Archive for the ‘Drivers’ Category

Jeff Westphal has been one seriously busy dude. Between racing in different series, testing the world famous GST Motorsports Impreza, and doing his day to day thing, he still finds time to talk to us at Subie-Life.com!

Q: Hi Jeff! It’s been some time since we last spoke to you. What have you been up to? Any cool racing that you’ve been doing?

A: Hey. Since we’ve last spoke I’ve been racing with some clients of mine in an Endurance Race known as the 25 Hoursof Thunderhill, as well as with Insight Racing in their 328i Continental Tire Car.

Q: So on the vast universe known as the internet, we’ve been seeing a lot of images of the GST Impreza L under going a lot of changes. These changes seem significant. What things were done?

A: Wow, where to start.  Well, the car has basically been rebuilt minus the mounting points for the fuel cell.  Everything else has been modified or refreshed.  Some special attention was paid to aero profile, as was weight balance so not only did we shave considerable weight off the car, but it came off all the right places.  As many Subaru owners are aware, the cars polar moment of inertia is pretty far forward, which can be like trying to turn a shopping cart with all the goodies up front.  One of my requests was to get more of the vehicles mass over the rear of the car to engage the rear tire more since we never seem to hurt those.  We also added a proper pedal box setup with dual masters and a  bias bar.

Q: How much of your own input did they take into consideration when they modified the GST Impreza L from last season to this season?

A:  The direction to take the car has been a collaborative effort since day one, as 2 or 3 minds are better than one.  That said, one of the reasons GST called me to drive was for my professional input from other disciplines of motorsports that I’ve competed in, so when i ask for something to make the car better we all work pretty hard to get it done.

Q: Coming up next weekend is the Global Time Attack event at Willowsprings International Raceway and what I’ve heard is that this car will make an appearance. Is this true and if so, what can we expect?

A: Yes it is true we will be attending the GTA event next weekend.  The team and I have realistic expectations, we ran a 1.20.7 there in the early stages of development with the car last season and i think the car should be good for a high 19 in last years trim.  I’m hoping to challenge for the overall record that Billy Johnson has at a low 1.18.  We do need some time to iron out some logistical issues with the new platform we’ve created so I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket if you will.

Q: What other things are in the works for the GST Impreza and yourself this season? We’ve been hearing some rumors that you guys are actually going globally. Is this true?

A:  Yes, since it’s been officially released, we were afforded an invitation to the World Time Attack Finals in Eastern Creek, Australia so we will be going abroad to battle the best in the biz if you will.  This event I am really looking forward to.

Q: So, let’s get back to you. What have you been doing during the “off season”?

A:  I’ve been working on deals to bring with me in 2011, as well as enjoying some off season training.  Even though the weather isn’t the best, I love to cycle so i’ve racked up some mileage which feels great.


Q: I ran into you recently at Global Rally Cross a few weeks ago and we talked a bit about your feelings about the event? Can you share what your initial response was and will there be a possibility of you dabbling in Rally Cross?

A:  I loved the event, the AWD cars made me seriously consider how to become involved as they are very impressive.  I think if someone had an AWD car with high power and a sequential, it wouldn’t be too hard to prep it into a rally cross car…. “wink wink”

Q: You mentioned to me that you have picked up a new partner / sponsor and it’s Kicker Audio. Tell our readers more about this!

A:  I am fortunate to be working with such a company like Kicker.  We’ve actually been talking for a while, and finally it seems all of our goals were aligned so we are partnering in 2011.  I am one of their professional athletes, and I’ll be awarding Kicker Audio gear to fans of mine, motorsports ,and the Kicker brand all year.


Q: Jeff has been kind enough to give us an Kicker iPod docking unit! All our readers have to do is “like” Jeff Westphal Racing’s Facebook Page, “like” this article on our Subie-Life.com page and subscribe to Subie-Life.com’s email notification! If you do all three of these, you have a chance to win this awesome prize! Thanks Jeff for taking your time to talk to us and please take a moment to thank anyone that is helping you out this season!

