TRUE GRIP ONCE IN A BLUE MOON
A WET AND WINDY BRANDS HATCH
We catch up with Vimmy and his classic WRX wagon that has already chalked up enough miles to reach the dark side of the moon.
A report from a rather wet, and rather windy Brands Hatch during Modified Live/Time Attack.
BOLT OUT OF THE BLUE
BEN SHIMMIN We catch up with Pro-R Time Attack driver Ben Shimmin halfway through his rookie season. TIME ATTACK 2012
ONCE IN A BLUE MOON...
FEATURES ONCE IN A BLUE MOON
TIME ATTACK INTERVIEW: BEN SHIMMIN
MODIFIED LIVE BRANDS HATCH
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SCOTT ROBSON TIME ATTACK REPORT
PRE LOADING EDITOR, TRUE GRIP
True Grip is the official magazine of the Subaru International Drivers Club
CONTENT 3 Editor’s Intro 4R egional Organisers 5 C hairwoman’s Intro 6 Latest News 10 V F-Racing Update 12 F EATURE: Once in a blue moon 20 F EATURE: Ben Shimmin 24 M odified Live report 28 T ime Attack: Scott Robson 32 N otes from the Old Fosse Way 34 1 st Lincon meet 37 E VENTS: Nationwide 2012 Events
It’s not often we feature classics in True Grip and when we do, they’ve tended to be very much track-focussed - it’s never been a conscious choice, just the way it seems to have come together. One of those odd quirks of fate I guess. Well, by way of recompense, we’ve something a little special as our cover article this issue - a classic WRX wagon belonging to club member Vimmy that stands as a true testament to the long-fabled reliability of the mighty flat four. A car that despite being far from standard, and essentially having been modified on a driveway, just refuses to let go. Quite the opposite in fact; other than the need for regular maintenance [which is true of any car, regardless of mileage], this car drives and handles like it’s done 50k, let alone over 250k! Enough, should you wish, to drive to the moon - the dark side no less [which is infinitely more badass than the boring bit we see every night!] Besides, who out of you all can genuinely put hand on heart and swear that they haven’t considered quite how awesome it would be to tear up the surface of the moon!?! Fantasy aside, Vimmy’s classic is likely as close as any of us will get, and to be fair, it’s a mighty fine compromise. Anyway, according to some old bloke called Waters who knows a lot about The Dark Side of the Moon “There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it’s all dark.” Apparently there’s some other stuff in this issue as well but I’ll leave you to discover that... Lastly, don’t forget you can buy True Grip in print through HP’s MagCloud at www.magcloud.com/user/truegrip
Stu Mason Editor, True Grip
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True Grip is the official magazine of the Subaru International Drivers Club Cover Image: Stu Mason Editor: Stu Mason (stum450n) Deputy Editor: Rachel Keir (little vodka goblin)
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All contributions, whether they bear the names, initials or pseudonyms, are accepted on the understanding that the Author is responsible for the opinions expressed and that they do not necessarily reflect or comply with those of the publisher or editor. Although every care is taken, the publisher, designer and editor cannot be held responsible for loss or damage to material submitted. Whilst every care is taken to ensure contents are accurate, the publisher and editor assume no responsibility for any effects arising from errors or omissions. Acceptance of material is not a guarantee of publication in any particular issue, since space is often at a premium. The publisher and editor cannot guarantee to return original material and photographs. © SIDC 2012
PACE NOTES SIDC CHAIRWOMAN
Wow, what a hectic three months it’s been since the last issue of True Grip, so much has been planned behind the scenes for you all. So let me give you a quick update on our news... So we’re already over half way through 2012 and so much has already happened. Since our last issue, the club has attended three national shows, finalised and taken delivery of the new club show equipment (which can be see in the Brands Hatch Modified Live article further in this issue), the bidding has begun on our charity fund raising auction (with proceeds going to East Anglian/Hertfordshire Air Ambulance, Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Foundation and our own Scottish Santa Cruise) and we’ve taken the first steps towards our new website - nothing to show for the moment, unless of course you’re a particular fan of spreadsheets and databases, but an exciting step in the right direction I’m sure you would agree! Whilst this issue looks back at the shows of the ‘Summer’ so far, we’re eagerly preparing for what is looking to be our most well attended show of the year
- Rally Day at Castle Combe. With members travelling down from Scotland and up from Cornwall, it’s certainly looking likely that not only will we have enough bacon rolls and muffins to feed an army, but also one of every Impreza model throughout the years which will certainly make for a fantastic display - not only on or stand, but also when we take to the track during our dedicated track session! We also have a small number of tickets available for Trax at Silverstone if you would like to attend but haven’t ordered so far - don’t hang about though, ticket sales close on 12th August. Happy motoring everyone!
