SA's motorsport queen reviews her Subaru BRZ

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 BURNING RUBBER: Race driver Clare Vale displays some drift action in her Subaru BRZ. Image: Supplied ~

Clare Vale is a business woman, a wife, a mom and one of SA's most loved racing drivers. And she can drift too! Read the awesome review of her Subaru BRZ drift machine.

My daily drive has morphed into a drift monster towards the end of 2014, and I didn’t think the little Citroen Berlingo van I’ve been using would quite make the best choice for a review.

I had to come up with a compromise, and as my car is still technically street legal, I decided to share the experience of a drive in my Subaru BRZ.

This is not the car for you if you prefer something low-key that doesn’t attract too much attention. She carries full Liqui-Moly branding and being a Subaru, she has a sexy drift-wing accentuating her curvaceous rearm as well as a set of gold Turn 1 rims filling each wheel arch.


The standard exhaust has been replaced with two large central pipes that reek of ethanol (racing fuel). I wouldn’t suggest high-heels and a skirt for this drive. Firstly, both driver and passenger need to clamber over the side-bars of the roll cage – never an elegant manoeuvre, even in a race suit.

Secondly, the four-point harness needs to be adjusted and clicked into place before settling in and driving off – again, not ideal when you’re wearing a pencil skirt.

Once you’re comfortable, the fun can begin. Make sure all the kill switches are on, press the start button and the four-cylinder Boxer motor comes to life. The dash looks surprisingly standard, with a few interesting additions such as the boost gauge and the ethanol/95 mix display. Don’t bother to switch on the air-con, though, as the only cold air in this car is going to the turbo.


Speaking of turbos, this is where my BRZ differs from the regular road car off the dealer floor. Steve Clark at No Sweat Racing has installed a full-blown turbo kit and ECU-Tek software to make this car capable of blow-your-hair-back performance. Amazingly, the engine internals remain untouched, although the little car produces wheel spin even in fifth gear.

Other additions include bigger fans, an oil-cooler and a mighty, high performance clutch from ZF/Sachs. Up-rated brakes from ATE are an essential improvement on the standard brakes.

The standard gearbox has been enhanced with a quick shifter, making gear changes super quick, and a hydraulic handbrake operates the second set of ATE rear callipers. The handbrake is the drifter’s joystick, making it easier to lock the rear wheels, kick the clutch and send the rpm (revolutions per minute) into the stratosphere. This, of course, is not to be done while driving to work and back...

Much as I would love to, I no longer use the BRZ as my daily drive. Although stripping out the interior has left her with plenty of space inside, it also means that my groceries tend to roll around and get under my feet. This could be tricky, as all the safety features such as ABS, airbags, etc have been either disconnected or removed.

All in all, I’m perfectly happy to trundle around in the Berlingo, and keep my Liqui-Moly #86 in the workshop instead of the garage. It’s all worth it when I get the BRZ to the track, drop the clutch in second gear and drift away in a cloud of tyre smoke...