A: Thanks to all the readers who continue to support this industry, without you guys we wouldn’t be here so this one is for you!  Like the pages and sign up, a Kicker Ipod Docking unit will be yours courtesy of Jeff Westphal Racing, Subie-Life.com, and Kicker Audio.

So, it’s been a little hectic here with myself. I know there have been a few things developing about the new Impreza and even in the motorsports world, things have been buzzing around. I’ll be blunt, I’m sorry for not doing as many updates as I should.

In light of what has been going on, I’ll be doing more editorial pieces when things are slow in the news world. It helps that (I know it sounds like I’m gloating, but I’m not… I swear) I know some people in the industry of motorsports and racing and I’ll get their perspective on things. I’ll try to get more insight on the GST Impreza and even talk to their driver, Jeff Westphal about their season.

Also, I’m still waiting on a few things to develop because two things are coming up. One, our 1 year aniversary is coming up fast (and furious… did anyone catch that 2011 STi drifting in the movie?) and two, Xgames is coming up and you bet your ass we’ll be doing a meet, cruise, and give away like we did last year.

I love this site, I love you guys, and I love talking, writing, and blogging about Subies. Hopefully in my personal life, I’ll be able to come up with a few things like shirts, stickers, and such so you can show your support and love for Subie-Life.com. Thank you all for sticking with us for about 10 months and I promise things will get better. I love you guys (and gals)!!!

I love seeing the privateers do what they can to stay competitive and even after the event, they have to clean up. Seattle was a wet, muddy, and dirty and he has to clean up. Here’s Stephan’s snapshot of him cleaning up his Subaru in his driveway.

Dave Mirra had an interesting weekend. Seemingly driving his 2011 Subaru STi like a pissed off teenager and being as aggressive as he could. It was amazing to see how hard he was driving and how he was able to really battle it out with the others. Subaru has released this video of his performance and you can see how close some of these battles really were.

Photo by Kyle Lewis

We saw some epic stuff from Global Rally Cross Round 2 in Seattle. With the rain, new ‘track’, and guys getting aggressive so they can make it to the Xgames finale we saw some intense competition.

Photo by Kyle Lewis

So Check out this video that we found on Youtube with Dave Mirra with his destroyed rear end doing what he can to finish the heat! Enjoy!

Our friend Stephan Verdier keeps impressing us with his driving skills, being the only Privateer to compete in the main event at Global Rally Cross in Irwindale, CA this past weekend. We had a chance to talk with Stephan as we always do after his performances and get more info on his win!

Q: Fresh off his 3rd place podium at the Global Rally Cross main event, we have Stephan Verdier! Thanks for joining us again at Subie-Life.com. So please tell us when you started converting your drifting / rally cross Subaru STi into a full dedicated Rally Cross vehicle and how that process went:

A: Always nice to talk to you Yukio. At the end of FD season I knew that needed a new car to be competitve in that sport, unfortunatly during the winter I wasn’t able to findd any money to build a new car and do the season of FD (at the same time). In the other hand my Subie was a great car to run in Rally Cross. Beginning of February I decided to strip the entire car and do some major modification to lose about 200 lbs. All the work was done at GTI in San Clemente. Crawford Performance supplied the engine, transmission and Motec ECU, Tein suspension, Cooper tires / the rallycross tires, Exedy clutch, Garrett Turbo, Ignite fuel with the E85 and Enkei Wheels. Converting the car back to awd was pretty simple, the car was pretty much stock in FD so I just needed to put the center diff and front diff in the gear box and voila!

Q: How did the build into a full Rally Cross Vehicle differ from the Drift Car Build this time around?

A: The build wasn’t that much different. We cut right in front of the shock tower and built a full tubular frame front end that can be change or remove really easily in case of damage. We took some weight off the A, B, and C pillar,  and I had GP Motorsport build me a full custom wiring harness but otherwise it’s the same car as last year.

Q: A couple of weeks leading up to the Global Rally Cross at Irwindale, how did you prepare yourself and your vehicle to compete? Did you have time to practice?