Kim French Club Chairwoman
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NEWS HOTLY-ANTICIPATED SUBARU BRZ DELIVERED TO FIRST UK CUSTOMER
The eagerly-awaited Subaru BRZ sports car has been delivered to its first customer. Ed Horner, from Wanstead, north-east London, was handed the keys to his all-new Subaru BRZ – ordered in the brand’s iconic World Rally Blue Mica – by his local dealer, Woodford Motor Company in Woodford Green, Essex, on Tuesday 26 June. Mr Horner said: “I was drawn to the BRZ by its light weight, traditional sports car shape and Subaru’s focus on creating an enjoyable rear-wheel drive car. The first time I saw it, I knew I had to have one. “I’ve owned a number of Subaru models in the past, including an Impreza Turbo, and I’ve never had anything go wrong with any of them. The Woodford Motor
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Company was really helpful, as ever, so I really didn’t have to think for long about buying one.” Stephen Barnard, Dealer Principal at Woodford Motor Co, commented: “Interest in the BRZ ahead of its onsale date has been phenomenal, both from Subaru and non-Subaru owners. Mr Horner bought a Legacy Tourer from us in 2010, and we’re over the moon that he has chosen to add to his Subaru collection with the brand’s latest model. The rear-wheel drive BRZ is the perfect complement to the rest of Subaru’s All-Wheel Drive model range, and as such we’re getting to meet a new type of customer, one who appreciates pure handling and rear-wheel drive responsiveness above all else,” added Mr Barnard.
COMPETITIVE INSURANCE RATINGS ANNOUNCED FOR SUBARU BRZ Subaru has today announced the insurance groups for its new BRZ sports car range. The BRZ SE will have a group 30 insurance rating, with SE Lux models in group 31. These ratings are lower than those of a number of competitors in the sportscar class, including the Audi TT 2.0T FSI (group 34) and Volkswagen Scirocco R (group 34). Contributing to the BRZ’s competitive insurance costs are a strong crash safety performance – a result of the extensive use of high-tensile steel and rigid body structure – and a high level of standard safety and security equipment. This includes the latest incarnation of Subaru’s advanced Vehicle Dynamics Control for improved road holding, and front, side, curtain and knee airbags. To find out more about the all-new Subaru BRZ and other models in the Subaru range, visit www.subaru.co.uk
MANGOLETSI DEALERSHIP WELCOMES SUBARU TO THE FAMILY Following a £1million investment to create a stateof-the-art showroom, long-established Cheshire car dealership, Mangoletsi, is teaming up with Japanese car maker Subaru. Mangoletsi will stock the entire Subaru model range, including the BRZ sports car and the new XV compact crossover, while promising customers an extensive, high-quality aftersales service. Mangoletsi’s dealership on London Road near Knutsford has sold and serviced new and used cars in the region for 48 years and currently employs over 50 members of staff. Now stocking the full range of All-Wheel Drive Subaru models, Mangoletsi also remains the UK’s largest and longest established Alfa Romeo dealership.
Fraser Hudson, Dealer Principal at Mangoletsi Subaru, said: “We believe that the Subaru brand delivers the individuality that our customers require. Mangoletsi is a perfect fit for Subaru, with the added bonus of being situated in close proximity to prime territory for AllWheel Drive vehicles, and we’re confident that buyers in the region will find real value in the robust and reliable models in the Subaru range.” TRUE GRIP 7
TWO-YEAR 0% FINANCE AVAILABLE ACROSS SUBARU’S RANGE Subaru UK has today announced a new range of ultra-competitive finance offers, with many of the manufacturer’s All-Wheel Drive models now available with two years’ interest-free credit. Available on all base-specification models across the Subaru range (excluding the BRZ) the zero-interest offer gives buyers another incentive to purchase a new model from the Japanese brand. The new fivestar Euro NCAP safety rated Subaru XV is included in the offer, making it even easier for motorists to get themselves into one of the safest and most capable all-terrain compact crossovers available.
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The new finance deal is designed to appeal to Subaru’s ‘heartland’ buyers, those living in rural and semi-rural areas who need practical and reliable motoring at an affordable price, as well as the assurance of permanent All-Wheel Drive and dealer service for which the Subaru network is renowned. Customers taking up the zero per cent offer must provide an initial 50% deposit and pay the remaining 50% at the end of the two-year term. Existing tradein’s can also be used as part-payment of the deposit against a new model.
