When Brady Wild set out to build his ultimate track weapon, he didn't want it to shout from the rooftops any time it was rolled out of the trailer — no sir, he wanted it to do all its talking on the track — a mindset that lead to the most undercover 500kW car in the country
The WRX STi is not a model we’d usually file under the sleeper umbrella. It is, after all, a performance car by name, by nature, and by virtue, but what you’ll come to realize over the coming pages is that there are WRXs, and then there is Brady Wild’s 2014 STi. This car is a werewolf in wolf’s clothing, a 511kW track-day warrior so unassuming that most people don’t even notice it when Brady shows up to an event. It’s about as low key as a race car can get and built in such a restrained manner that one could be forgiven for mistaking it for some kind of factory-built track-day special. “It’s become a bit of joke with my mates; any time I go to Puke or Hampton, no one pays any attention to the car when we pull it out of the trailer. But, as soon as I’ve done a couple of runs and overtaken most things out there, all while spitting flames, that’s usually when people take an interest and come over to check it out,” Brady says.
We, too, would have fallen victim to this scenario if it hadn’t been for the blue Cosworth tag we spotted through the missing bonnet vent — a small hint at what actually lies beneath. The project has been two years in the making, and it’s Brady’s first dedicated racer, despite the fact that he grew up around some of New Zealand’s most talented wheelmen — you may be familiar with his uncle Owen Evans, and cousins Simon and Mitch? Brady had owned all manner of cars before, including a few WRXs, and it’s the all-wheel-drive platform he felt most comfortable pushing, which made it the perfect choice for his build. His favourite WRX is the wide-body sedan.
“I found this particular car in Auckland. It had only a few basic mods, like exhaust and coilovers, but it was clean and hadn’t been messed with too much,” he says. Like any keen track-day warrior, Brady wasted no time in hitting the apexes … only to suffer the dreaded spun bearing like so many before him. Kent at Speedsource pieced together a 2.0-litre EJ, which saw regular track work, but, as Brady improved, so did his speeds. “I was using it with the other engine,” he explains, “and it was still really quick. If something went wrong, it was going to be big, so I decided to take it off the road, and [I] did the cage, the motor, the gearbox, and the suspension all at once.” All of that happened inside a 12-month window at Tauranga’s Dtech Motorsport.
If you were to look up the definition of ‘doing it once and doing it right’, Brady’s WRX would be a fitting image. The boys at Dtech pieced together a stout 2.3-litre more than capable of handling the current highest boost output, 535kW. The basis for this is a dual AVCS 2.5 EJ25 block de-stroked to 2.3, which not only allows you to rev the engine harder but also allows you to shift the power band higher in the rev range. The block itself was strengthened using a JL Design close-deck plate and dowel kit. The AVCS heads received a big dose of porting to open them up, along with a set of custom Cat cams, Manley valves, and ARP bolts. As Brady’s motor had been a victim of oil starvation previously, this time around, the proper precautions include an Armstrong Race Engineering (ARE) dry-sump system, which Dtech somehow managed to shoehorn under the bonnet.
With an appetite for up to eight litres of E85 a minute on full boost, the fuel system comprises dual 044 Bosch pumps that drain a surge tank and an 83-litre Jaz cell in 10 minutes flat!
The rest of the under-bonnet parts list is testament to that aforementioned mantra of doing it once and doing it right. The rather large BorgWarner EFR plays second fiddle to the Cosworth intake manifold, a part that Brady tells us was a drama to locate and acquire. But it was well worth the hassle, considering it offered 40kW in gain just for bolting it on. On the dyno, the combination has just kept on giving, with the current high boost setting sitting in the 511kW range. Tuner Dave explains that that’s really just the beginning, and, should the need arise for more (as we all know it will), there is still plenty of scope in the current set-up to push it even further. But, as it sits, it’s kind of middle of the road — until Brady settles on what discipline he will ultimately focus on.
At the moment, you’ll catch the WRX partaking in anything from street sprints and hill climbs to track days, and it might get involved in some possible GT work later this year. The car has even been through the LVVTA process, leaving the window open to do Targa. But, whatever route the car goes, the factory vibe will continue. Even on the inside, this theme continues, despite the extensive safety features — an area in which Brady went all out.
The chromoly roll cage is extensive and pushed to the outer limits of the cabin in the name of keeping it stealth. The same can be said for the Modena sequential shifter peering up through the factory trim — even the factory wheel remains, though it’s less than ideal, as it hinders climbing in and out of the car. There was talk of maintaining the air con, but, with the dry-sump tank squeezed into the engine bay, it was just becoming a little too tight and wasn’t worth the hassle.