A: Because I don’t have much of a budget, all the work has to be done for free from my sponsors. They dedicated as much time as they could but they have to take care of there customers too. I had to work a lot during the last month so I couldn’t spend a lot of time on the car. We were way behind on the prepartion and we worked like mad men within the last 10days. We finished the car on Thursday at 2:00 am. I went into the first event with no practice and bunch of untested parts. We put a steering quickner but the pump is too slow. It was like driving without power steering. It was hard for me to get any feed back from the car with such a hard steering. We also added a pedal box but I we put the wrong size master in it,  so I had to push so hard on the brake pedal (to stop)! My right foot is still sore from it (pedals). We didn’t have time to set up the antilag and launch control and the center differential was stuck in open mode. We are fixing all this problems for the next race. It’s nobody’s fault, we just ran out of time to test the car. No big deal.

Q: Tell me how different Global Rally Cross from the Formula Drift events that you competed in for several years.

A: The main difference, there is no judge. You can’t argue with the clock. It makes easier to see how to improve, if your too slow you need to go faster, pretty simple. In drifting you have to adapt to a person (judge’s) view of what is perfect, and you have 3 people to please with different view of what is perfect, it’s kind of tricky!

Q: Let me set the record straight, do you like Rally Cross / Rally or Drifting more as a driver and competitor?

A: Rallycross/ Rally has always been my favorite. I love drifting too, it gave me so many new skills and made me a better driver.

Q: So day 1 of Global Rally Cross, you and the other competitors didn’t get much practice on the actual course so, how did you adjust to be competitive in a completely new course?

A: You’re right we didn’t get much practice but it was the same for everybody. The bank was the hardest to set up your car for and the most important part of the track. We were behind since I had to learn the car before I could make any changes. I wasn’t concern about the race on Friday, I took Friday event as a test day in preparation to Saturday.

Q: How did you feel about your first day of competition?

A: It was prettty good. The car was reliable and fast, but needed a lot of work on handeling. The big part was me too, I only had an average of 4hours sleep/day for the past week. We made a lot of changes to the set up and it worked, the car was 3 seconds faster on Sat.

Q: Day two must have been exciting for you. We saw you get very aggressive and we even saw a few competitors get very close to your doors / bumpers. Tell me how the first few rounds went for you.

A: First I came in with a good night sleep. We got a lot more practice on the track and found some good speed in the set up. The competion was really exicting. Racing next to Marcus (Gronholm), Rhys (Millen) and Tanner (Foust) was a lot of fun. During the regular heat I wanted to be agressive to show the other drivers that I’m not going to be push around but I didn’t want to hurt the car either. In the Main (event) I didn’t care.

Q: During the last main event we saw you follow Tanner Foust and Marcus Gronholm for the first few laps and then you did your joker lap over the jump. Was that your strategy to keep close to those guys or did you see an opportunity that most of the viewers didn’t get to see then took the opportunity? And that is why you jumped when you did?

A: The strategy is always take the joker last if you’re not held up by the car on front of you or if you’re in the lead. Something bad can happen really fast on the big jump, so you want to keep it for last. Marcus (Gronholm) and Tanner (Foust0 were not slowing me down at all, so I choose to stay behind and hoping they would make a mistake.

Q: How did you feel when you realized that you were locked in as a 3rd place winner in the main event when you went around the last dirt turn?

A: It was aweome, coming out of the jump I saw Tanner and knew I could give him a run for his money in the last corner, but I over cooked the braking  and went wide. I was pretty mad about that but then as soon as I crossed the line I realize that I got 3rd and it was fantastic.

Q: Finally, how can our readers find more information about you and would you like to thank anyone that has helped you?

A: There is a couple place they can find info, Facebook, www.stephanverdier.com. I want to thanks all my sponosrs and firends, Crawford Performance, GTI, Cooper tires, Ignite Fuel, TEIN, RMR, Sparco, Exedy, Enkei, Block DCB, GP motorsport.

Thank you Stephan for taking time to talk to us at Subie-Life.com! Good luck on the rest of the season and we hope to see you at more events!

Safety is very strict in motorsports and for good reason. Jimmy Keeny was an unfortunate person who had to put the safety standards to the test. Autoblog had a quick triggered photographer that captured Jimmy’s flip at the recent Global Rally Cross. Luckily he walked away with no major injuries.