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Discussion Starter #1
STi on the fly...
"The Nuclear Blueberry" or, one "seriously fast bowl of rice".

Life with STi after 5 months of play:

The Stock Tires are simply disappointing. They aren't good at anything but looking good. Noisy and harsh on the road... Easily overheated and under-capable when pushed hard. The big flat tread blocks that look so track-worthy chunked-out at Summit Point WV and the car understeered like a station wagon. The ride is many times more harsh than that of a standard WRX. The dense seat foam takes the pounding ride and amplifies it. Stock tires are unacceptably noisy, period.

For as aggressive feeling as the car is, the suspension seems like it could be better on track. Rather smallish sway bars allow for a great deal of leaning body motion. I mean it REALLY leans (even after changing to more aggressive springs). If you are going to track it much, sway bars will eventually be required to get the most out of the car and the tires.

You just have to accept that the car is harsh... in exchange for the level of performance, which is considerable. More on that below.

Torque! Oh, did I mention the torque?
Holy-s!$% (like V8) torque awaits in every gear. Just try to get more than 16 MPG in the car under normal conditions...
You can't keep your foot out of it. The acceleration is just too rewarding. Gear box and shifter are joys to work. Transmission shifts easily without clutch if you match the revs with skill.

To haul this missile back down, the Brembo brakes are great. Stock pads are Brembo units that are pretty darn effective, but wear quickly in on-track use. After a total of 2 track events, I bought a set of replacement stock pads... Ouch. Over 320.00 for the fronts and about 315.00 for the rears.

Why the heck did I get the OE replacement brake pads at that price? Well, no other manufacturer except those ass-clowns who make redstuff and greenstuff have pads that fit the car (as of one month ago). Mitsubishi Evo VIII Pads are different thickness, but same backing plate. Don't know about the Nissan 350Z "Track" model's Brembos. Another good reason to stick with the stock pads are the EXPENSIVE and Lightweight BBS 17"x7.5" Forged Wheels (17 lbs each!) have a finish that I do not want to expose to nasty Track-oriented brake pads such as Hawk or more aggressive Porterfields. The stock pads yield only an easy to clean and non-corrosive dust that doesn't hurt the wheels. The BBS wheels are well over 700.00 a piece to replace. Yikes.

Early on I started to sour on the car based on the stock Tires and the first track experience... But with 4 decent tires and a set of Subaru's more aggressive "Spec C" springs, it is a whole different ball game as a track capable toy/commuter. For the second track event, I wanted to try the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires in the stock 225/45/17, in combination with the above springs. The PINK STI Spec C spring lower the car about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch, making the ride height look a bit more aggressive. Believe it or not, the Michelin Track tires have more compliant (and therefore comfortable) sidewalls than the iron Bridgestones. The Michelins are designed to be a street legal tire that can be driven to and from the race track, as well as ON it.

With this combo, I took the car to Pocono North course with Delaware Valley BMW CCA. I ran the instructor group in the wet on Saturday and the dry on Sunday. Heh heh. The car redeemed itself significantly. Pilot Sport Cups are NOT known for being rain tires. Compound is effective, but minimal tread depth means standing water is a problem.

Wet or dry, only ONE competition-engined 95 M3 Lightweight passed me on the entire weekend. 911 RS America, several 2.5L E30 M3s, other E36 M3 Instructor cars, and everyone else in instructors group got BLOWN OFF by "the Blueberry". I really did learn to drive it in the wet, and then the dry. The car is hyper-capable. My friend Jeff in the fast 911 said "just wait for the dry, and then we'll see". He was right, I blew him off in the dry on the second lap of the morning session, badly.

My only real competition was my pal Mark Whorton (from Car Guys days), who arrived in his modified Firebird Formula. I've never out run him before, but the Subaru walked clear away after he finally let me by on the NASCAR bowl on the North Course.

