Subaru of Las Vegas / Zenkai Motorsports
Tackle Subiefest 2013
Debut Track Event Of The Refreshed ZMRT STI
For Immediate Release
September 18, 2013 (Las Vegas, Nevada) – Before the sun had even begun to illuminate the morning sky, Subaru of Las Vegas’ Zenkai Motorsports Team Director Gary Harding fired up the tow rig and left the dealership for Southern California. Following an uneventful drive down Interstate 15 South, our team arrived in Long Beach, at Church Automotive Testing, for a final touch-up tuning session before Saturday’s Subiefest track event.
Shawn Church and his talented crew loaded the Zenkai Motorsports 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI onto the DynaPack All Wheel Drive dynamometer for a baseline pull, before any adjustments were made to the car’s ECU. Taking feedback from our driver, Thomas Smith, Church dialed in the ZMRT STI’s power delivery in, for a smooth power curve.
With only a couple minor hiccups during the dyno session, Zenkai Motorsports and Church Automotive Testing were able to get repeated, consistent pulls from their Turbo by Garrett turbocharged 2.5 liter 4 cylinder motor built by Zenkai Motorsports, with assistance from Mori Walker at Uehara Motowerks. Wrapping up the tuning session, Shawn Church gave us some details regarding power levels at each adjustment of Subaru’s Intelligent Drive system.
After loading the ZMRT STI back in the trailer, the team made the arduous trek back to their hotel in Fontana, just down the road from AAA’s Auto Club Speedway. Relaxing for the night, Zenkai Motorsports’ team members made sure to rest up before Saturday’s Subiefest Time Attack.
Five AM Saturday morning arrived too soon! With pre-event tasks delegated, important items were taken care of, from fueling up to retrieving donuts and coffee, no detail was overlooked. Waiting in line at Auto Club Speedway’s entrance, many iterations of the famed Boxer rumble could be heard near and far.
As the sun rose above the horizon, Zenkai Motorsports’ STI was offloaded and parked in our garage space for Subiefest. Track tires were mounted, tire pressures were set, fuel levels were checked and rechecked, until it was time to send Thomas Smith to the morning drivers’ meeting.
Taking it easy for the first session, Smith relayed telemetry details to suspension guru, Eladio Rodriguez of H1 Performance. Tire temperatures were checked and noted throughout the session in the hot pit, giving the team valuable information for future sessions. As this was the first track day on this build, there were some gremlins to work out. This session revealed a lower than ideal oil pressure, however with Motul protecting the internals, we were not worried! Additional oil was added, which returned the oil levels and pressures to an ideal range.
T. Smith & E. Rodriguez post session download
While Zenkai Motorsports’ Subaru was back in the garage, lug nut torque was double-checked, along with a host of other safety checks before the second session. Due to the slower speeds and warm-up nature of the first session, an accurate picture of fuel consumption was not appearing yet. So, the fuel levels were returned to a safe range.
During our second session, Thomas Smith reported improvements in the ZMRT STI’s mechanical grip, with only minor instances of oversteer for certain sections of the track. With more information needed before really pushing the Subaru, Smith was able to cut three seconds from the first session’s fastest lap. Following Smith’s return to the garage, Eladio Rodriguez made some adjustments to the Whiteline and GTSpec stabilized suspension, according to driver feedback. Finally, a clearer picture of fuel consumption was materializing, allowing for some weight reduction via reduced fuel load.
ZMRT Crew Modifying The Bumper
Session number three was going well, with an OK from the team viewing from atop the stands, Thomas started to see what the quick spooling Turbo By Garrett GTX3076R snail would do on the long Auto Club Speedway straight. As the speedometer quickly climbed into the triple digits, the Pikes Peak inspired, low-speed handling specialized front splitter was too efficient in creating downforce at high speeds and was pushed into the track. Not wanting to risk causing any serious mechanical damage to the Subaru, Smith exited the track for some impromptu modifications in the garage.
While the team was busy setting the car up, spectators stood on the elevated walkway in the pit section and watched the crew work. Many compliments were heard regarding the Pacific Custom Paint sprayed paint and bodywork, along with the BCE Designs installed graphics package on the ZMRT STI.
ZMRT STI's New Look
Working like a well-oiled machine, crew members and driver alike worked to remove as much of the protruding portion of the splitter as possible. Using all tools available, they hacked, snipped & drilled away the damaged splitter, before stitching the broken fiberglass bumper back together. To reduce drag and prevent accidental cuts on the jagged remnants, the notable Zenkai Orange duct tape was used to cover the leading edge, providing an eye-catching layer of protection and drag reduction.
The mission for session four? Run a ‘traditional’ time attack session with a warm up lap, an all-out hot lap, inspection and repeat. It was discovered during our fastest hot lap of the day, with a time of 1:48.592, that our Toyo R888 tires lost traction after a single aggressive lap on the hot track surface. Without traffic, predictions of a 1:47.00 seemed well within the realm of possibilities for Zenkai Motorsprots’ car/driver combination, despite the gear ratio limited top speed of 150 MPH.
ZMRT STI Stuck In Traffic
With the fifth and final session, a fresh set of R888s were mounted, along with some additional suspension and fuel level adjustments, Smith went back on track one last time. Due to excessive traffic on the track, Thomas was unable to get a clean, competitive lap. Losing 1.3 seconds from the fourth session, the team was disappointed to miss the predicted 1:46.xx time, but was happy with the consistency of the day, along with a running and relatively undamaged car to bring back to Subaru of Las Vegas at the end of the day.
Temperatures were in the high 90’s throughout the day and zero cooling issues were experienced, thanks to our aluminum CSF Racing Radiator. Power delivery from the horizontally opposed Subaru motor, built by Zenkai Motorsports / Uehara Motowerks, was smooth and reliable all day, on the slower infield and high speed sections of the track, as the Carbonetic Triple Blade Clutch and Carbon Differentials held up great. In addition to the wrap installed by BCE Designs, the powder coating work by Snail Motorsports drew comments as the hood was up, as did the phenomenal body repair work and paint job by Pacific Custom Paint.
Subaru of Las Vegas / Zenkai Motorsports is extremely grateful for all of our team sponsors, crew members and fans for all of their support through these last two years, while we rebuilt and worked hard to get back onto the track. Look for Zenkai Motorsports at Subie Invasion, November 9th in Las Vegas following SEMA and in 2014, as they return to competition throughout the region.
Subaru of Las Vegas http://www.SubaruOfLasVegas.com
Turbo by Garrett http://www.TurboByGarrett.com
CSF Radiators http://www.CSFRace.com
H1 Performance http://www.H1Performance.com
Church Automotive Testing http://bit.ly/1eRDyTL
Snail Motorsports http://www.SnailMotorsports.com
BCE Designs http://www.BCEDesigns.com
Pacific Custom Paint http://www.pcplv.com
Marquis, Aurbach & Coffing http://www.MACLaw.com
All general or sponsorship inquiries and photo requests may be routed through Zenkai Motorsports’ Marketing Manager, Christian Robinson (firstname.lastname@example.org / 702-495-2105).