1998 JTCC SYMS GF8 Subaru Impreza Wagon : 7Tune.com

27 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 1998 JTCC SYMS GF8 Subaru Impreza Wagon : 7Tune.com

1998 JTCC SYMS GF8 Subaru Impreza Wagon

In the final year of the JTCC a new contender from SYMS challenged the much more experienced Toyota Chaser and Corona Exiv factory teams and in doing so laid the foundation for future GC/GF Impreza competition in the JGTC.

SYMS (Specialist Yajima Motor Sports) is a well-regarded Subaru tuning and parts manufacturer started by Hiroshi Yokoyama in 1993 and is the motorsports offshoot of Yajima Industry Co. Ltd. The company#8217;s aim is to be consistently involved in motorsports and to bring the knowledge that racing provides to the consumer through a wide range of products for Subaru models from the Legacy right down to the diminutive R1 and R2.

This dedication to motorsport enticed SYMS to take part in the old JTCC Championship Series which at the time was dying a slow death with the Supertouring formula.

The 1998 JTCC season was regarded as a #8216;one make series#8217; by the final round at Fuji Speedway, due in part to the excessive costs to field a proper two car team and the withdrawal of Nissan (for financial reasons) and Honda (to concentrate on it#8217;s Formula 1 program). This, and strong competition from the JGTC series contributed largely to low crowd attendances, leaving only Toyota with factory and privately backed teams taking part with their JZX100 Chaser and ST202 Corona Exiv#8230; with one exception: a pair of GF8 Impreza wagons fielded by SYMS.

By this stage the JTCC had loosened its rules to allow rear wheel drive, larger rear wings and increased width all in an effort to entice more people to watch the series. It turned out to be too little too late, as by this stage the #8216;one make race#8217; mantra being perpetuated by the press had done the damage, at the same time giving the JGTC with its better manufacturer support a boost in attendance.

SYMS saw this as an opportunity to enter the JTCC with the highly visible GC8 Impreza wagon.

With its apparently superior low center of gravity attributed to the flat four EJ20 engine, the GF8 was seen as a true rival to the very successful ST202 Corona Exiv. The 2.0L quad-cam 16 valve EJ20 produced 300hp and 32.0kg/m which was instantly recognizable with its truly massive carbon fiber airbox drawing air through the GC8 Impreza#8217;s signature bonnet scoop.

Regulations stipulated that only naturally aspirated 2.0L engines could be used, thus limiting reliable power to around the 300ps mark. If anything, the wagon was chosen for its greater visibility rather than any aerodynamic advantage, in much the same way as the Volvo 850 Estate was fielded in the British Touring Car Championship in 1994, although the GF8 Impreza wagon#8217;s design allowed for a proper rear wing to be used, hence keeping it competitive#8230; or so it seemed.

The SYMS Impreza contested only the first 3 races (consisting of 2 rounds each) of the 1998 JTCC season, finishing last in the first two races and not even managing to start at the 5th round at Sugo. Japanese ace driver Hideshi Matsuda and team mate Sebastian Martino had a hard time keeping up with the vastly more experienced Toyota factory teams, and as a result SYMS pulled the plug on their JTCC campaign after the second round of the 3rd race at Sportsland Sugo. Nevertheless, much knowledge was gained from their JTCC racing endeavours which eventually filtered down into SYMS Racing Team products made available to consumers, just as they intended.

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