As you start to track your car and get faster, you can make a lot of changes and modifications to your suspension, and especially tires (by running race tires or R-Compound tires) that will give you more grip and speed in the corners to shave down your lap times. But there will most likely come a point where you will need to look at improving your cars aerodynamics and down-force to make sure that you are as quick as possible around the track.
This is especially true if you start competing in a class where power is limited or capped, and you have to rely on mechanical or aero to make the car faster.
Recently, Scotty has been getting faster and faster in his 2011 STI, and for 2019, he plans to compete in that car in the NASA Time Trials series. Since that series classifies cars based on power to weight, he has picked his target class, but after seeing some of the competition, it became immediately clear that he was going to have to give some consideration to wings and aero if he wanted to be competitive.
For the last few years we have been running the APR GT500 wing on our 2014 WRX for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, and we have been happy with the results so far. But in looking at rear wings for Scotty's STI, we decided that the offerings from APR might not be exactly what he was looking for.
Since they are carbon fiber, they are very light, but they are also fairly expensive, especially if you are looking at a larger wing. APR offers a few kits for the GR STI with up-rights, but they don't put the wing in an ideal position based on the NASA rules. The main drawbacks here are that the wing is not as high up as the rules allow, and it is not as far back as it can be, and in both of those cases, that will limit how effective the wing can be.
Also, because the wing is made of carbon fiber, it is not a simple matter to move the mounting points around if we wanted to make our own up-rights.
So in the process of looking for other options, we found 9Lives Racing, and their aluminum wing. What was most appealing about this was that they were using a proven airfoil design that was shown to give a maximum amount of down-force with a minimum drag penalty. Not only could they make them to any width that we needed, but because the wings were aluminum, they were going to be much easier to work with in terms of mounts and mounting options.
The only issue was they didn't have anything available for a Subaru or STI for that matter at the time.
So we talked with them about options and we decided to fix that.
In the process of building Scotty's wing, we decided to not only make a one-off wing for him, but to make that wing design available for anyone else in the same situation. Because every STI needs a fully functional and adjustable wing!
What we did was to design an up-right that placed the wing at the highest and furthest back point that most rules would allow. This put the highest edge of the wing just below roof line, and the rearmost edge of the wing is right in line with the rear bumper. We also made the wing 70" so it is as wide as the car, which is the maximum allowable width in many rule sets.
All of this puts the wing in an optimal position to make it as effective as possible, and the best part is we were able to do this using the stock mounting holes on the STI sedan trunk. So for a bolt on wing, this is about as good as it can get.
So far, the wing has worked great in testing, and we will know more as 2019 goes on and we can run the wing at more events. We are also working on a wing for the GD WRX and STI that will be built with the same mentality, and that should be available soon too.
Depending on feedback, we may develop more mounting options in the future, but for now, we are really excited to be able to offer a properly designed wing that will actually work, and help to make you faster!
- Jon Cooley