Woodyhfd HalfDork
Aug. 10, 2008 8:34 p.m.

I'm thinking about going from a Miata as my track day car to a WRX.

I haven't followed the Subaru world too closely and I don't really know what the preferred setup is. There's so much Miata info out there that they're a lot easier to set up. With the Subaru, you have to filter through the tuners, the rallycrossers, and the "low-for-show" guys.

Can anyone who has put one on the track suggest some upgrades? I'm not looking for more power, just suspension and durability stuff.

MCarp22 New Reader
Aug. 10, 2008 9:44 p.m.

Local guy tracks his stock on falkens and hawks and does ok in the advanced group.

For handling, it depends on how far you want to go. If it was my car, i'd consider the following stuff based on my experience with the legacy:

With struts up front i'd want a bigger swaybar, but nothing crazy huge. Maybe an STi takeoff or a whiteline.

For struts, i'm really happy with the bilsteins on my legacy, so i'd probably get tem for a WRX. If i wanted to be more serious setup wise i'd probably look at a PSS9 kit.

I seem to recall that people complain about the stock brakes, but a good set of pads probably does them a lot of good.

I'd probably want to add an oil cooler since it's a turbo car.

amg_rx7 New Reader
Aug. 11, 2008 11:20 a.m.

why go from a great track toy like the Miata to a WRX? Just curious.

The WRXs don't handle as well, aren't as much fun and I'm not sure I can ever get into AWD for track day fun...

Woodyhfd HalfDork
Aug. 11, 2008 11:58 a.m.

I bought the WRX new and it is my daily driver. I love it, but it's hard to get the baby's car seat in and out of. I may need something bigger, but I'd hate to get rid of it, so I thought about setting it up for the track.

Also, it seems like every time I send in my payment for a track day, the forecast immediately changes to rain.

The Miata is a lot of fun on the track, though, and can hang with an STi in the twisties. I just can't get around them when the track straightens out.

Stargazer HalfDork
Aug. 11, 2008 12:22 p.m.
Woodyhfd wrote: The Miata is a lot of fun on the track, though, and can hang with an STi in the twisties. I just can't get around them when the track straightens out.

So what you're saying is that you need to boost the miata? Besides, a WRX won't get around an STi in the straights anyway. And, a stock WRX can't keep up with a miata in the turns, so you'd almost be going back a step.

billy3esq Dork
Aug. 11, 2008 1:08 p.m.

I don't think one needs AWD for a wet track day. The most fun I've ever had on track has been in pouring rain in a Miata.

That said, if you want a Subaru, do what makes you happy. Most of the people I see with WRXs upgrade brakes, but they also tend to up the boost.

Salanis Dork
Aug. 11, 2008 1:15 p.m.

My limited understanding is the the WRX transmission or differential has a reputation for being "fragile". Apparently they're just fine until you start upping the boost, but weren't designed to handle the kind of power that engine can be made to produce.

Nashco
Nashco Dork
Aug. 11, 2008 1:46 p.m.

In stock form the WRX is a bit pudgy and understeer prone. What kind of track are you running at? The AWD sure is handy in off-camber stuff and any crummy track conditions (rough pavement, wet, etc.), don't let anybody tell you AWD serves no purpose. Sure, on a flat, dry course the extra benefit of AWD is hardly worth the weight, but on a course with less than ideal conditions the AWD makes it a blast because you're still just as fast and can typically run a pretty flexible line compared to the FWD/RWD guys. While billy3esq might have had fun in the wet with his Miata because he could finally do a powerslide, a WRX driver would be having fun because he could power down coming out of the corners and go forward instead of sideways.

Standard track prep (assuming you're not running crazy speeds) would start with a healthy dose of camber and at least a rear bar or maybe a pair of bars depending on your budget and preferences. When you get into struts, the sky is the limit, so it really depends on your budget, what you want to get out of it, and if you're just driving for fun or if you're competing. Oh yeah, and of course good tires would be necessary and you may want to stick some fatter meat on there with aftermarket wheels, but that should go without saying. Some guys that track their Subies like to get camber plates so they can quickly adjust the camber for track days and not destroy their tires during typical commuting, so if you're using it as a daily driver that'd be worth considering. They really start to shine when you shed some weight, so depending on what you want to use the car for you might consider stripping it out a bit. It's a lot better to remove weight than to add boost when you want to start going faster IMO.

