1998 Subaru Impreza RS – The Champion


During the summer time of 1991, Ivo Mitkov made one of the most difficult decisions of his life. He was preparing for an important rallycross event, a pivotal race for the 20-year-old Bulgarian driver, when he received the phone call. It was his girlfriend on the other side, and though he was thrilled to hear from her, Ivo instantly acquired that something was wrong. Perhaps there seemed to be a hesitation in her voice, the initial pleasantries burdened with the possible presence of a more important topic of conversation, likely something unpleasant. She was on vacation with her parents in the usa. This vacation was a particularly long one, and naturally, they missed each other. His mind raced with possibilities: Was somebody ill? Had the vacation been extended yet again? What may possibly be troubling her? If there seemed to be something wrong, expecting the worst, cautiously, he asked. The text he heard following the silence tuned his world upside-down. Her parents had decided to stay in America permanently; they might not be going back toGrowing up, Ivo was surrounded by cars and racing-as the child of two professional drivers, there was simply no escaping it. Previous to his birth, Ivo’s parents raced together in Group N rally, as driver and navigator. When Ivo came into this world, Bulgarian law required his parents to race separately. In such a dangerous profession, it had been understandable for your child’s best interest of course. So when Ivo explained it, Their state didn’t want to take care of more orphans compared to they had to. Ivo started racing karts at the very young age, and his first notable accomplishment was second place in the 100cc national championship at the age of eight, followed immediately the next year with first place. The trajectory of his racing career continued its upward trend, as he grew older. He started being employed as a mechanic on his mother’s team-staying true towards the belief that in order to be successful as a driver, you must first completely comprehend the car, since he grew into a teenager.

Ivo experienced little difficulty adapting to the cockpit of a rally car, transitioning from the open wheel karts he had grown up driving. He started taking his mother’s competition cars on test drives to fulfill his duties like a mechanic, so that as he grew more accustomed to the dynamics of the vehicles, he took them to open track days. He was competing with their own cars, racing for his mother’s team, and found which he was not only competitive, by the age of 19. He continued to win numerous hillclimb events and native rallycrosses. Having competed at the professional level for a year, the national championship had not been an impossible dream for Ivo, and he was determined to claim his rightful place on the podium that season. In that very moment, however, all thoughts of racing had been pushed to the rear ofAs Ivo held the receiver to his ear, his mind raced-his thoughts struggled to comprehend onto reality. Becoming successful by pursuing a passion is what many consider to become the ideal life, and Ivo was definitely on his way to doing just that. He had some important races coming up and needed to keep his mind clear. He acknowledged the alteration of plans to his girlfriend and hung up the phone. This was bound to require some digestion. He instinctively grabbed the secrets of his car, as he walked away from the phone. He drove aimlessly, organizing his thoughts. As he drove, all possible scenarios were considered, priorities checked, and decisions set. In 1991 at the age of 20, Ivo emigrated to thefrom the States, Ivo immediately found himself in a fast car, this time a Volkswagen. He knew not many people in this strange new country, but he quickly found that even here, individuals with similar interests tend to enjoy each other’s company. Very quickly, he was part of an arranged automotive enthusiasts collective that called itself the Renner Performance Group. Through this alliance of automotive enthusiasts Ivo met a certain man, a man with slightly more disposable income than he had. This man had just purchased a brand-new Subaru. It was a new model for 1998-or rather a whole new trim measure of the familiar Impreza model, but something about the 2.5 RS made it much more appealing compared to typical Impreza. Ivo saw this car frequently and planned to purchase one for himself-until his friend blew the engine just four years later. Without a destination to store the car, Ivo’s friend was made to sell it. Naturally, Ivo jumped on a chance to own the chassis he had imaginedwhere time Ivo considered many powerplant options. He had no goal of installing anything naturally aspirated into the car, and at the moment the only viable option was the turbocharged EJ20 of your new bugeye WRX. Ivo decided to see what Subaru would have to offer in the future years. In 2004, Subaru introduced the STI model to North America and Ivo opened a savings account. One year later, Subaru crafted a few minor changes towards the STI and Ivo got a new brand-new ’05 WRX STI, a formidable car in it’s own right-but Ivo did the unthinkable. He drove the auto to his shop and tore it apart, piece by piece. The new car he had just purchased was destined to be no more thanobserved in quite a while!

Let’s fast-forward to March 2014, when I had the pleasure of meeting Ivo personally. We were both competing at Chuckwalla Raceway for the second round of Redline Time Attack, in very different classes, of course. Within the company of several cars which were built purely for function with limited aesthetic qualities, this Impreza definitely separated itself. Now, this comparison shouldn’t be interpreted as something negative-many really good-looking cars compete in the series-but it’s a testament to how complete this particular car is. Everything from the broad shoulder lines thanks to the Aerosim widebody kit slathered in WRC Blue to the Advan RS wheels wrapped in Nitto NT01s to the slender spokes framing AP Racing brakes reminds you of the reality that this car is a full build in every single possible way. The suspension is effective and simple, built around Stance coilovers, fortified by Whiteline sway bars-efficiently keeping all four wheels firmly pressed up against the pavement, despite 568 all-wheel horsepower instantly available. The engine can hardly be looked atI had the opportunity to catch a peek at the man within the helmet and racing suit, as the competition day ended and Ivo sat in the trailer. The man who essentially traded his racing career at its prime for something intangible-something many people never experience and that none can prove the existence of. The up-and-coming rally driver, the hillclimb racer with a winning streak left all of it for the company of a solitary person in another country. This man was born to get the Bulgarian national champion, following within the footsteps of his parents-but rather he decide to become the champion of his home, a hero to his (now) wife as well as two sons. As being a fellow racing enthusiast, I needed to ask him if he could do all of it again, if he could return to being 20 years old, preparing for his next race as a prodigy-knowing what he knows now, 24 years later with literally another lifetime under his belt-would I be having this conversation with the 1991 Bulgarian national champion? He responded by using a resounding No, paused for just a moment, and elaborated that he has absolutely no regrets. By doing what he loves, he married the girl of his dreams with her he started children and provides for them. He then tilted his head toward the rear of the trailer where the Impreza was strapped down and cracked a grin, And I got my race car.

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