Camaro vs. WRX STI: Meet the Cars of Driver Battles Episode 6
When you hear Camaro vs. WRX STI, you probably don’t think “classic rivalry.” The competition between Chevy and Subaru isn’t exactly heated, and they don’t have the same sort of competing performance divisions like BMW and Honda do. We’ve had a few episodes—four and five—dig into that specific battle.
However, when you look at the specs, this battle is astonishingly close. You may be surprised to hear that despite the difference in time and make, both of these cars have nearly identical weight and horsepower figures. Now this battle is shaping up.
Let’s meet our challengers. First up is a ’72 Chevy Camaro owned and driven by George Dias. Then we have Brian Gladish driving a ’15 Subaru WRX STI.
1972 Chevrolet Camaro
There’s nothing quite like the smell and roar of a classic muscle car. It’s the sort of car that grabs attention wherever it goes. This, along with George’s long-held affinity for the second generation F-body, led him to pick up and begin building his Camaro.
When it comes to the build, we have to start with the engine, which is a 383 stroker built by Blue Print Engines that cranks out 465hp. Even though George has always built his own engines, he decided to use a crate engine on the Camaro. After going through a few different options, he went one from Blue Print Engines that has had all of its rotating components machined, balanced and blueprinted for maximum performance.
On top of that, he’s added a roller cam, 1.65 roller rockers, aluminum heads, Hooker headers, a Proform 750 carburetor, a K&N E-3743 14”x 3” air filter and a custom 3-inch exhaust installed by Proformance Muffler using Flowmaster 40 series mufflers. The Turbo 350 transmission is mated to a B&M shifter, helping get the most out of every gear.
Despite how impressive the engine setup is, George feels that the suspension upgrades help him on the track the most. Underneath the car is a Hotchkis TVS Stage 2 total suspension kit with upper and lower A arms, rear H springs, Hotchkis sway bars, GPD preload springs, Fox shocks and Competition Engineering subframe connectors. Could this be the upgrade that puts George over the top?
To help the Camaro slow down in the corners, George added Wilwood brakes in the front and drums in the rear with Herb Adams modifications. For wheels and tires, George uses Nitto NT01s on American Racing Torque Thrust Wheels with widths of 245 out front and 275 in the rear.
The interior is made for racing as well, with a four-point roll bar, five-point harness and competition seats.
George has been autocrossing and track driving for six years, so he knows his way around a track. He started racing with his 2002 Ford Lightning, which we've seen before and happen to think is a pretty awesome ride.
2015 Subaru WRX STI
When it comes to cars you can see racing on the track and buy at the dealership, there are few more iconic than the WRX STI. Its rally racing pedigree needs no further explanation. The WRX STI Brian drove in this battle has had copious upgrades to make it go faster and corner better.
Even before the upgrades, of which there are numerous ones available in the aftermarket, the car is a serious competitor. The weight is incredibly well balanced, and it comes with symmetrical all-wheel drive. The STI designation is also more than just a badge, giving it a fantastic six-speed transmission, driver controlled center differential controls and greater power and torque from a higher-displacement engine.
These are the sort of things that make Brian love the car. It’s easy to upgrade, delivers the power and is well balanced.
Speaking of that engine, Brian has a built engine as well, this one a closed deck block built in-house by their company, Prolific Autosport. It has also been given mild ported heads with Tomei Poncam camshafts and 1300cc injectors.
To up the power even further, Brian added a Tomei twin scroll turbo and, even more important in his mind, a COBB access port tune that allows him to run both E85 fuel and 91 octane pump gas, with different horsepower levels for each tune. With the timing turned up for E85, the engine puts out 420hp, and it gives 350hp with pump gas.
On top of all this, he has given the car a twin plate Competition clutch, upgraded fuel pump, Setrab oil cooler, Tomei catted downpipe and Tomei titanium cat-back exhaust system.
The suspension and brakes have been given the aftermarket treatment as well. Brian has given it a Mann Engineering custom valved suspension, which he thinks might be the most impactful upgrade on the car. That makes two drivers who feel that their suspension could bring them victory. This could be a battle that is won in the corners.
His WRX STI has also been given a Whiteline Roll center adjustment kit, front and rear sway bar upgrades and Project Mu club racer pads with stainless steel brake lines and DBA rotors. He is using Nitto NT01s as well, to keep the battle as close as possible.
Like George, Brian is no stranger to the track, having participated in club events and open track days since 2003 in cars as diverse as a 1967 Ford Mustang, 1997 Subaru Impreza Brighton Coupe, 1992 Honda Civic EG hatch and Honda AP1 S2000.
While this battle may have seemed odd at first, the two drivers and their cars are oddly similar. Their weights are similar. They put out similar horsepower figures. Both drivers are veterans of the track who have experience building engines, and both think that their suspension upgrades can take them to victory. Who will come out on top? You’ll have to watch the battle to find out.