WRX Finally Goes To The Track

After several intense weeks prepping the WRX, we finally took it out for its first every track day....which also happened to be my first day out on the track. It was a successful failure.

After weeks of anticipation and a slew of upgrades, I finally took my WRX, BRLIN, to the track for its debut day at the iconic Waterford Hills in Clarkston, Michigan. Little did I know that this day wouldn't unfold as smoothly as I'd hoped. But hey, that's the thrill of the track, right?

Waterford Hills, a track with a rich history since its paving in 1958, boasts eight challenging corners and unique elevation changes that demand precision. With limited runoff, it's the kind of place where mistakes are costly, and you need to be on your toes at all times.

Before track day the car needed several upgrades in order to be track ready. When I bought it, it came with a leaking steering rack. I decided to swap it out with a 2015+ STI rack, throw in some white line bushings, a Cusco brace. To make sure the car could withstand the abuse the track would throw at it, we upgraded brakes with Hawk DTC 60s in the front and HP Plus at the rear and paired those pads with Centric Blank rotors. For cooling we upgraded the radiator to a Koyorad. And lastly the car also received a fresh oil change with Motul 300V Motorsports Oil and Motul RBF600 Brake Fluid with a high boiling point. Shoutout to Import Image Racing for making it all possible!

As I got ready to go out for my first session, anxiety and nerves gripped me. The morning was wet and cold, the track still not dry. As I went hit the track my goal was to focus on taking it easy, feeling the brakes, and staying aware.

However, the track had surprises in store. Not even 3 laps in, there was confusion on the long straight where a black flag was shown. I had no idea who it was for, because I never saw it again. Despite the flag, I pushed on, gradually building confidence. Lap after lap, the WRX and I found our rhythm, setting a best lap time of 1:37.89.

Back in the pits, reality hit. We were pushing coolant, bubbles dancing in the overflow tank. Panic set in, but the choice was clear - pack up or send it. And, well, you know, we sent it.

Sessions two started with a frustrating slow train led by a Corvette, blue flags waving. I also got revenge on a car that passed my in session one. I found more pace, overtook cars, and even set a new personal best of 1:28 by following a Supra that was tailing me.

The track, with its twists and turns, became a great learning experience. The Continental SRS Plus Tires held up surprisingly well, considering they're not track-designed. The Hawk DTC 60s, true to their reputation, provided excellent bite and modulation.

In the end, despite the growing coolant issue limiting us to two out of four sessions, I walked away with more than just lap times. Confidence in throttle modulation, braking, smooth shifting, and cleaner racing lines became the real victories of the day.

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