Let's be real here. The new rally car build has not come as an easy process for myself and my crew. In fact, the majority of the build process has been a nightmare. From a failed chassis build prior to this new chassis, to being left in the wake of a devastating blow financially, to betrayal... The birth of the new car has been a long time awaited and quite the uphill battle.
Where to even start really? The process of building, what is now referred to as "Stitch" (and for very good reason as you shall find out later) has taken approximately 2 years and 11 months, 2 different chassis', 3 different cages in the 2 chassis', all new safety equipment, all new wiring, a fresh engine build, all new suspension and drivetrain components, changing of hands regarding builders, hundreds of hours, more people than I can count on both my fingers and toes and several thousands of dollars. In fact, the only thing I think I was able to reuse on Stitch were my old BRAID wheels that I ran on Sassy, the hood off of Ian's old SRP2.5RS, my rearview mirror, a taillight from Sassy and my lightbar. Oh, and my skid plate. Everything else on the car is basically brand new.
I have cried more tears than I would like to admit, spent far more money than I ever intended and stressed way more than I think most people should ever have to when building a car. I have had to learn how to trust people all over again and even rebuild my own self-confidence when it comes to racing. These past 4 years of my life have brought upon great struggles both personal and rally related; to say the least. But, perhaps we will save that for another entry.
While it may seem like there is a lot of negativity surrounding the new build, in all reality- every challenge that I have been presented with has ultimately lead me to the people I belong with and my car is thankfully and finally in the right hands. And every ounce of hurt and disappointment that I experienced prior, has been worth it. I look around me now, and I am surrounded by hard working, dedicated and loyal people. The team at Turbo Time have been absolutely life saving and I am forever grateful for the blood, sweat and tears that have been poured into making everything right again. I feel in my heart, that we are finally where we need to be and I could not be happier right now. My crew have really gotten a chance to be involved in the build process and I am still in awe of the miles some of them have driven just to lend a hand to get Stitch going and to get me back in the driver's seat of my own car.
Not only have I been placed in the right direction, I have been given phenomenal support from my sponsor Link ECU who have waited patiently for the past 2 years and some change for my car to finally show itself to the world. They have encouraged me, believed in me, and continued to support me, despite my many failures and hurdles. Not only do they produce quality products, they also provide superior service. (More on them in a separate entry).
Before I get too sappy- let's get back to "Experiment 626: AKA Stitch". Stitch is a 1997 Subaru Impreza L that was purchased back in 2015 as part of another project. The only real history I had on the car was that it used to be a turbo swapped car that was used on the track. I never really wanted a blue car to be honest, but I have to say the color has grown on me, especially with the white, green and grey accents. And I cannot wait to show you all the finished product once we get there.
Where we stand right now, is that the new car is finally ready for some of the final touches, including a fresh paint job, new livery (building on the current color scheme of the car) and a few small upgrades and additions as we progress.
I wanted to share a snippet of what the last year has looked like from my perspective. Some of the images are from the initial build phases when Ian, Justin and I spent several hours in our 1 car garage prepping the chassis for a cage. However, the majority of the images you will see are from my time spent at Turbo Time; most of which were taken by yours truly, so in all reality you really do get a sense of what the environment I was surrounded in felt like, and what this experience was like for me.