The week preceding the event date LIC Motorsports made the call to not attend this event due to our 3rd place last Redline Time Attack event (our suspension was not up to task for an unlimited class event) and quite frankly not being in a position to afford another 3 sets of tires. Aside from the money factor being a big issue; we started to develop braking issues at the last event and we were now fighting our braking bias being way off. We were hesitant knowing that Willow Springs is a very fast track and brakes would play a crucial role. With the car on the back burner we focused on our daily operations and wrenching on customers cars.
About 5 days prior to the event I received a phone call from Mike Warfield at GST Motorsports to see if we would be attending this year's event. I mentioned my situation and predicament; his response was "come on mate, this is an all Subaru event and one that you should come show the LIC Motorsports car", I agreed with everything he was saying but addressed my lack of funds for tires and that our car would have to be in the Unlimited Class as opposed to the street class (Normally the LIC Motorsports car runs in a modified class and is setup as such), Mike said he had some take off/throw away Hankook C91's that I could have as they were just taking up space and awaiting disposal. Knowing I would be potentially racing others with the same tires and/or full slicks, I figured it was better than nothing. I also made a call to the good folks at Wheeldude to acquire a few sets of Rota DPT 18x10 wheels as our tires were a bit stretched on the previous setup.
The major turning point for us is we never question our power train setup. This Crawford Performance motor/turbo package (Motor- S3L-IR and GT35R turbo kit) would now be on its 3rd outing and 3rd competitive race event. Often times when you hear about race cars all you hear about is rebuilding motors and having nothing but motor related issues, this has never been the case for LIC Motorsports. With this info in hand, we made the judgment call to enter and attend Subiefest 2009.
With a full schedule of customers and now needing to spend some attention on our race car; we knew our suspension was not up to par and our brakes were having issues but with no time to do drastic changes, we did a series of calculations to see what spring rates and settings to run (literally changing out the suspension setup 6 times and corner weighting/balancing the car over a 3 day period), trying to establish a neutral car is a very hard thing...especially when working with a suspension setup that has very little range of adjustability and realistically is out of range for the given situation. Needless to say we did what it took to make the necessary adjustments to attempt to do our best with what we have. Off to Subiefest we went.
We arrived on Friday at 4:30pm, which was 8 hrs late as we wanted to test all day Friday to establish a base for our suspension and make sure the adjustments we did worked but being as we took much longer to complete the car than anticipated; we ended up with no testing time...we just had to wait until Saturday for the event.
We arrived at the track bright and early Saturday AM to begin setting up for the event. We headed into the first practice session shortly after arriving and quickly determined that the suspension changes we made defiantly had the car pushing less than at Pahrump and was a bit more manageable now, we found it hard to get any decent/clean laps as the track was a mad house full of cars. The second practice session out we slapped on some Hankook C91's to get some data on them as we have never run an unlimited tire or in a unlimited event before; so we had zero knowledge of tire pressure range, optimal temps, or any real life data with our race car. Being as this is what we came for, we decided on precise numbers to obtain the pressure range we were looking for. While on track we still couldn't turn any decent laps and get data due to still a huge cluster of cars and the event organizers running street cars with race cars, it became a very frustrating process to fight through and we just wasted a set of tires. Onto the first timed session we went.
First timed session out we slapped on our other set of Hankook C91's to take a crack at laying down the fastest time we could for what we had to work with and temp outside. As Dr. Russ Warr (LIC Motorsports driver) was released behind the Harman Motive monster it was made very clear that there was yet even more miscommunication between event organizers and the guy working the grounds and keeping cars spaced far enough apart. As Russ and JC Meynet (Harman Motive/AQ Motorsports) took the cars easy to get some heat into the tires, there was a mad dash from other competitors cars to start gaining ground on these guys in an attempt to set the pace for what was already becoming a mess on track (this is not how traditionally Time Attack events are arranged). Needless to say as soon as JC and Russ turned turn 9, they headed into the straight full throttle to begin their timed laps; these next 2 laps are where most will turn the fastest lap times, literally you have one shot for these clean laps and they were both on it. As they made their way around the track and once again back around turn 9 as Russ headed down the straight at over 150 mph and into turn 1, the guy responsible for releasing cars in a proper manner released a car onto the track just as Russ was about to hit the corner; causing him to slam on the brakes, nearly avoiding going off track and barely avoiding making contact into the other car, and in addition this cost us our set of race tires, as they were now blistered. As you can imagine LIC Motorsports was beyond frustrated and made it very vocal to everyone who was listening and brought it to the attention of event organizers. In addition, that set of tires was the tires we were using to lay down our fastest lap and now that was all over. Onto another practice session we went.