Higher spec models qualify for interest-free credit over one year, while low-rate finance – at just 3.9% APR – is now available for Personal Contract Purchase buyers with smaller deposits. The announcement of the new finance offer also coincides with the availability of 24-hour test drives for on all versions of the popular Legacy and Outback models, with the insurance covered by Subaru UK.
As part of the ETCo package, Subaru also provides an accident management service and a contribution to insurance cover excess. ETCo is offered in addition to Subaru’s three-year / 60,000-mile manufacturer warranty and new finance offers. To find out more about the ultra-competitive finance offers on Subaru’s range of All-Wheel Drive models, visit www.subaru.co.uk.
Darren James, Subaru UK Managing Director explained: “Allowing prospects to take the car away for 24 hours is to allow them to really get under the skin of our cars, and to give them the opportunity of living with the vehicle throughout a typical day. With the 24-hour test drive combined with the new finance offers available, we hope to be able to encourage more people to give Subaru a long hard look.” All new Subaru models benefit from Subaru’s unique Everything Taken Care of (ETCo) aftercare package, the most comprehensive in the UK. At no additional cost, ETCo is worth over £700 and covers items such as minor dent and scratch repairs, alloy wheel repairs, monthly wash, annual valet, lost keys replacement, service collection and delivery, annual wheel alignment check, first MOT cover, and winter wheel and tyre storage. TRUE GRIP 9
ROCKINGHAM 30TH/1ST JULY - EURO SALOONS CHAMPIONSHIP
For rounds 7 & 8, the BRSCC Euro Saloons Championship rolled into the purpose built arena of Rockingham Speedway in Northamptonshire.
As a result, the team were unable to improve on their times and dropped down the standings to start in 9th place, 3rd in class.
Based around an oval layout more familiar to the racers in the American NASCAR series, when linked to the technical infield section it provides a very different experience.
With a team effort to trace and fix the issue, it was fingers crossed when the call to race was announced.
Sitting 3rd place in class going into the event, it was hoped that the Chesterfield based team of “VF-Racing” would be able to climb the overall leader board at the wheel of the “Scoobyclinic” prepared Subaru Impreza. Running in an anti-clockwise direction sets Rockingham apart from all other circuits in the UK, which requires a different car set up to compensate. Qualifying began well, with lap times declining, however the session ended prematurely when the car began to lose power as a result of high coolant temperature.
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After the green flag lap to take the competitors around the circuit ready for the rolling start, everyone got clean away. Quickly picking off the slower cars, Vaughan began his attack in an attempt to claw back as many of the places possible that he lost through qualifying. Unfortunately the same issue encountered in qualifying reared its ugly head again, forcing a retirement and to limit any possible damage. It’s hoped that we will next be out at Mallory Park on the 29th July for the televised “Autoglym” Classic Touring Car Racing Club “Classic Thunder” championship.
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ONCE IN A BLUE MOON... WE TAKE A LOOK AT VIMMY’S CLASSIC WRX WAGON THAT EVEN AFTER RACKING UP ENOUGH MILES TO GET IT TO THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, IS STILL GOING STRONG!
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A BRIEF HISTORY
I bought the car in 2006 after my previous cars either blew up, rusted or fell apart so spending the best part of 6 grand on an eight year old car seemed like a worthwhile investment and hopefully mean it would the car would last far longer than a year that my previous disposable vehicles had done. I was actually on my way to buy a Porsche 944 S2 that day until the good lady wife realised it was a two plus two, when on the way we passed a garage with a blue Impreza Wagon outside, ten minutes later I was the proud owner of an absolutely standard car with a mere 94,000 on the clock. Even though the car was high mileage, all of my other disposable cars were the same, so mileage was never an issue. The car had a full Subaru service history, serviced in Swindon and Cirencester and had lived in the local area. The car was planned as a daily runner to get me to and from Swindon every day, a
60 mile round trip depending on the route. Iâ€™m very pleased to say that the car still is my daily runner, much to the worry of the wife and bank accountâ€Ś.. With the purchase of the car then came the research and forum foraging for info on how to keep the car going and looking for common faults and their diagnosis. However this then led to the talk of upgrades and modifications on the forums which opened up a whole new avenue of research and also a hole in my wallet. The car was completely standard, with a mere 208bhp, and had been very well serviced so it was down to wear and tear where the problems or upgrade paths, depending on how you view them, would show themselves. With the car doing around 250 to 300 miles a week these wear and tear items would show up quicker when compared to a car that is used a weekend toy. MORE TRUE GRIP 13
PRO-R’S GREAT NEW HOPE...
