Here at Enginetuner HQ we have seen a spike in the number of “VA chassis” cars through our doors for various degrees of work, ranging from servicing to suspension upgrades to full-blown, big power engine builds. In the case of the lovely car you see here, it was definitely the latter. This is Dan’s VA Impreza STi, or “Scoob DJ” as it is affectionately known at our workshop.
The VA chassis is sometimes overlooked in favour of earlier Impreza platforms such as the ‘classic’ (GC8) or ‘Newage’ (GD) models. That’s a shame because it’s a very competent car in its own right. So why did Dan choose a VA? Dan especially likes the refinement which is a big step up compared to previous models. Having had four Impreza STi RAs and a 500bhp UK2000, Dan has certainly more than dipped his toe in the Impreza world. He also owned an 800bhp R32 GTR which he used to race in the HKS Drag Series at Santa Pod.
The R32 GTR had to go despite 800 reasons to keep it – a couple of little humans starting to outgrow it. Dan needed a car that his kids could fit in but which could still go drag racing and was easy on the eye so he could take to car shows. Originally purchased as a bone stock car, in a short period of time Dan went to 400BHP thanks to an uprated turbo and front mounted intercooler.
With a love of drag racing and the GTR gone, Dan was keen to test himself against the clock and booked in at Santa Pod. He ran a 12.4 quarter mile, the bug took hold again and living only 10 mins from the ‘Pod, things were always going to escalate. Dan felt the need for speed and after some research he concluded “there was the only one place to go, Enginetuner. There was nowhere else”. Thanks, Dan!
With the car at Enginetuner HQ, we removed the engine and fully assessed the condition. It was apparent the big ends were starting to wear out and piston three was displaying signs of water ingress. A plan was discussed, and our engineers were issued with instructions to do what they do best – transform a quick car into a very quick car!
Dan’s car retains the 2.5L block which has now been upgraded with a deck plate and sleeved for extra strength at high horsepower. We selected Mahle 2618 pistons, Manley Tuff rods, ARP rod bolts, ACL bearings and a nitride crank. Given the power goal for the engine, it also now features 14mm head studs, RCM Stopper head gaskets and an uprated 11mm oil pump. The cylinder heads have been thoroughly re-worked and now include Brian Crower Stage 2 cams with Supertech valvetrain components. To provide the fuel we installed a set of 1300cc injectors, a Radium twin pump in-tank hanger and a flex fuel sensor to add in some Methanol. The current turbo of choice is a Precision 5530 turbo. Keeping control of it all is the highly advanced Emtron ECU, as used in our very own demo car, ET2.
With a bespoke ‘running-in’ map loaded in, Enginetuner began to run the engine in on behalf of Dan and after a couple of oil changes it hit the dyno. With Martyn working his magic, Dan’s STi now proudly sits in the 500 Power Club with 520BHP and 540LBFT torque on pump fuel, whilst meth yielded 560BHP and 600LBFT of torque.
As we complete the handover to Dan, he tells us with a beaming smile, “I have just bought a Precision 6262 turbo with Tial external wastegate and rotated pipework”. Dan has a goal of a full interior 10 second car so we’ll be seeing him soon to get that little lot, installed and set up! Does the 700+ Power Club beckon?!
If you are inspired by Dan’s build and want to know how we can help you go faster, do not hesitate to get in touch!
Similarly, if you’re looking for your very own VA, check out the gorgeous white STi currently in stock with ET Classifieds.
From fast road cars to track and drag cars, Enginetuner – Performance engineering at its finest!