In terms of reliability, leave the powertrain stock and you won't be disappointed at all, if you start to modify it you'll need to keep a few things in mind to keep the reliability up. If you crank up the power (tune, exhaust w/ up and downpipe, etc.) you'll want to be nice to it on launch and 1-2 shifts, in particular, but avoid powershifting in general. I don't really think hard shifts make much sense in any case for just having fun, but some guys get a rise out of abusing their trans. The OEM clutch is a bit soft in these, so really hard launches with a bunch of power will take it out in short order, and as mentioned the 5 speed doesn't like hard abuse with added power, particularly 2nd gear (where most guys at the drags break it trying to get a super fast, super hard shift into 2nd).

You may want to go into more detail on what kind of budget, prep level, track days/competing, etc. that you had in mind to get more specific info.

Bryce

Tyler H Dork
Aug. 11, 2008 2:38 p.m.

What year is the WRX? The 06-07 has nice brakes. Pads and fresh fluid will help out any of them.

I think the transmission weakness is a bit overplayed. There are a bunch of hamfisted retards with WRXs (I try not to be one.) I suspect that this has something to do with the tranny problems.

I can't call something weak just because it isn't indestructible. I have a feeling that under 275-300hp and with respectful driving and it will be just fine.

Salanis Dork
Aug. 11, 2008 3:05 p.m.

I'm not calling the trans weak, just saying it has that reputation. It was designed to work with that car in stock form.

That turbo engine can be easily boosted to put out more power than that transmission was designed for, especially if you then shift aggressively.

The STi transmission was designed to handle abuse from an engine producing copious power.

I'm not sure even a Miata is hamfisted-retard-proof.

Nashco
Nashco Dork
Aug. 11, 2008 3:38 p.m.

Yeah, like Tyler said, the trans doesn't take retard abuse with upped power. Heck, it'll take retard abuse pretty well in stock form. Treat the trans with respect and they hold up fine, drag racers are the ones who kill them the most often. It's common sense, IMO, the .3 seconds per lap saved by crushing the trans during gear changes isn't worth it until you get to VERY competitive classes, at which point you wouldn't be driving a WRX anyway (you'd be in an STi).

Another thing worth looking into, depending on your budget and what year WRX you get is a few of the STi bits like the steering rack and aluminum control arms, which are a direct swap to the WRX IIRC.

Bryce

Tyler H Dork
Aug. 11, 2008 4:09 p.m.
Salanis wrote: I'm not calling the trans weak, just saying it has that reputation.

Sorry...didn't mean to come off like I was taking a swing at your post. The trans does have a reputation for being crappy/made of glass, but I have only seen it on abused cars. Of course the majority of WRXs are abused and they made a bazillion of them, so even if the tranny fails under moderate abuse, there are a lot of horror stories out there.

billy3esq Dork
Aug. 11, 2008 4:44 p.m.
Nashco wrote: While billy3esq might have had fun in the wet with his Miata because he could finally do a powerslide, a WRX driver would be having fun because he could power down coming out of the corners and go forward instead of sideways.

Well, that and the fact that if any of them had caught up to me I would've pointed them by on the off-track side. Stick that in your downpipe and smoke it, rallyboy!

Nashco
Nashco Dork
Aug. 11, 2008 6:33 p.m.
billy3esq wrote:
Nashco wrote: While billy3esq might have had fun in the wet with his Miata because he could finally do a powerslide, a WRX driver would be having fun because he could power down coming out of the corners and go forward instead of sideways.

Well, that and the fact that if any of them had caught up to me I would've pointed them by on the off-track side. Stick that in your downpipe and smoke it, rallyboy!

Be careful, if you catch somebody in a Subie in the right mood they'd probably take that option. The mud on the track from their re-entry won't bother them nearly as much as it will bother you!

Bryce

Tyler H Dork
Aug. 11, 2008 8:38 p.m.

I own a WRX, and as much as I would like to post up a fanboi retort, I must admit that the AWD probably helps them get out of the gravel traps more often than powering out of a turn at track days.

At every track day I've ever been to, the crazy MF'ers in the Miatas are the fastest ones out there.

