We have to admit: We like where the show scene is going. We're fans of tuning cars in accord with their original designs. Take the sleek, low profile, and plush accommodations of a GS300, LS400, or M45, and what's the most logical direction to take for modification? It ain't bolting on Lambo doors, replica wheels and a cheap kit, or stuffing 12,000 LCDs or a fish tank in the cabin. VIP's the way to be for these three, and we love to see sleeker, slammed, and more plush VIP whips take back the trophies from riced out rides of decades past. For born-and-bred performers, like certain turbocharged, all-wheel-drive platforms, a different direction is best: Do away with the frill, adjust the ride height to its optimal point for performance, and to hell with sleek. It's a logical path, just one that hasn't won shows until now. But that's exactly why we love Jamarri Whiteside's WRX STI.
Yes, Jamarri's STI was built to dominate the show circuit. At least for now. Go ahead and sink $60K into your prized ride and see how willing you are to crack up ultra-rare Voltex and Zero Sports aero chasing after time-attack Gold. Jamarri's down to do that, but he's planning to rake in at least a year of top show honors first. And judging by how well he's done, fielding one of the only race-prepped machines out there and raking in 11 Best of Show titles so far this year-with absolutely zero audio-we can only agree that it's a wise strategy.
Building his previous car is what got Jamarri into this game. "The show scene was huge when I first got serious about building my ('94) Prelude," he says about the import scene circa '04-'07. "Drag racing was sort of dying out back then, and time-attack wasn't very popular. Plus, the Prelude makes a better street car than a race car, so taking it to shows was just what we did." Not wanting to destroy the streetability of his only car, Jamarri kept his build stylishly basic: a Wings West lip kit, 19-inch Rays G-Games, a carbon-fiber hood and trunk, JDM ITR Recaros and interior components, and tastefully executed Alpine audio. "It wasn't as crazy as a lot of the cars it went up against," he says, "but it was a lot more functional. It was different, and I guess the judges liked that." It would appear so-the 'Lude won over 100 trophies in four years showing. "I used to work the points system," he tells. "I had parts in every category: audio, power, interior and exterior, suspension. But I made them all subtle; not in-your-face." The more he and the competition progressed away from overbearing body kits and audio, and toward functional cleanliness, he came up with a new plan: "Performance parts are constantly being improved and new ones are coming out all the time," he says. "I started to realize that a lot of the most functional parts were rare and hard-to-find, and thus worth a lot of points. By scoring points in the areas that increased performance, I could cut out the parts I didn't need, build a track car, and still win."
Jamarri bought his STI in 2007 and set out to build that class favorite, modifying it almost entirely from within his Beaverton, OR, one-car garage. He went back and forth on the gutted-interior look before settling on it. The car was rolled across town for the fabrication of an SCCA-legal, fully gusseted roll cage and select stitch-welding. Then it was off to nearby Performance Race Engineering (PRE) in Portland for the installation of a Perrin GT35R turbocharger (with a Garrett 0.70 A/R compressor housing and 82-trim exducer), Greddy turbo manifold, and custom exhaust. "Bobby from PRE suggested I tune it with an AEM EMS stand-alone and complete fuel system for maximum upgradeability," he says. "That's when I yanked the interior for the last time and got to work." A complete, custom-plumbed, external Aeromotive fuel system was devised, feeding monster 1,200cc Deatschwerks injectors, controlled by a variable-speed fuel pump controller. "Running a high-capacity pump at full pressure heats up fuel if it isn't used quickly," he explains. "The variable controller keeps pump voltage lower when fuel demand is low, to decrease vapor lock."