Alan Cesar
Alan Cesar SuperDork
2/18/13 2:31 p.m.

Tuners and race shops alike are flocking to the new Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ twins. There’s no doubt this chassis is popular. Shops are scrambling to develop show-and-go parts, but it’s early in the game. No one yet knows the driveline’s weak points or the potential fitment issues that’ll crop up once upgrades start coming along. Since Subaru had a strong hand in the design of the underpinnings, there’s plenty of speculation as to what WRX and STI parts may swap.

Phil Grabow and his Element Tuning shop are braving this new world. We know some of Element Tuning’s projects pretty well: We’ve seen their extreme 2006 Subaru WRX STI at our Ultimate Track Car Challenge. That’s a 600-plus-horsepower tool capable of slotting in the top three with Phil at the wheel—and it would have done it, too, were it not for a transponder problem.

With his STI, Phil has been twice each a NASA Mid-Atlantic TTU champion, a Subiefest Pro Class champion and a Formula X Time Attack champion. He also holds the Summit Point lap record in TTU of 1:13.7. Phil’s experience has led to the creation of the Element Tuning competition-grade short- and long-block boxer engines, their brand of Hydra engine management, and a dry-sump oiling system.

For 2012, though, he brought a new toy, fresh from the dealer lot. Phil didn’t mind that it wasn’t wearing his usual Pleiades logo. “I was looking for the next exciting car, and I’ve been following this concept since 2008,” Phil said. “I thought, ‘Let’s get it, do some R&D and develop it. This is the next tuner car.’” Then he got to work.

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