But I can put 100% more baby seats in the back of the WRX, and have room for an easy-up, cooler, tools and maybe even tires.

Woodyhfd HalfDork
Aug. 11, 2008 10:51 p.m.

Okay, I guess I should clarify, based on some of the responses.

I already own a fully track prepped Miata. I run track days and time trials just for fun. I don't need any more trophies or beer mugs that say "1st" on them. I got that out of my system a long time ago. I don't care what class I'm in, or where I place. I do, however, drive it much harder than I ever would a car that I need to drive to work the next day. I trailer the car to the track. Someday it will break or be broken. I'm okay with that.

I also already own the WRX. I bought it new (2004) and it has about 90,000 miles on it. It's been driven hard, but never abused. I'm smart enough not to try to do a holeshot in an AWD Turbo car on dry asphalt. I've been conscious of my shifting habits since mile one. If it becomes a track car, I have no plans for upping the boost, complaining about a rough ride, or ever putting another baby seat in the back. It would become my new dedicated track car. I'd just be looking for brake and suspension upgrades. I never felt that the car needed the STi quick steering rack, or for that matter, more boost.

I'm not saying that I think I need AWD on the track, either. I just happen to own the car already and was considering the transition to track car.

Nashco
Nashco Dork
Aug. 12, 2008 12:44 a.m.
Woodyhfd wrote: I never felt that the car needed the STi quick steering rack, or for that matter, more boost.

FWIW, I agree that the non-STi rack doesn't need swapped out, it feels nice, but it sure is nice to have the STi rack. Our Saabaru (9-2x Aero) has the STi rack and the steering ratio, effort, feedback, etc. is phenomenal. If you happened to see a good deal on some STi parts from a wrecked car, it wouldn't be money wasted, particularly if you're doing track days.

Bryce

Tyler H Dork
Aug. 12, 2008 8:59 a.m.
Woodyhfd wrote: I'm not saying that I think I need AWD on the track, either. I just happen to own the car already and was considering the transition to track car.

Basically just like any other sedan-turned-track rat: tires, brakes and suspension. Safety gear is a plus. Good preventative maintenance.

Stargazer HalfDork
Aug. 12, 2008 1:51 p.m.
Woodyhfd wrote: I already own a fully track prepped Miata. I run track days and time trials just for fun. I don't need any more trophies or beer mugs that say "1st" on them. I got that out of my system a long time ago. I don't care what class I'm in, or where I place. I do, however, drive it much harder than I ever would a car that I need to drive to work the next day. I trailer the car to the track. Someday it will break or be broken. I'm okay with that.

Sorry, I know this does not answer your question, but I'm just curious as to why you want to get rid of the miata? If it's paid for, well sorted, and you know it's history, why not keep tracking it until it breaks or you crumple it? Then cross the WRX over to the dark side... Just wondering...

Woodyhfd HalfDork
Aug. 12, 2008 3:17 p.m.
Stargazer wrote:
Sorry, I know this does not answer your question, but I'm just curious as to why you want to get rid of the miata? If it's paid for, well sorted, and you know it's history, why not keep tracking it until it breaks or you crumple it? Then cross the WRX over to the dark side... Just wondering...

Never said that it's my only Miata...

billy3esq Dork
Aug. 12, 2008 5:08 p.m.
Woodyhfd wrote: I'm not saying that I think I need AWD on the track, either. I just happen to own the car already and was considering the transition to track car.

Fair enough. I'm actually toying with getting an AWD track car at some point just to learn something different. (A big part of the reason I have an SVT Focus for my track car now is I wanted to learn how to drive a FWD car fast.) Because my hypothetical future AWD track car will likely be a WRX wagon (so I can easily carry tires, cooler, etc.) I'm also interested in the responses.

Plus I enjoy getting to make the Miata snob comments.

billy3esq Dork
Aug. 12, 2008 5:10 p.m.
Nashco wrote:
billy3esq wrote: ... if any of them had caught up to me I would've pointed them by on the off-track side.

Be careful, if you catch somebody in a Subie in the right mood they'd probably take that option. The mud on the track from their re-entry won't bother them nearly as much as it will bother you!

You're right, but it'd probably be worth it just to see it.

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