SOUTH Australian engineering firm Willall has built a modern tribute to the iconic Subaru WRX STI 22B with a strong claim to the title of world’s wildest WRX. At the heart of the ‘25BB’ is Willall’s billet block EJ25, dubbed WREJBB, which is capable of 800kW on 3.5bar (50psi) of boost.
“[Willall] got involved in the MY16 STI because they have an excellent layout, but are susceptible to durability issues at high power levels,” explains Willall representative Martin Donnon. “We got involved in the high end of racing them designing a billet crankcase so people can run 600-750kW without having recurring problems.”
To support this level of power Donnon says: “We have a magic set of cylinder heads and camshafts, we have a special rotating assembly, which is pistons, crank and rods that take it out to 2.63 litres [and] a specially made turbocharger system.”
The 25BB idea came about due to the traction difficulties of Willall’s hard-working development WRX STI. “We started hillclimbing it and thought ‘we can’t get enough tyre under it’,” says Donnon. “So we thought ‘let’s make our own wide body for it!’. You can’t get anything wide for these cars other than the front fenders, so we thought we’d metal finish an entire car.”
Yes, in order to accommodate 305mm tyres all ’round, Willall has coachbuilt bespoke panels, including new front guards, rear doors, rear door skins and rear quarters, all made with factory steel with the front and rear bumpers modified to suit the extra width. Donnon says the bodywork is “very tricky and time-consuming”, however, the result is one seriously fat Rex.
Of course, the standard driveline would melt at these power levels, so the unenviable task of transferring the immense grunt to the ground is entrusted to a carbon-fibre tailshaft, upgraded diff gears and driveshafts, however the standard H-pattern six-speed manual is deemed strong enough for road use.
Willall’s development car uses a PPG sequential, but Donnon says: “The six-speed’s a beautiful thing – it’s a very, very strong gearbox.”
Music to the ears of anyone familiar with Subaru’s earlier manual efforts.
Best of all, Willall is open to the idea of building 25BBs for customers. A handful of cars are currently being completed for export, however Donnon says “We would entertain building one for a local client.” Price would depend on the exact specification of the car, but “GT-R money” could secure you a car capable of 0-200km/h in 6.2sec. Just what that feels like we’ll hopefully discover soon when Willall throws us the keys.
WALKINSHAW has unleashed its most powerful upgrade package yet, breaking through the old-school 700bhp mark for the first time. Developed due to “overwhelming demand from HSV LSA owners across the globe,” Walkinshaw’s W557 kit extracts a mighty 557kW at 6200rpm and 930Nm at 4000rpm from any HSV fitted with the 6.2-litre supercharged LSA V8. This bests the 2015 Racing Edition by 7kW, though that model did offer 50Nm more torque.
To produce these stump-pulling outputs, Walkinshaw goes to town on the LSA, starting with a cold air intake and active cat-back exhaust to help it breathe better. There’s also a Walkinshaw-spec camshaft with matching cam sprocket, camshaft bolt set, crankshaft bolt and beehive-style valve springs to beef up the top end while ceramiccoated headers, a solid isolator coupling to replace the springloaded factory item and 1000cc injectors complete the package.
Finally, an ECU re-calibration makes the whole show run as smooth as standard.
The upgrades aren’t restricted to new cars, however used examples – classified as any car exceeding 20,000km – also need the head bolts and gaskets, lifters and lifter guides replaced as a precautionary measure. All cars receive a W557 boot badge, under-bonnet plaque and certificate of authenticity while being covered by Walkinshaw’s driveline warranty, which covers all upgrades for 36 months or 100,000km since the
vehicle was first registered.
New-car customers will need $12,990 for the W557 modifications while boosting a used example adds $1000 to that due to the extra parts and labour involved. Existing W507 owners, a package which offers a ‘mere’ 507kW/850Nm, are also able to upgrade for $4990 (new) and $5990 (used) respectively. All prices are inclusive of GST and fitting.
Just what effect another 127kW/190Nm has on the HSV GTS we’ll find out next month with our first drive of the W557, but it’s in with a real shot of being the fastest Walky we’ve ever tested, a mantle currently held by the Clubsportbased 550kW/980Nm Racing Edition which managed 0-100km/h in 4.09sec and a 12.08sec quarter mile at 195.19km/h.
Can the extra tractive capabilities of the GTS donor car dip the W557 into the 11s? Stay tuned.
THE WORLD’S quickest frontwheel- drive car will cost $50,990 when it lands in Australia this October, offering 228kW/400Nm in a single high-specification going head-to-head with the likes of all-wheel drive rivals like the Ford Focus RS and updated VW Golf R.
In addition to the mechanical package, which includes a sixspeed manual with rev-matching function, Brembo brakes measuring 350mm front and 305mm rear, three-mode adaptive suspension, mechanical limited-slip differential and 20-inch wheels with 245/30 Continental ContiSportContact6 tyres, Aussie Type Rs will be fitted with Honda’s Sensing active safety gear as standard, which features automatic emergency braking, lane assist, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision alert and more.
Five colours will be available: The Championship White hero hue, Rally Red (pictured), Crystal Black, Sonic Grey and Brilliant Sporty Blue, the latter three carrying a $575 premium.
Honda Australia Director Stephen Collins said in a statement: “We’ve already taken more than 200 customer orders and more than 5000 people have registered their interest, so it’s clear there’s a lot of pent-up customer demand for the return of the Civic Type R.”
