Introducing Ben McClaren’s GC8 Subaru WRX
Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here!
So back in June, I did this shoot for Ben late in the arvo at Subinats 2015. Goulburn, NSW is normally a representation of what hell would be like frozen over when it comes to winter, but on this particular winter’s day the Sun was shining and was a beautiful winters day – well for Goulburn… (Ed: I’ve been reminded I was wearing my flame proof suit shooting this however, and that my take on it being ‘beautiful’ is not valid…)
I’ve known Ben for a few years now, and I’ve only good things to say about this guy. Always happy and cheerful, and always willing to lend a hand when he can, and it was a pleasure to shoot this wonderful machine. One thing about Ben that shows in his car, is his personal dedication to perfection and attention to detail. To quote Ben here “I’ve put a lot of time into making sure this car looks as good as it goes, and i think that’s why i love it, it’s just a very well balanced car in every sense of the word.” I can’t say I’ve seen a lot of WRX’s outside of the NSW WRX Club, but this would have to be the cleanest, shiniest, neatest built WRX race car I have ever seen.
Having met Ben through the club, where most of us are Subaru die hards – myself included, I wondered about how Ben came to be part of this AWD Turbo family.
“I grew up with a brother in law who was a great driver and had the opportunity to be around motorsport in one form or another throughout my late teens/ early 20’s competing in Super Tourers, GTP and various production style races, although i didn’t have the money to get my own car. My time finally came when i purchased Cardiff Automotive late in 2012, and decided I needed to promote my Subaru business, hence the choice to get into racing Subaru’s. But I had been into and owned many Subaru’s since my grandfather, who used to hand me his old Wheels magazines, introduced me to the first generation Liberty, which had just been handed Wheels car of the year. (1991 i think)”
As for details about the car itself and how it came to be, Ben had been racing an MY05 Subaru WRX street car with the club in 2013, and did quite well with it taking out the WRX Street Class in the Speed Championship. But during that year Ben had a bit of a vision stirring in his soul having had a taste he knew he wanted to go a “little” further with it. With that in mind, he went off after his beloved GC8.
“I bought it off a young guy from western Sydney who had spent some good money on some good parts, but as we found out in the end, not with good mechanics doing the work. The “built” motor would never even have seen the track and the PAR straight cut box snapped a main shaft after only a couple of races. Michael South (Michael South Engineering) proceeded to build up a fresh EJ207. Using the 2.5 crank, Cosworth cams, some healthy compression and paired with Michael’s wizardry to make it nice and reliable – and it’s still going strong today. It runs a Blouch Dominator 1.0xtr turbo which is small but makes for a very responsive 300kw. A rebuilt Sti 6 speed, with DCCD and some Cusco diffs help get the power down.”
You also can see some of the unmentioned tasty details in the photos. Like those big pink Ceika Brakes filling out those wide 18’s, shod with Hankook RS3 rubber. This machine has the grip to match it’s go! As for other details you’ll have to ask Ben. As for memorable moments in this car – Ben mentions the car has had many highlights in it’s first full year on the track, however taking out Subinats 2015 and NSW Time Attack in Clubsprint class are right up there with the best.
Asking Ben what he loves most about racing, he tells me that it’s more than just going fast.
“It’s a skill that some have and some need to continue to learn, for me it’s the latter and so, until i feel i can’t improve on what I’m doing there will something there for me to get excited about….But just as important is the community of people that I’m surrounded with at race tracks which has made for some great friendship, the likes of which those not not involved in motorsport probably wouldn’t understand.”
As for what the future holds for this car?
“Next year the plan is to have a crack at World Time Attack, so we’ll need to go back to the drawing board to try and compete with the massive power some of the big boys run.”
Well it will be certainly interesting to see this machine develop even more than it’s current competitive state that it’s in. I for one will certainly be watching with great interest, as the more Subaru’s at World Time Attack the better I say. Time to restore the balance of power from the dark side…
I hope you all enjoy these photographs as much as I’ve enjoyed taking them for you all. I’d like to thank Ben and Josh Bunter for helping out with the lights and reflectors etc into the Goulburn evening at Subinats whilst everyone had headed into town for dinner. In the meantime, if you need some parts for your Subaru, Ben can certainly help out, contact him at Cardiff Automotive.
As always with the Gallery – click for a larger view. Once you’ve got the larger view, you can even go full screen with the icons…