Last Tuesday I picked up my new 2022 Subaru BRZ after a 3 month wait. I very much loved my 2014 BRZ that I was replacing, but after 7 years, 78k miles, and nearly 200 trackdays the old car was starting to show its age (when you wear out 2 seats you know you're running the car hard). I ordered the new car before the review embargo lifted, but I have a friend who operates the track where Toyota did it's pre-launch photography so I had it on good terms that the new car wouldn't disappoint (it was still a bit unsettling to order a car not only sight unseen but one that no one could even talk about yet).
I spent September with tempered expectations; thankfully, each new press release and piece of information was overwhelmingly positive and by Thanksgiving my excitement and anticipation were palpable. The only disappointing news the whole time was that the updated October delivery slipped back to the beginning of December(the original delivery estimate). I finally picked up the new car a week ago today and I couldn't be happier with it. The World Rally Blue looked great in person and the 6 speed manual transmission felt even better in the new car over the old (which was already the best transmission you could get in a Subaru). The new car felt like a direct upgrade from the old one, with all the positive traits intact and many improved. The additional horsepower and torque across the entire rev range was noticeable and a healthy upgrade even over my modified 2014 car.
The plan was to drive it around in the off season and start running at the track in late January when the next season started back up; however, there was a HPDE on Saturday and the track was short instructors. How could I ignore the desperate pleas of my friend? Of course, I could just take the old car (it'd be a week or two before I'd have a chance to take off all the performance parts and sell the car to Carvana, so the 2014 was still in track configuration from the previous week's Time Trial), but I decided that since the window tint had its 72 hours to cure the new car was ready for the track.
Of course, a showroom stock car really isn't track ready and even thought the BRZ is a performance car with good parts, the brake pads and tires are not appropriate for the track. The Primacy tires are meant for fuel economy and sliding, not track times and the stock brakes are adequate for the street put I've long since outgrown street pads at the track. I knew going into the day that I'd be slow and have to keep a close eye on the pads (I've got enough pace that I could vaporize the pads in a lap or two if I went full tilt). The instructors were running with the members first thing in the morning, I skipped the first session since it was cold, dewy, and the instructor meeting went a little long (there was no chance the brakes would last all 5 twenty minute sessions so skipping one wasn't a tough decision).
The new car felt great at the track. The turn in, and handling were at least as good as the my old, modified car even though all I did was let some air out of the tires (no alignment, or any upgrades of any kind!). There was a little more body roll than my old car, but that car was on coilovers and had upgraded swaybars so it barely leaned at all, so the comparison is a bit unfair. Even with the low grip tires the new car felt planted through the corners and was able to hold impressive cornering speeds. The brakes were about as good as I expected, they could do a couple of full force braking zones but not a full lap at maximum send and I had to do a cooldown lap every 3-4 laps to keep them working. Even with the lower grip and early braking, I was hitting higher top speeds in the new car than I'd hit in the old car with sticky tires and amazing brakes (the old car could out brake just about anything on the track).
I did 4 sessions and did 100mi on the track (put me up to 260 total miles). The brakes need to be changed, but I needed something to put on the old car when I sell it off anyway (unfortunately the front suspension knuckles were redesigned so the AP Racing Sprint kit won't fit on the new car unless they release an updated bracket or I find a shop to machine a new one). The new car was 10s a lap off my personal best in the old car, but tires and brakes will be more than enough to bridge that gap (I was giving up 0.5-1s in every breaking zone just to have enough of a safety margin to guarantee I'd make it around each of the 15 corners). I'd estimate the new car with just brake pads and tires is 2-5s a lap faster than the old car (that puts it on par with V8 Mustangs and Camaros with double the horsepower).
There's an event scheduled for next weekend, the forecast is improving and the new brakes should arrive in time and the wheels and tires from the old car bolt right on...