The Project BRZ story begins in November 2013, when I decided to sell my modified 2006 WRX CS9. I’ve never been one to just aimlessly modify cars. I’ve always aimed to bring out the best in a car’s natural characteristics, rather than change its character. That was my aim when I built my WRX, and that was the same plan I had in mind when I decided to “upgrade” to a BRZ.
I also decided to embark on an online project at the same time, and created my Project BRZ YouTube channel and Facebook page with the aim to document my journey, all the way from picking up the car brand new, to the finished car.
I’d taken my WRX from its stock form to healthy 208KW at the wheels, along with a bunch of other modifications which I won’t cover here (let me know if you’re interested in more information on this car). By the time I’d finished, I had squeezed all I wanted to from the stock internals, and while it was an extremely quick street car, with no mods left to do to the car, I got bored with it. Despite the power, there was no real drama to driving the car.
Enter the BRZ…. Upon my first test drive, I almost dismissed it as a ‘poser’s’ car due to the lack of power. Boy was I wrong. Once I started to drive the car the way it was designed to be driven rather than trying to drive it like my WRX, I discovered just what an incredible car it is. Despite the lack of power, I found myself grinning from ear to ear, and I knew this was my next car. Within a month I had sold my WRX and placed an order for a 2014 BRZ. I was on a 6 month waiting list, so I had plenty of time to begin my planning, research and ordering parts….
I also decided to embark on an online project with the car, and created my Project BRZ YouTube channel and Facebook page with the aim to document my journey, all the way from picking up the car brand new, to the finished car.
With a target of around 180-200KW at the wheels in mind so as not to upset the natural characteristics of the car, but rather enhance them, I selected 18×8.5+33 wheels for the front, with 225/40/R18 tyres, and 18×9.5+40 wheels for the rear, with 255/35/R18 tyres. With the increase in power, this would offer me a proportional increase in mechanical grip (with the right tyre choice).
I chose 18inch RAY’S 57Xtreme wheels in Matte Graphite as they look great and relatively light.
Obviously I was going to lower the car, but needed it to be a practical ride height. I contacted MCA Suspension in Queensland and they took the time to carefully explain the process they go through when designing their suspension packages, and I decided that MCA Red Series was the right choice for me. It was going to offer exceptional track performance (the R&D lap times speak for themselves), whilst still giving comfortable street performance on softer settings. I also purchased Whiteline KCA326 adjustable rear camber inserts to ensure I could optimize the camber for handling, and to match the natural lines of the car, as well as a Whiteline front strut brace. The result is exactly what I was after. The handling is supreme, the car looks practical (my wife can’t believe I wrote that), sensible (that too) and moderately aggressive, and I can still fit in my driveway.
Camber and Suspension settings:
- -1.25deg – camber front and rear
- 355mm – hub to guard
- 122mm – ground clearance
I decided on a Blitz NUR Spec C-Ti Center pipe and muffler. I didn’t want the car to be loud, knowing that once I removed the stock headers to add forced induction, the volume would increase significantly. The aim was to have the car sound purposeful, rather than pretentious and excessively loud, and while it is a little on the quiet side now, I’m sure it will be spot on once forced induction is added.
Next up was the body kit. I wanted something that complimented the natural lines of the car, so I chose the Carbon Fibre Rexpeed STi style front lip and C-Style (Chargespeed Bottomline) skirts and rear spats. I also installed STi badging and fender garnishes to complete the look.
The next thing that needed some attention was the interior. I went with a Raceseng gear knob and reverse lockout, CyberStork Cluster, vent and knob rings, and a Sony XAV-712NAV Head Unit. I also hard wired in a Blackvue DR550GW-2CH dashcam for added security. I found a great looking Carbon Fibre overlay which brought the 200mm stock head unit din pocket down to 180mm to fit the standard size Sony Double Din.
One of the great features of this Head Unit is MirrorLink, which allows me to display digital gauges on the screen of the Head Unit, via the Torque Pro app on my phone. For more information on this, see my YouTube channel.
I don’t intend to upgrade the rest of the sound system as it’s adequate for my needs. I’ve had big sound systems in previous cars and don’t want to add the extra weight to this car. I did a detailed analysis of the system, which you can view on my YouTube Channel.
Around this time I made a few small tweaks to the engine bay, and added Forged Performance Australia gas bonnet struts, and billet aluminium engine bay dress-up kit.
With the car now looking how I wanted for the most part. There was one thing missing, Brakes. The stock brakes perform adequately. But they definitely need to be upgraded if you’re going down the forced induction path. I spent about 2 months researching, and ultimately settled on a brand new set of front and rear STi Brembo brakes, along with DBA 4000 Series rotors and HEL stainless steel braided brake lines. I chose STi Brembo brakes as they are the same as what’s used on the BRZ tS in Japan, and would not upset the brake bias of the car. Plus they look like there were there from factory which is important in keeping with the subtle, yet purposeful look.
I enlisted the help of an experienced engineer and friend of mine (who just so happens to own Australia’s fastest twin charged 86 – JET86 – google it) to help me install the brakes. While we were at it, we also took the opportunity to help out MCA Suspension by installing some of their prototype dampers to test out new a new valve system.
Next up it was time to look at the power situation. As I said earlier, I was looking for around 200KW at the rear wheels, and wanted to do so safely, and with all the required supporting modifications. I began recearching and discovered the Kraftwerks C30 Supercharger Kit. This was by far the most well thought out looking kit I had come across. In particular I was drawn to the twin belt system for redundancy should the supercharger belt break, enabling you to still limp the car home. But above all, I liked the idea of a nice linear power curve that would enhance the car’s natural playful characteristics rather than turn it in to an untameable beast. I also opted for a Skunk2 Alpha radiator to increase cooling capacity, Skunk2 Alpha series headers, and a Kraftwerks front mount oil cooler.
The kit arrived and we set to work installing it. Here’s a time-lapse video of the install…
Once installed, it was time to tow the car to Tunehouse Sydney for their magic touch.
The car made an impressive 212.73KW at the rear hubs using the stock fuel system, which we were very impressed with. Here’s a video of the final few power runs…
Here’s a quick engine bay tour video to show you what it looks like and how it sounds…
With that done and dusted, the last step was to make sure everything was road legal. That involves a strict emissions test, as well as engineer sign-off.
Emissions was quite difficult to pass (I’ll write a tech article about it soon), but as we’d done everything properly from the start, the engineer sign-off was no problem.
With all that extra power come extra importance on keeping an eye on engine vitals, so I decided to install some gauges to keep an eye on things.
I opted for DEFI Racer Gauges for Boost Pressure and Oil Pressure, and a GRAMS Performance AFR gauge.
Here’s a peek at what they look like installed…
With that done, it was time to put a few finishing touches on the exterior of the car. I decided to install a TRD Shark Fin antenna and Stillen Boot Lip which finishes the car off nicely without being too over the top.
That brings us up to date with the project so far. I’m looking forward to producing heaps more videos including some driving and experience videos with boost, so stay tuned to the project using the links below…
Here’s one last video going over every mod on the car in a bit more detail.
I’m massively thankful to all the suppliers, workshops and friends who have helped me and taught me along the way. In fact I’d go as far as to say that meeting new people and learning has been the most rewarding part of this whole project.