Super Street Feature: 1998 Subaru Impreza RS – Widebody Gc8 Built For All the Right Reasons
Growing up, Ivo was surrounded by cars and racing—as the child of two professional drivers, there was simply no escaping it. Ivo started racing karts at a very young age, and his first notable accomplishment was second place in the 100cc national championship at the age of eight, followed immediately the next year with first place. As he grew older, the trajectory of his racing career continued its upward trend. As he grew into a teenager, he started working as a mechanic on his mother’s team—staying true to the belief that in order to be successful as a driver, you must first completely understand the car.
In 1991 at the age of 20, Ivo emigrated to the U.S. Old habits die hard, so following his arrival in the States, Ivo immediately found himself back in a fast car, this time a Volkswagen. In no time, he was part of an organized automotive enthusiasts collective that called itself the Renner Performance Group. Through this alliance of automotive enthusiasts Ivo met a certain man, a man with slightly more disposable income than he had. This man had just purchased a brand-new Subaru. It was a new model for 1998—or rather a new trim level of the familiar Impreza model, but something about the 2.5 RS made it so much more appealing than the typical Impreza. Ivo saw this car quite often and planned to purchase one for himself—until his friend blew the engine just four years later. Without a place to store the car, Ivo’s friend was forced to sell it. Naturally, Ivo jumped on the chance to own the chassis he had dreamt of.
The GC8 sat for a few years, during which time Ivo considered many powerplant options. He had no intention of installing anything naturally aspirated into the car, and at this time the only viable option was the turbocharged EJ20 of the new “bugeye” WRX.
Let’s fast-forward to March 2014, when I had the pleasure of meeting Ivo in person. We were both competing at Chuckwalla Raceway for the second round of Redline Time Attack, in very different classes, of course. In the company of many cars that were built purely for function with limited aesthetic qualities, this Impreza definitely stood out. Now, this comparison shouldn’t be interpreted as something negative—many very good-looking cars compete in the series—but rather it’s a testament to how complete this particular car is.
Everything from the broad shoulder lines courtesy of the Aerosim widebody kit slathered in WRC Blue to the Advan RS wheels wrapped in Nitto NT01s to the slender spokes framing AP Racing brakes reminds you of the fact that this car is a full build in every possible way. The suspension is simple and effective, built around Stance coilovers, fortified by Whiteline sway bars—efficiently keeping all four wheels firmly pressed against the pavement, even with 568 all-wheel horsepower instantly available. The engine can hardly be considered original, with many of the vital components having been changed out for stronger, lighter pieces—built by Ivo himself and tuned by Yimi Sports.
As the competition day ended and Ivo sat in his trailer, I had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the man within the helmet and racing suit. The man who essentially traded his racing career at its prime for something intangible—something many people never experience and that none can prove the existence of. The up-and-coming rally driver, the hillclimb racer on a winning streak left it all for the company of a solitary person in another country. This man was born to be the Bulgarian national champion, following in the footsteps of his parents—but instead he chose to become the champion of his home, a hero to his (now) wife and two sons.
1998 Subaru Impreza RS
Owner Ivo Mitkov
Location Sherman Oaks, CA
Occupation Owner/Tech, Renner Motorsports
Power 568whp and 535 lb-ft of torque
Engine EJ257 swap with Supertech 1mm oversized valves, valve springs, retainers; ARP head studs; Cosworth S2 camshafts, head gasket, connecting rods; port and polish; Darton 100mm sleeves; CP pistons; Renner Motorsports air intake, up-pipe, downpipe, intercooler piping, oil cooler; Gruppe-S exhaust manifold; Garrett GTX30/76R turbocharger; TiAL blow-off valve; Turbosmart wastegate; SPAL radiator fans; tuned by Yimi Sport
Footwork & Chassis Stance three-way coilovers; Whiteline 24mm front, 27mm rear sway bars; Pierce Motorsports rollcage
Brakes 14″ front, 13.75″ rear AP Racing big brakes with six-piston front, four-piston rear calipers
Wheels & Tires 18×10″ +25 Yokohama Advan Racing RS wheels; 275/30 R18 Nitto NT01 tires
Exterior Aerosim WRC widebody kit; Renner Motorsport rear diffuser; Prodrive WRC rear spoiler; Seibon carbon-fiber doors, hood, trunk; WRC blue paint
Interior Sparco Evo seats, seat brackets, harness; Prodrive edition steering wheel, shift knob
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