The next practice session was upon us and at this point the LIC Motorsports crew was about to call it quits on the next time attack session as we were out of tires to compete in this unlimited event but we slapped back on our used Toyo R888's from Pahrump the week prior; these tires were nothing more than abused, flat spotted, and beyond their optimal range but we managed a 1:26.xxx in traffic again but we at least got some data...in addition our transponder only recorded one lap, so we had to adjust it and hope it worked for the second and final time attack session we would be attending, if we were to attend it at all.
At this point I approached Mike at GST Motorsports to see if he had anymore spare tires that he would donate to the cause. To our surprise he had one set and offered them up as he wouldn't be running them. We quickly had the tire shop mount/balance them and seeing as we had very little data from the previous use of the tires we had to take a stab at the proper tire pressures, all we had to go by was the notes we made on the limited use we had. We also quickly noticed upon inspection of the engine bay that our passenger side fan had rubbed on our silicone upper radiator hose causing a gash but not leaking yet. We scoured the vendor area for another hose but no luck, we even contemplated removing one off a Subaru but the call was made that it should be thick enough and should hold for 3-4 more laps; quick use of racers tape was to ensure an extra split second if it was needed.
The final time attack was upon us, as it got later in the day and temps creeped a bit higher up we decided that what we had was the best we could do for the day. The start of the final timed session had begun and the friendly reminder to staff about the fiasco prior had been taken care of. The first lap out was as to be expected and was used to warm up tires and get them ready for the flyer lap which would be the only lap to lay our best time. As the Harman Motive car came ripping through turn 9, I got a sinking feeling in my gut (anyone who has heard JC's car knows when he is laying it all on the line) but to our own credit as I heard our car turn the corner, I looked down at my stopwatch and got an overzealous feeling that we either A- just clinched 1st place or B- I hit the buttons wrong. I realized we might just have done what it takes to secure the Unlimited Class spot but not wanting to take credit prior to knowing the official time, we sat back and awaited the awards ceremony.
As the car show winners were read and the street class podiums were announced. As we stood there with the Crawford Performance team and GST Motorsports crew, it was onto the unlimited awards. In 3rd place with a time of 1:29.371 was Surgeline Tuning (Cobb affiliate shop), and in 2nd place with a time of 1:24.435; at this point I began to shake with anticipation I knew there was only 1 of 2 names that were about to be called, JC Meynet (Harman Motive/AQ Motorsports), with that it only left one team remaining- with a 1st place time of 1:22.591 going to driver Dr. Russ Warr of LIC Motorsports! We were beyond words and excitement doesn't accurately explain the joy we felt. Being surrounded and praised by these teams that helped made it happen, made it that much better. The real topper was at the end of the ceremony the organizer had to ask whose car even won the event; they've never even heard of LIC Motorsports.
None of this could have been possible without the support of our sponsors. The Crawford Performance power train package hands down has never even been a concern; for those who have followed us in these last few events have never heard us complain about power/tuning/motor related issues and quite simply put that's because there has been none. The guys over at Crawford have yet to let us down, from the very first conversation of what our goals were to fulfilling our needs on every level. Hats go off to the crew over at Crawford Performance for supplying us with this competitive setup and not letting us down on reliability of it as well. The wheeldude crew deserves credit for getting us our wheels in a timely manner and continuing to support a shop like LIC Motorsports. As for Deatschwerks, these guys provide the best fuel injectors anyone could ask for...which are downright consistently consistent.
The event was one that will forever live in our memories, as of this moment, at this point in time the LIC Motorsports time attack STi is honored to take the 1st place win this weekend and in addition is now tthe 2nd fastest Subaru ever at Willow Springs
LIC Motorsports Sponsors:
Rally Sport Direct
Hectors Chop Shop
LIC Time Attack STi Specs
Model: 2004 STi
Weight: 2900 lbs. (Dry), 3185 (loaded w/ fuel and driver)
Motor: Crawford Performance 2.5L S3L-IR (assembly by LIC)
Turbo Kit: Crawford Performance GT35R w/ BIG FMIC
Fuel Supply: Crawford Performance Surge/AOS Tank, Fuel Rails
Tuning: Crawford Performance (ECUtek Reflash)
Injectors: Deatschwerks Top Feed 1200cc (custom)
Drivetrain: ACT Clutch, Cusco LSD's (Front/Rear)
Brakes: Front Alcon 6 Piston 340mm BBK, Rear Brembo (stock)
Exterior: APR GT300 Wing, LIC Custom Fender Flares, Splitter, and Canards
Wheels: Wheeldude.com Rota DPT 18x10 e35 (5x100/5x114.3)
Tires: Toyo Proxes R888 285/30ZR18
See video of our event here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALviNVvWA7g
Most Articles are written by Noah Levy.