WE CATCH UP WITH PRO-R TIME ATTACK DRIVER BEN SHIMMIN HALFWAY THROUGH HIS ROOKIE SEASON.
Many of you will no doubt recognise the striking Pro-R branded WRX STi hatch [lovingly named Shirley] prepared by Subaru dealer Cross Roads Garage and TDRacing - most from the current Time Attack series, whilst some may remember that we featured her 18 months ago as dealer principle Jon Mathers was embarking on their 2011 Time Attack season.
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For the 2012 season though, there’s been a few changes. After a refresh over the winter, complete with a striking new orange and white colour scheme, the baton has been passed to
rookie driver Ben Shimmin. The Subaru General Manager from Cross Roads has since had all eyes on him to see if he could repeat the same level of success as Jon Mathers who piloted Shirley to outright victory in the Club AWD Class during the 2011 season... Considering that before this season, Ben hadn’t raced competitively before, things are already looking extremely good for the team - Ben finished his inaugural round at Cadwell Park with a string of fastest times and a podium finish.
This was followed by a further podium finish at Knockhill in Scotland as Ben took a hardfought second place in the Club AWD class - despite the typically Scottish weather! Ahead of the third round at Brands Hatch, the Cross Roads team had been working for two days straight and long into the night before the event in order to prepare an all-new engine. Coupled with the efforts of TDRacing saw the car delivered to the circuit with just a few hours before the first session. Despite the untested engine, and with no time for testing or tweaks to the car’s setup, Ben was absolutely flying and finished with a nonetoo-shabby 4th place overall an exceptional start to a rookie season I’m sure you’ll agree! MORE TRUE GRIP 15
A WET AND WINDY
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After a trip down to the Essex/ Kent border on the Saturday that consisted mainly of sitting in traffic on the M25, exposed to some of the most biblical rain I have seen, it was a welcome relief to meet with other members at our hotel early on Sunday morning to find the sun trying to break through. The 15 minute drive down to Brands soon revealed that the weather had no intention of playing ball and as we pulled up to the gates to meet Bailey 73 and Bakerzone (who had driven down that morning) it was clear that the rain of the day before was certainly trying its best to make its presence known... wet and soggy doesnâ€™t come close! We set about getting the gazeebo erected in record time - dodging
puddles and the mud as we worked - fortunately the gazeebo was up by the time the heavens opened once again! The rain, however hard it tried, did little to dampen spirits and even whist taking shelter under the gazeebo, thanks to the unique layout of Brands, we were still able to get a decent view of the track. There was a huge amount of action happening
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throughout the whole day, starting with the European Drift Championship followed by the Time Attack series. In addition, both the Civic Cup and Pickup Truck Racing Series provided a huge amount of entertainment for the crowds – with all the cars nearly identical in spec, the only thing separating these competitors is driver ability. Throw in a now ‘slightly damp’ track and you’ve got some seriously fun racing to watch! Luckily for all the 30+ clubs attending, by mid afternoon the sun was out and the track had dried, bringing relief to everyoneespecially those who have been busy cleaning their show cars only to have the rain undo their efforts.
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With the break in the weather, it was opportunity to have a good look around the varied collection of cars on display - from big power Skylines, to twin-charged Fiesta sheds older than me! The variety was fantastic and there was certainly something there for everyone. The weather holding out gave us opporunity to hang about until the very end of the day and really make the most of how close the Time Attack Series allows you to get to the action and with cars on the track until beyond 6pm, we certainly did just that! We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone for attending Modified Live with the club regardless of the weather - despite the downpours, the stand and atmosphere were second to none! Thank you all.
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NOTES FROM THE OLD FOSSE WAY...
