First Mexican 1000—April 27, 2013
The Outback was driven from San Diego to Mexicali; raced 1,200 miles to Cabo. Outta Sight Racing took first in class, then, fully loaded with tools, spares, and two people, driven back to San Diego.
First Rally—June of 2013
Paul and Laura took the Outback #12, to Hell’s canyon, this was not really an event, it was an adventure rider get together that they took the car to. Paul and Laura drove it down the Dug Bar road which is pretty bad and leads down the Snake River.
Bible Creek Hill Climb—Aug 19, 2013
Paul entered the Outback in a hill climb in Oregon for the fun of it. He was pitted on a road course against street machines—Corvettes, Porches, WRX’s and the like. This put the car way out of its element but it hung in there. Paul did not place, but he did not get last and the car did not break despite pushing against the red line all the way to the top!
First Show / Mud Pit— Sept. 6-8, 2013
West Coast Subaru Show
Paul could not attend this event , but fabricator Ray, chase crew member Cory and myself took it to show it off. We knew about the mud pit they had there and Paul warned use sternly not to take it in. After seeing so many other Subaru's getting stuck, I took it in. It did just fine. I even stopped, backed up, changed directions and kept going. Of course, I was washing mud off underneath for a week and over a year later, mud is still stuck in places and even rusting parts from the lye in the mud. Paul was not happy.
Second Mexican 1000 May 2014
The second year, we debated tearing the engine down to examine it, etc. but the only thing that was done was to install a set of race grind cams. I was curious about the posts from the kids on Subaru blogs. Comments such as “I can now burn all 4 tires down the block.” I had installed performance cams before but have never seen that kind of power. So I footed the bill and installed a set. The manual tappets were adjusted fairly tight but I still got a lot of clatter from the cam profiles. I called the grinders and they suggested going even tighter on the clearance. Yeah, that’s easy to say if you are not the one footing the bill for floating valves! I left the noise in.
The result was not even noticeable until the RPM’s had topped 4,000, then you could feel more pull than previously.
Paul drove from Oregon to Ensenada, raced 1,200 miles to Cabo, took first place again in his class and drove back to Oregon, always under its own power.
I never felt a need for more power. In more than 2,400 miles of racing, and 12,000-plus miles of highway and testing, we have never had a mechanical problem, the only issue has only been with suspension components breaking under the extreme conditions in Baja.
One special included running at 100+ MPH for 20 miles in 100 degree heat with the AC blowing cold! Of course, the ride down and back was at 80-plus the whole way with AC blowing as well. The car even averages 20 mpg!
NOTE: About Head Gaskets— For those sharp eyed techs who can tell the brand of the head gaskets from the previous pictures—yes, those are Fel-Pro. For those who read other people’s blogs that bad-mouth Fel-Pro I give this side note: One reason I agreed to sponsor Paul, was because he is a nice guy. The main reason was to field test my abilities and brand choices in building day to day engines for customers. After two consecutive wins in the Mexican 1000, a hill climb event, the Fel-Pro’s are doing fine and have not been changed.
On a personal test, I pulled the heads off my own Outback after 3,000 miles on new Fel-Pro gaskets, re-installed the same head gaskets and drove the Outback to Spokane and back, a total of 720 miles. I then just kept driving the car. They have not failed yet. I have not had a set fail yet on a Subaru.
A Couple of Technical Q & A’s
Q. Why the stock air cleaner?
A. We thought about every item on or around the engine with two questions in mind:
1. Will it add that much more horsepower for the cost? 2.Will it make the engine more or less reliable?
When one examines the stock air cleaner on this Outback, it became obvious that for the type of terrain and heat we were going to be in, we would be hard pressed to build a more effective air filtering system. First off, it is a true cold air intake, drawing in outside air. Most aftermarket air intake systems draw in under hood air which can run 30 to 50 degrees hotter than the outside air. On this model Outback, the air was pulled in from the grill area and then dropped into a box between the inner and outer fender before coming back up under the hood to the filter element. This box acts like a pre-filter, letting gravity sort out heavier than air elements like water, rocks, small birds etc.
Q. Why a catalytic convertor?
A. This Subaru was not being designed just for off-road competition. Paul was looking ahead to other types of events. Some organizers of road rally’s specify the car have a cat converter. So we left it on and all the other item to make a car street legal.
Q. Why air conditioning?
A. Drivers and navigators are required to wear helmets and full racing suits. Our vehicle was one of a few that had a windshield. The cabin heat would have cooked Paul and Laura alive without AC. As it was, the under-drive pulley did not spin the compressor fast enough at 20–30 MPH to be effective. The next year we replaced that pulley with a full size one that weighed the same.
A view from the driver’s seat at the more colorful Baja landscape.
Our engine never even got close to running hot, despite running hard in gravel and deep sand for hundreds of miles in ambient temperatures in the 100’s and dramatic altitude shifts of Baja.
2015 February: Time to Examine the innards: Update coming . . .
The Making of a Winner: Building Paul Fournier's Mexican 1000 Subaru Power Plant.