SP Rides: Blue Thunder


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Owner: Avery Tsui
Occupation: Electrical designer
Hobbies: Racing with SCCA, cars
Model: 2005 Subaru STi
Color: World Rally Blue
Interior: B&M Shifter, Smittybuilt seats front and back, mechanical gauges — water temp, oil pressure, voltage, speedometer, 20-gallon plastic fuel tank
Suspension: Perrin front strut bar, Whiteline 24mm swaybars front and rear, Cart Boy sway bar end links, Whiteline rear swaybar mounts, Whiteline steering rack bushings, and alignment by Island Brake and Alignment
Engine: Cobb AP2 engine management with STU legal pro-tune by AMS, Invidia catted downpipe, Greddy TI-C catback exhaust, SPT Shorty air intake, Odyssey High Performance battery
Wheels, tires and brakes: Kosei 17×9 K1-TS rims, 245x45x17 Hankook RS-3 tires, Hawk HP+ brake pads, Brembo Calipers
Interior: Corbeau racing seats

Avery Tsui grew up in a time period when films such as Vanishing Point, Smokey and the Bandit, and Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry glorified the powerful, domestic V8. These flicks left an indelible impression on Avery and encouraged his first forays into the thrilling sensation of speed.

Avery’s first ride was a ’69 Dodge Charger RT 440, which fit in perfectly with his drag strip-loving high school friends. He later added another Charger to his collection, along with a Valiant. Although a Mopar lover, he eventually became interested in imports because of the high price of gas — a phenomenon that occurred all over the country as people began searching for more affordable and economical means of transportation.

Straight out of college, Avery was introduced to the Honda CRX and fell in love with the nimble first generation Honda CRX. This led to further imports down the road, including an Accord and Integra. Eventually, he became interested in the SCCA Solo around 2001, thanks to his friends.

“I told my wife, I’m gonna try this SCCA thing, and I never looked back after that. It was just so fun,” Avery says.

Luckily for him, his wife, Joy, has been very supportive. It’s the absolute truth considering that Avery now owns a literal stable of race-prepped Miatas and Subarus. Whether it’s solo racing at Aloha Stadium or rally-crossing at Kalaeloa Raceway Park, he’s fully invested and a hard charger when it comes to performance.

Take the 2005 Subaru STi that graces these pages, for example. It’s a championship-winning, race-prepped chassis built to perform. As a previous owner of a Subaru, it’s what some would call a “Japanese muscle car.” It has oodles of power, but its stock steering characteristics aren’t the most amazing when compared to similar vehicles. Internal mods also are limited in the Street Touring Ultra class, in which Avery competes, so the focus has been primarily on increasing the car’s handling performance.

“It was a hard-to-turn, big family car. I’ve been able to modify it so that under braking it rotates more easily,” says Avery.

His setup focused on developing more traction, more transitional response, as well reducing weight. To accomplish this, he lowered the ride on Cusco Zero-2R coilovers, which were custom valved with 12kg front springs and 10kg rear springs. Roll is countered with the addition of a Perrin front strut bar, Whiteline 24mm swaybars and front and rear mounts with Cart Boy sway bar end links tightening up the suspension further. Whiteline steering rack bushings were added and then given a tight alignment by Island Brake & Alignment.

The wheels are Kosei 17×9 K1-TS rims with 245x45x17 Hankook RS-3 tires with Hawk HP+ brake pads paired with the big Brembo calipers.  The engine features Cobb AP2 engine management with an STU legal pro-tune by AMS at Rad Motorsports. An Invidia catted downpipe, Greddy TI-C catback exhaust and SPT Shorty air intake round out the performance mods. Weight reduction was slightly modified by installing an Odyssey high performance battery and by adding snug Corbeau racing seats.

The end result is a proven winner as this car, combined with Avery’s skills, earned the 2011-12 and 2012-13 Hawaii Region SCCA Championship in the STU class.

Avery would like to invite all car enthusiasts to try Sports Car Club of America Autocross at Aloha Stadium and RallyCross at Kalaeloa Raceway Park. For more information, visit www.sccahawaii.org.