Video: 480-HP WRX Time Attacker: Budget Performer

It’s a shame us Americans never got the first-generation WRX, since they look like capable, little bruisers. The current WRX is a hefty car, which doesn’t help it appeal to those looking to build a track tool on a budget. Those types gravitate towards cars that are already light and small so their money will go the furthest.

Simple bolt-ons and a big GT wing are all this car needs to corner with Formula Fords.

Simple bolt-ons and a big GT wing are all this car needs to corner with Formula Fords.

Australian Phil Bunter’s WRX epitomizes the successful barn-build. Good tires matched with a modest amount of power and minimal modification are all this head-turner uses. To house wider tires, Dapto Smash Repairs helped graft the V8 Commodore wheel flares onto the stock body, which uses no lightweight carbon or Lexan to trim the Subie’s heft. Regardless, the car looks remarkably agile – lapping the tight course on-par with a Formula Ford 1600.

Wider fenders, a set of orange Enkei RPF1 wheels, and a notable front lip are all that suggest this is a serious track tool.

Earlier in its development, wider fenders and a set of orange Enkei RPF1 wheels were all that suggested this was a serious track tool.

Being heavier than an open-wheeler, that performance comes thanks to a 2.5-liter motor and a mid-sized snail that push 480 horsepower. Internal mods are limited to cams and a factory crank from a later-gen motor, and even the stock five-speed was used, albeit with stronger dog gears from PPG. The engine looks tractable, and mated to a chassis with predictable handling, there’s plenty to like about this little beast.

It seems then that getting enough tire and a solid footprint on the ground count for quite a lot. That front lip, rear diffuser, and GT wing push the car into the ground, but it’s really all quite simple. It doesn’t even have a custom dash! This neon blue WRX isn’t a money-no-object build; just a few notches away from a street car with a few bolt-ons. Incredible performance for the money, as evidenced by Bunter’s reaction to his lap time at 3:28.

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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