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Weekend Warrior – 1998 Subaru WRX Type R STI (GC8)

19 June 2024

Forget how rare a blue WRX STI two-door is, this one’s built and ready to rumble with 480kW at the wheels!

Photos: Glen McNamara

NZPC: Hey Sean, what is your history with performance cars? 

I started my performance car journey when I was 14 — at that time my brother had a Subaru.

Why did you choose this car to build? 

We were tired of driving a slow car so we bought this car and built it even more. 

In what condition was the 180SX when you bought it? Did it take much work?

It was quite a tidy car to start with so it didn’t take a lot and just really needed some finishing touches. 

Do you have any future plans for the car? 

Try to run this car to a nine-second pass.

Explain to us in as much detail as you can, what it’s like to drive. 

It’s fun when everything starts flying past you and when driving slow just listening to the turbo do its magic sounds.

Was it hard sourcing parts for the build? 

Yes, it was hard due to Covid lockdowns. 

What was the most challenging part of the build and why?

Parts not showing up on time and missing big car events. 


Who/what/what car is your biggest automotive inspiration for this build?

Iain Clegg’s R35, aka King Kong! 


Thanks for catching up with us Sean, good luck with the nine-second pass!


This article originally appeared in New Zealand Performance Car issue 305

Year/make/model: 1998 Subaru WRX Type R STI (GC8)

Engine: Forged pistons, forged rods, 272-degree Kelford cams, Kelford valve springs, Kelford titanium retainers, L14 head studs, larger throttle body, four-inch exhaust system, AdrenalinR muffler, Precision 6466 turbocharger, 40mm Turbosmart wastegate,Turbosmart Race Port, AEM 450lph fuel pump, custom ST Hitec surge tank with two AEM 450lph pumps, R35 GT-R coil packs, 600x300x76mm Plazmaman intercooler, Link G4X ECU

Driveline: V7 STI six-speed, twin-plate Exedy, lightened flywheel, V7 STI diff 

Interior: Factory STI seats, custom made steering wheel with shift lights, Powertune gauge cluster, AEM boost gauge, AEM AFR gauge, E85 gauge

Exterior: Factory

Wheels/tyres: 17-inch Koya SF03/ 235/40R17 Nankang NS2-R

Suspension/brakes: Tein coilovers, Flex Z coilovers, chassis brace, Ultra Racing fender brace, STI strut brace, Ultra Racing sway bar

Power: 480kW at 33psi of boost

Fuel type: E85

Tuner: Boomer at ST Hitec


Name: Sean

Age: 24 

Location: Manukau

Occupation: Heavy diesel mechanic