • Continue the weight loss regimen - at least pull the sticky crap in the trunk out and see if there is more. That stuff is heavy.
  • Wheels and sticky tires for track use
  • Brake overhaul, as usual. Brakes work fine other than the emergency brake which has a ton of travel before it holds. They’re well used though, so it’s rotor/pad/braided line time.
  • See how the stock suspension holds up on the track. I suspect there might be Konis in the near future.
  • Catted header, stainless exhaust, flex fuel sensor and a tune. That should take care of the dip of torques, and give a nice bump in power if/when I can run E85 without having to switch maps manually.

That should take care of the track efforts this year. Depending on how things go, I’ll fix what needs to get fixed, and see if I like track driving enough again to make a loop of the US next year in it.