DCCD in manual (to 65% rear) allows one to powerslide the rear, throttle-steer, and act like a total rear-wheel drive hooligan. Sideways? Straighten the wheel a bit, accelerate harder, and wait for the car come back into shape! Hilarious. It CAN NOT be done on the street. You have to push the car TOO HARD to get it to break away. This aggression on public roads will not be acceptable.

She uses about 1/3 to 1/2 a tank of fuel for every run session at a track event! On right hand bends, don't let the gauge get much below 1/2, or you will lose the fuel pickup in the tank. It shut down at 115 MPH in 5th gear once when this happened! It restarted in some sort of limp mode where dash lights were flashing like we fried its brain... Only disconnecting the battery was required to get the car to return to running normally after that. It was smart to shut it down when it sensed NO FUEL. Could have been bad if the car wasn't so smart.

For what it is, The STi is expensive, fast and harsh.

They aren't selling as quickly now because the are slightly out of reach to the target audience and the initial hub-bub is mellowing. Through the grapevine, other (older) owners who wanted the speed have sold 'em because they are too rude for the daily commute. By contrast, rear seat padding is normal stuff from a WRX, so even mothers in law think that the car is normal from the back seat.

If using it in the winter, you're going to need a set of some decent A/S tires at minimum.

I've chosen to remain with (expensive) Michelins in the form of 225/45/17 Pilot Sport A/S tires that don't hurt the dry road performance. In fact, they are quite nice, and on this car, probably gives up very little to other high performance street tires. To date, The TireRack hasn't been able to find more than one set of (ugly) wheels that fit over the big front Brembos. The aftermarket is lagging behind on this.


Ultimately worth the hassle in the right hands, if you are going to drive it aggressively. Innocent bystanders can't understand why you would put up with such a rascal of an automobile, with such a bold and overstated styling package. Every kid from her to Bayonne wants to race or chat with you about it... You'll find renewed popularity with dumb young punks in cars with FARTCANS.

On the "winter-ready" tires, the car is reasonably compliant. I've got some boom-boom in the trunk, and I'm cozying in for the long haul. The vibrating hood and rear wing will continue to remind me that this is no BMW. The practicality is nice and meaningful. Can't wait for winter now that I have tires with useful tread... It should be a blast to play Petter Solberg in the snow.

Hope this helps...


1,035 Posts
LOL, it reminds me of our writing in some places :D

I wonder if you'll be at VIR with the "Blueberry" in December?

The only part that I will disagree with you is the Porterfields. They are certainly more agressive than stock pads, but will have less dust; at least with the R4S. But then again, I suspect you are talking about Hawk Blue and R4 pads.

I also wonder if your previous track car was a BMW. The in-between-the-lines impressions I have, says it was; but I might be wrong. Any how, have you pushed the car in DCCD-Auto? If you have would you please give some of your impressions on that as well?

I enjoyed reading your comments, thank you :)

53 Posts
Door dings here yesterday....gone today

Wow, thanks for the open and honest commentary - that's what I wanted to read.

Do keep us posted on any other events you attend... I too, am curious your thoughts on DCCD Auto or manual when pushed hard (no pun intended!) ;)

I'm taking my 04 STi to my first autocross tomorrow - otherwise, it is my daily driver, giving up a 2003 Avalanche! hehe I do have another autocross car, but I could find no other car that could match my autocross car (as in fill in as a substitute) other than an out of the box STi with a warranty (in that price range)...

wie geht es ihnen?
2,218 Posts
hey! now the pics are showing....i didn't know they resurfaced some of the in field road corse at Pocono?

i did South course in August with my S4...and it was all black macadam. maybe that's North Course? what course and turn is that?

last i did North Course was May and there was no repairs/concrete.


or they took the Winston Cup sign down because of the pending change in Nascar? below is me on North Course at the last left hander before pit-in.


154 Posts
Great write up. I'm thinking of picing up a STi and your post was very helpful. Thanks for sharing. Also, great pics...even yours TRM. :wink: Any thoughts on your friend Whorton's formula as a track car?
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