The fuel system (up until recently) had been kept stealth, too, with enough room in the boot to still fits Brady’s clubs, which Dave tells us was one of Brady’s requests. Nevertheless, sometimes, you have to make sacrifices in the name of performance — and with an appetite for eight litres of E85 a minute on full boost, this was one of those times. The boot space now plays host to a very serious E85 supply chain. But the exterior is as it left the Subaru showroom, the only change thus far being a set of carbon wing mirrors. Brady has more carbon bits at home, including a bonnet and larger wing but has grown attached to the stealth factory vibes.
Having witnessed the dangers of motor sport first-hand, Brady says safety was a no-compromise situation. The Racetech 119 head-restraint set is tied into the roll cage, and a full Lifeline fire-suppression system is only one toggle pull away
However, it’s inevitable that a little more aero and carbon will creep into the mix as Brady focuses on improving those laps times and making the most of the driveline package.
Brady and the boys at Dtech have built one hell of a capable machine here, and although he’s only completed a handful of events, Brady has already begun claiming a bit of hardware, no doubt surprising his fellow competitors in the process. But let this serve as a warning to you all: never judge a book by its cover, especially one with monobloc Brembos, tinted windows, and a large front mount, otherwise you could be left red-faced and scratching your head in amazement.
Age: Man child
Occupation: Managing director
Build time: Two years
Length of ownership: Three years
Thanks: Dave and Tony at Dtech Motorsport, Shane Drake at Chicane Racewear
ENGINE: Subaru EJ23, 2350cc,
BLOCK: JL Design CNC closed-deck and dowelled EJ25 block de-stroked, Manley 75mm stroker crank, Manley I-beam rods, Manley forged pistons, ACL race bearings, ARP bolts
HEAD: Custom ported and flowed EJ25 quad AVSC heads, custom-spec Cat cams, Manley 37mm inlet valves, Manley 33mm exhaust valves, CNC cut valve seats, custom valve springs and retainers, ARP CA 625+ head studs
INTAKE: Four-inch alloy intake, pod filter, Cosworth intake manifold, custom alloy intercooler piping, 600x300x76mm bar-and-plate intercooler, STi drive-by-wire throttle body
EXHAUST: Three-inch custom downpipe, three-inch stainless exhaust, twin Invidia stainless mufflers
TURBO: BorgWarner EFR 8374 (1.05 A/R T4 twin-scroll), STi twin-scroll manifold
WASTEGATE: Dual TiAL MVS 38mm
FUEL: 83-litre Jazz fuel cell, 140gph Aeroflow lift pump, dual Bosch 044 main pumps, Bosch Motorsport fuel filters, Speedflow PTFE braided lines, Speedflow fittings, Bosch 1600cc fuel injectors, modified factory fuel rails, Tomei fuel-pressure regulator, custom surge tank, ethanol-content sensor
IGNITION: Factory STi coil-on-plug
ECU: Emtron KV8
COOLING: Koyo 55mm radiator, Setrab 25-row oil cooler
EXTRA: ARE dry-sump oil system, dry-sump tank, custom catch-can / breather system, custom header tank
GEARBOX: Modena six-speed sequential, Modena strain-gauge gear knob
CLUTCH: Custom five-puck
FLYWHEEL: Lightweight chromoly
DIFF: (F) Modena plate limited-slip, (centre) Driver’s Control Centre Differential (DCCD) (controlled by ECU), (R) STi R180 plate-type limited-slip
STRUTS: MCA Red Series coilovers; (F)13kg spring, (R) 14kg spring
BRAKES: (F) Brembo six-pot calipers, Brembo 355x32mm floating rotors, custom hats, Brembo V8ST race pads; (R) factory STi two-pot calipers, DBA 4000 316mm rotors, Endless pads
WHEELS: (Street) 18x9.5-inch Rota Grid, (slick/wet) 18x9.5-inch Work Emotion CR Kiwami
TYRES: (Street) 265/35R18 Hankook Z221, (slick) 250/640R18 Advan, (wet) 240/640R18 Hankook Z207
PAINT: Factory black
ENHANCEMENTS: Factory STi kit, STi front lip, STi wing
SEATS: (Driver) Racetech 119 head restraint, Racetech six-point harness; (passenger) Racetech 4000, Racetech four-point harness
STEERING WHEEL: Factory STi (airbag deleted)
INSTRUMENTATION: Modena gear-shift display
EXTRA: Eight-point Dtech chromoly roll cage, Lifeline fire-suppression system, Lifeline handheld extinguisher
FUEL: Gull E85
TUNER: Dtech Motorsport
This article originally appeared in NZ Performance Car issue No. 249 — to get your grubby mitts on a print copy, click the cover below