We were all very sad when it was announced that Subaru of America would not be backing any Subaru Challenge events in 2008. It had been a great event for the last five years, even though it always rained (Mother Nature’s way of reminding us why we have Subarus, I guess). After several sad and emo months weeping for the loss of the challenge, Folger Subaru in Charlotte stepped up to host one! The Central Carolina SCCA region handled the sanctioning and the autocross part. I can’t say that any of us were thinking rationally. Combining the Challenge with a Sunday event in Virginia Beach (hosted by the Tidewater Sports Car Club) it would mean driving about 1200 miles for something like ten minutes of seat time. But, well, the math for autocross has never been that great anyway…
Since you have to run a Subaru, Slava co-drove with John, and Ed co-drive with fellow MAIC’er Ian. Travis drove his “I hate this car” 2.5RS. We started down on Friday. After rendez-vousing at Sheetz, we headed down 81-S. Gas was down to 1.99 a gallon for 93 octane in the sticks – bonus. As we crossed the border to North Carolina, we were greeted with this:
Welcome to North… something.
We made it to the dealer in time to catch the social event at the dealership. At the raffle, Travis won $50 in Subaru parts, and Ed won $100 – good omen. After a last minute hotel change (“You’re going to the Comfort Inn, right?” “Yeah, the Comfort Suites.” “Comfort Inn?” “Comfort Suites.” “F***”) we had a Yuengling enhanced MAIC gathering and finally let road trip fatigue kick in.
We awoke to… rain.
All of ST* ran in the first heat, so John, Slava and Travis all got to dry the course for the folks with the hugest race tires. The course was a drift-fest with everyone fighting to find grip. After the dust had settled, John ended up winning STX by about a half second over last year’s South Central Subaru Challenge winner, Chris Harp. Slava was another four tenths back in 3rd place. Travis finished 3rd in STS, behind two well-prepped old-school 2.5RS’s.
In the afternoon, Ed ran with Ian (who gotanSTI) on Ed’s old 235 width RA1′s. They were a bit outgunned in a class won by a 2006 STi on remote-reservoir Ohlins with 315-width Hoosier A6′s. Ed ended up 5th in SM.
The Challenge round was next. Ed, in a fairly crappy PAX situation (Ian’s car is basically an STU car with more boost and the RA1s) did not make the challenge. Slava’s times qualified him, but he was ineligible because he did not own a Subaru. That left John and Travis reppin’ the BDR. In the dry, John got down to a 51.9, finishing 7th, a mere nineteen thousandths of a second behind Chris. Travis finished 10th, dropping 1.2 seconds off his wet time. The overall trophy went to fellow MAIC’er Karen Kraus in her “I actually own one now” 2006 “Cool, automatic” WRX.
In the end, project:BDR took home three trophies, and MAIC represented itself very well.
Time to get to work in the video lab…