All wheel drive cars are traditionally hard on clutches. With tons of traction, launches involve a lot of clutch slippage. Fast shifting and even downshifting are all harder on the clutch due to the increased traction of 4 wheels. With this in mind building a daily driver heavy duty clutch for a street car is always a challenge.
It just so happened that our friends at ACT were wrapping up development of a clutch and flywheel combination for the late model VA WRX when we were at their office and we thought it might be a good opportunity to show what is deep inside ACT's WRX clutch which shares many design features with all ACT clutches.
We have been putting together the Suspension on Project VA WRX over the last few months with some top quality parts from Tein and Superpro. We were waiting on the few last brand new pieces from Superpro to finish our suspension setup. Well they have come in and now is our time to install and evaluate them.
Our VA WRX is becoming quite impressive thanks to the gains we have made in its performance. We are beginning to think that it will soon be knocking at and even exceeding the performance envelope of the much more expensive STI.
Since we have been working on the brakes and suspension of our STI killer VA WRX, it was time to take advantage of those parts with some bigger, grippier tires and wheels to accommodate them. We got the right hardware for the job with some wider wheels from ARK Design and bigger tires from Nitto Tire.
Many of our MotoIQ Project Cars feature top of the line or even exotic suspension parts, exactly the kind of stuff you want to use in cars that see mixed track/street use with a heavy track bias. However, not all of our cars are set up like this, some of our cars are more street oriented and set up towards hassle free daily use.
In our last edition of Project VA WRX we showcased some of the preliminary testing involved for the design validation of our new big brake kit by Stoptech. A baseline for the stock brake system was established using Stoptech's test protocols. The brake testing establishes the brake balance, stopping distances and fade characteristics of the stock brakes so improvements can be measured and there is a record of the validation testing.
Our Project VA WRX does not have the trick Brembo brakes that come standard on its big brother the STI. It does however have brakes that would have been considered to be great just a few short years ago. Although the front and rear calipers appear to be pedestrian sliding calipers with two pistons on the front and a single piston for the rear brakes, the rotors are big. The front rotors measure in at 316mm in diameter and 28mm thick while the rear rotors are 288mm in diameter and 8.5mm thick. The pads are also large for OEM type calipers.
We decided to be different and tackle the Subaru WRX as our latest Project Car because it's big sister, the STI has been always getting all the attention. More people can afford the WRX which we consider to be a performance bargain and more enthusiasts drive them. We will be working with ARK Design to get this car going and make it more fun to drive.
One of the first things we did as is typical on most of our project cars is to work on the suspension first. Since we are still deciding on what to do for dampers on our project, we decided to start with changing the soft rubber suspension bushings with some polyurethane parts by Superpro.
Driven: 2015 Subaru WRX
The 2015 WRX is the first time in a long time the WRX has received really major changes. Sure, they changed the head lights, wing size, and the body style some over the years. But mechanically, the cars had remained remarkably similar for a decade. That has all changed with the 2015 WRX. The new WRX is so good (reminds me quite a bit of my 2005 Evo 8 actually in terms of performance), I actually recommend it over the STI if used purely as a fun daily driver.