MUSING ON LIFE AND ALL THINGS SUBARU FROM THOSE IN THE KNOW It all started with a telephone call from Subaru Headquarters, informing us that our demonstrator BRZ was destined for delivery today -the anticipation - the waiting was finally over! We have been fortunate enough here at Cross Roads Garage to have a sneak preview of the BRZ and run a preview day back on the 22nd April, but we were under strict instructions to not drive the car on the road, so up until the arrival of our demonstrator we were as much in the dark as anyone with regard to what this highly acclaimed car would actually be like to drive! As you may know, this is Subaruâ€™s first offering as a joint venture with Toyota, there are some
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differences between the BRZ and the GT86, although these in the main seem to be suspension (the Subaru is said to have firmer damping) one of two texture differences for the dashboard panels, and one or two very minor exterior styling changes. The one thing we do have hugely in our favour is the BRZ is of course available in WR Blue, which to my eyes looks absolutely stunning on this shape, and is arguably one of the better colours for the car. With the press praising the car and with such great reviews to its name, the car had a lot to live up
to in terms of delivering the goods, so is it actually any good? Firstly the styling, in the flesh this really is a great looking car, the front end particularly is in my opinion stunning, the back end styling has much sharper lines, some have remarked that it looks a little heavy around the rear three quarter angle, but this seems quite colour dependant. Tall drivers will have no issue in getting comfortable, these seats are superb with excellent lateral support and more length to the seat cushion than some Subaru drivers will be currently used to. Now, the driving bitâ€Ś with 200PS and 151Ibft of torque you could be forgiven for feeling a
little underwhelmed compared to the power and torque figures for a WRX let alone an STi, however there is the small matter of weight advantage in the BRZs favour to consider, and I can definitely confirm the engine in the BRZ feels more flexible than the torque figures suggest, yes you have to press on and explore more of the rev range to extract the best the engine has to offer, but the gearing is superbly matched to the engine, it’s not a short geared buzz box that will drive you mad on long journeys, but it’s
short enough in the intermediate ratios to not leave you out of the torque band during play time. There’s the noise too. Admirably well suppressed at low engine speeds, and at low throttle input, there is a device under the bonnet called a ‘Sound creator’ this device basically enhances induction noise and channels it into the cabin, the extra volume it produces is between 200 & 600 hertz, and it masks the typical flat four burble that precedes it in the rev range. Below 2,600 RPM, a typically ‘normally aspirated Subaru’ flat four burble is present. To engage the noise you need to hit a point in the throttle pedal travel and be over 2,600RPM, so for very sensible driving it is possible to not have the noise at all….but you probably willall the time. The handling and the gear change however, are the cars real strong points in my book. The 6 speed
gearbox has a genuinely fantastic feel, with a firm but very precise feel to it. Considering the modest levels of torque on offer, over steer isn’t far away if you choose to indulge, in fact it is far more playful than say a Honda S2000, but unless you try, the stability and grip levels are superb. It’s not typically a Subaru in feel, but then again, it’s not a typical Subaru. Waiting lists lie ahead for those wishing to place an order, but for £24,995 for the manual SE to £27,995 for the Lux Pack Auto, this car does seem to be a bit of a bargain compared to its competitors. Our demonstrator is here, ready and waiting, if you’re interested why not get in touch with us at Cross Roads Garage, I think you’ll be impressed! Or, if you’re interested in placing an order please get in touch with our sales team for more information.
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SIDC 2012 EVENTS CALENDAR ENGLISH EVENTS Rally Day, Castle Combe Trax Shows, Silverstone Modified Live, Snetterton
Sat 18 August Sun 2 September Sun 23 September
SCOTTISH EVENTS British Touring Cars, Knockhill Wheels and Wings Show, Museum of Flight British Drifting Championships, Knockhill Streetcar Scotland, Knockhill
Sat 25 – Sun 26 August Sun 23 September Sat 29 – Sun 30 Sept Sat 21 October
NATIONAL EVENTS & TRACKDAYS Autumn SIDC Track Day, Knockhill
Saturday 15 September
For full details please check in the Track Days and National Events section on the forum at
SIDC & MLR TRACKDAYS All our trackdays feature open pit lane, free professional tuition, 105dBA noise limits, restricted number of places available, Protyre tyre support at each round, trackside photography from Xtreme Sports Photography and info pack prior to each trackday for those drivers booked in.
The calendar is as follows: Friday 10th August Anglesey - GP circuit £169 member/£189 non member Friday 21st September Snetterton - 300 circuit £169 member/£189 non member Friday 16th November Oulton Park - International circuit £129 member/£149 non member (Cadwell, Angelsey and Snetterton all precede Time Attack)
Additional costs are: Garages (Brands, Anglesey, Snetterton, Oulton) - £10 per car Additional Drivers: £35 each Passengers: £10 each Helmet hire: £10 each
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American TRUE GRIP 24
Published on Aug 3, 2012
We catch up with Vimmy and his classic WRX wagon that has already chalked up enough miles to reach the dark side of the moon, we have a repo...