Some of you might remember footage of the sliding around Brands Hatch on a dry day seven years ago. Even on slicks and with the sun shining brightly over the English circuit, the four wheel-drive phenomenon moved like there was a thin layer of oil covering the entire racetrack. With a balletic poise, Olly Clark shook the entire internet with his first attempt at an all-out, Subaru time attack car, but fast forward seven years and the old GC8 has been pushed aside for another, wilder build.
The second coming of the Gobstopper had quite large shoes to fill, as its predecessor had won time attack event after time attack event. However, if there’s one event which will give a car worldwide recognition, it’s got to be Goodwood. With the event attracting big names and historic machines from the world of motorsport, it’s always a good event to be rubbing shoulders at.
Olly Clark did more than make a cordial impression this year — he won the timed event. However, that accomplishment was the result of long hours with his brother, Matt, who was intent to push this build even further. Starting with a WRC shell, the miles of tubing used to form the involved rollcage could circle the earth. With all the rigidity needed from such a comprehensive start, Matt set off to building the custom carbon panels with help from KS Composites. In addition to the body panels, the exhausting task of wind tunnel testing was used to devise the most effective shape for the Gobstopper 2’s aero package. The result is eyebrow-raising, ungainly, and very effective.
The engine’s build is no less absurd. With custom parts built in-house at Roger Clark Motorsport, the 2.0-liter EJ20 was given the whole nine yards. Additionally, a WRC inlet manifold, a 100-shot of nitrous, an in-house dry sump system, and Syvecs S8 ECU complete the package. With a massive 780 horsepower produced from such a small motor, the powerband is fairly narrow, but it’s managed with a six-speed Zytec paddle shift sequential, and harnessed with a quad-plate clutch from AP Racing.
The same company supplies the carbon brakes, which measure 380 mm in front and 320 mm in the rear, and all four corners sporting forged, one-piece calipers. To make the most of the Subaru’s mechanical grip, a set of custom-forged billet wheels from Team Dynamics measure 18×10″ at all four corners, which with this much power ought to result in a tendency to oversteer. However, there’s very little in the way of histrionics during Clark’s fast lap.
His rocketship acceleration from the start gives him an advantage over his nearest rival, Kenny Brack in the McLaren F1 GTR LM, which struggles off the line having only two driven wheels. However, contrasting his lap with Brack’s, Clark is much smoother and less aggressive with the inputs. It’s largely the sophistication of a modern car that is causing this since not once does the Gobstopper ever look nervous or unsettled. Just a relentless surge of acceleration, a quick, committed, and precise flick through the hay bails and a courageous blast through the the daunting final left.
Brack looks on, not despondently, but magnanimously after his time was beaten by 0.7 seconds. Without modern aids, four wheel-drive, and a shorter wheelbase, Brack put up one hell of a fight, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t enough. While the Gobstopper 2 is an amazing piece of kit, it has to be said that it’s never a comforting feeling when one is beaten by something named after an oversized piece of candy.