Project Northstar 2015 Subaru WRX – Hanson Driving School, Race Gas & Killer B Top Mount

Every year I make an effort to get out to at least one Hanson Advanced Driving School in order to brush up on my skills and learn some new stuff.  The event Last year I was signed off by Peter Hanson the operator and lead instructor of the school which meant an instructor was not required for me on track.  This meant most of the learning would be done on my own on track as well as taking some of the advanced techniques taught to the advanced group in the classroom.

The weather was beautiful for the school and the most amazing thing was that there was around 30 Subaru’s at the school which was a record for them and I believe was 50% of the total attendees.  It was great to see so many old and new faces at the track and from talking to the new people they were already thinking of signing up for the next date.  It was great to watch many of the cars we’ve worked on at the shop lapping around the track and seeing the competitiveness come out of some people as well.

I was able to do a few laps with Peter in the car which is great for me as he is able to give me feedback on where i’m doing well and where I can improve.  He was blown away by the cars grip and gave me a few compliments on my driving which is always appreciated from a respected driver like him.   Overall it was a great day with good company and I am pleased to see so many taking the plunge and enjoying their cars in a safe and well instructed enviroment.
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I had decided that I wanted to upgrade the stock top mount intercooler to try and keep the intake manifold temps down while on track so that heat soak didn’t play as much of a roll in lap times and performance.  For this I turned to our friends over at Killer B Motorsports to get their upgraded top mount intercooler.  Initially I just for the intercooler and mated it up with the stock charge pipe but ran into issues with them staying together.  Because the OEM charge pipe is hard plastic with a rubber insert it would not clamp onto the tapered design of the Killer B Top Mount inlet.  This meant it would pop off under boost so we rang up Killer B and had them send up their charge pipe which is a beautiful 1 piece mandrel bent pipe.  Installation was reasonably straight forward and it definitely looks nicer then the factory plastic pipe.  After installation I noticed that intake manifold temps would drop faster while driving and also would not shoot up as high as they would with the stock TMIC where I was seeing upwards of 160+ F at times.

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We had OnPoint Dyno do a quick check-up tune on the car to see how it was running and if we could make anymore power.  It essentially made the same power at 279WHP so we didn’t gain anything but it also didn’t lose anything which was surprising with all of the hard driving it’s seen.  For shits and giggles we called up Shellbourne Fuels to get some 110 octane unleaded Race fuel to run in the car.  Unfortunately we weren’t able to completely drain the gas tank so we probably had a 50/50 mix of 94 octane and race gas.  Even so we were able to make an additional 30WHP over the straight pump gas which is pretty impressive for a stock turbo car on 50/50 mix.  In the end I decided not to run the race gas for track events simply due to the cost being $5-6/L.  I think a turbo upgrade or maybe a good ethanol based race gas would be cheaper and have similar results.

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Thanks to these companies that are helping with this Project
COBB Tuning – COBB AccessPORT and COBB Cat-Back
Mad Graphics – Full Vehicle Vinyl Wrap and Side Graphics
Grimmspeed – License Plate Relocation Kit, Lightweight Crank Pulley
Turn In Concepts – Shifter Bearing and TGV Deletes
Killer B Motorsports – J-Pipe, Top Mount Aftercooler, Charge Pipe
OnPoint Dyno – Dyno Tuning and Testing
Uni-Body Collision – Paint Work (Emblems, Lip, Trunk Spoiler)
StopTech – Front & Rear Big Brake Kits
IAG Performance – Street Air/Oil Separator
Kartboy – Short Shifter Arm
Stripping Technology – Powder Coating Wheels
Turn 14 Distribution – Front & Rear Big Brake Kits
Whiteline Performance – 22mm Rear Swaybar

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