“Prize Fighter” from Grassroots Motorsports

by Scott Lear From the April 2010 issue

When it comes to our no-holds-barred Ultimate Track Car Challenge, the more cylinders, the better. Out of the 55 track-prepared beasts that entered the most recent competition, the top five finishers all had big V8 power. The next two spots went to six-cylinder racers—one with a turbo, the other with lots of revs and an exceedingly low curb weight. Squarely in eighth place overall, however, was a comparatively diminutive 2.5-liter four-banger.

The boxer engine in the nose of Phil Grabow’s 2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STI had less than a third of the displacement of some of the other cars. However, that didn’t prevent the Subaru from running at the sharp end of the pack with a 2:00.197 fast lap around Virginia International Raceway. A big turbo certainly helped, but power isn’t the only answer in the search for a quick time on track. In fact, due to heat issues, Phil’s Subaru was running in limp mode when it beat every other four-cylinder turbo at the event—as well as two Dodge Vipers and a full-race Ferrari F430 Challenge.

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