We’ll have a full review from the international launch of Honda’s new hottie next issue. – SN
IN A move that will shock precisely no-one, Audi has added a powered-up Plus version to its Spyder line-up. Like its coupe twin, it uses a 449kW/560Nm version of Audi’s incredible 5.2- litre V10 – 52kW/20Nm more than the regular R8 Spyder – which rockets it to 100km/h in 3.3sec and on to a top speed of 328km/h. This is despite the soft-top mechanism adding 65kg, though carbon brakes, bucket seats and lightweight wheels save 25kg. Operating the roof takes 20 seconds and can be completed at up to 50km/h.
Local pricing is not yet announced but bet on around $420,000.
VOLVO’S performance arm Polestar is to become its own standalone company, focusing exclusively on high performance electric cars. According to Volvo President and CEO Hakan Samuelsson, “With Polestar, we are able to offer electrified cars to the world’s most demanding, progressive drivers in all market segments.” Polestar vehicles will not carry Volvo branding, however, it will continue to develop “optimisation packages” for Volvo products. Further details will be announced soon.
FOR THOSE who like to corner at nose-bleeding speeds, Ford Europe has released an Option Pack for the Focus RS, adding cosmetic enhancements but also a Quaife mechanical limited-slip differential for the front axle.
Ford Europe’s new Performance Director, Leo Roeks, says “The additional grip offered by the Quaife LSD will make it even easier to carry speed through a corner on the track and maximise acceleration on the way out. The new setup also delivers greater mechanical stability and control when braking hard.”
The Option Pack also includes the 19-inch lightweight forged alloy wheels, which locally come wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, while it can be identified by a matte black treatment for the roof, mirror caps and rear spoiler and flashes of blue trim on the Recaro seats.
Ford Australia would only say “The Focus RS Option Pack is something we will look at”, however, our information suggests it will be available locally, possibly as a limited-run model. – SN
IF A standard 911 Turbo S is a little too common for you, Porsche has the answer with the Turbo S Exclusive Series. Limited to just 500 examples worldwide, “extremely limited numbers” will make their way to Australia priced from $590,700, a $129K premium over the Turbo S.
The extra outlay buys 446kW/750Nm, a 19kW hike over the standard car, which results in 0-100km/h in 2.9sec and 0-200km/h in 9.6sec. Carbon comprises the double-bubble roof, bonnet, side skirts and ram air scoops, contrasting with the Golden Yellow Metallic paintwork, though other colours are available.
The golden motif continues inside on the seats, headrests and roof lining, while fine copper thread is integrated into the carbon trim.
To complete the experience, owners can buy a matching titanium watch, painted the identical colour to the customer’s car. – SN
HOLDEN’S new Commodore will retain a V8 engine, albeit only in Supercars form. Its 2018 racer was intended to be the first to utilise the new Gen2 engine regulations and feature a 3.6-litre twin-turbo V6 to more closely align it with the road car.
This has now been delayed until 2019, though the new engine is expected to be used in wildcard entries throughout 2018. The LF4.R engine is taken from the Cadillac ATS-V GT3 car and has been undergoing dyno testing since January at GM Racing’s facility in Detroit. The new engine will be available for lease to all Holden teams in 2019.
MCLAREN’S Sport Series range has welcomed its first drop-top, the 570S Spider. Mechanically identical to its hardtop twin, the Spider retains the 419kW/600Nm 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8, more than enough to compensate for the extra 46kg added by the retractable hardtop. Performance is still fearsome: 0-100km/h in 3.2sec and 328km/h flatout, though that drops to only 315km/h if you’ve dropped the roof, a process which takes 15sec and can be completed at up to 40km/h. Pricing is TBC, but expect it to land around $430K.
NOT CONTENT with its new range of dealer-fit TRD accessories (see p38), Toyota has introduced a limited-edition 86 with chassis upgrades previously only available to the US market.
Acceleration remains the same as the 152kW/212Nm 2.0-litre boxer four is untouched, but deceleration is a different story. A standard 86 GTS uses 294mm front rotors and 290mm rears, however, these are replaced by Brembo units measuring 326mm front with fourpiston calipers matched to 316mm rears and much larger pads.
Specially tuned Sachs dampers are claimed to “add to the 86’s renowned responsiveness and stability” however, whether the standard low-grip Michelin Primacy tyres can exploit this extra braking and cornering force remains to be seen.
Just 60 cars will receive the upgrades, painted in eye-catching Solar Orange and priced at $41,490.
If you aren’t a fan of the hi-vis treatment, Subaru is offering 150 BRZ Sports Packs at $36,694 in the more traditional colours of blue, red, grey and white. – SN
THE MOST potent of the mini hot hatches is about to become even more so. The new sixth-generation VW Polo GTI has been revealed, now powered by the same 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder as the Golf GTI producing 147kW, a 6kW jump over the current 1.8-litre model.
As the first model built on the VW Group’s MQB A0 modular platform for compact cars, the new Polo grows in every direction bar height and is now approaching the size of a Mk IV Golf.
This liberates more interior and boot space, however, it’s unclear whether weight has crept up accordingly.
The Polo GTI will be available as a five-door only with a choice of sixspeed manual or seven-speed dualclutch gearbox and the Sport Select chassis including adaptive dampers will be standard fit. A raft of active safety gear is also standard and we’d expect prices to creep up slightly when it lands later this year. – SN