Subaru WRX Hatch With Custom Rear-Mounted Cooling System Will Crush High Temps and Track Days

This is functional fabrication at its finest.

cooling wrx lead
Tim Kautz

If you want to win on the track, reliability is key. It doesn't matter how fast you go if you can't finish the race. Cooling is a vital but often underrated aspect of this. Well, perhaps not for the builder of this awesome custom WRX hatch.

The car is a Subaru "XV" WRX hatchback built between 2007 and 2014, and it's far from stock. It's stripped out, caged, and it makes in the neighborhood of 900 horsepower. For that reason, it needed better cooling than usual. With the front of the car completely taken up by an air-to-air intercooler and an oil cooler for the car's dry-sump lubrication system, the radiator needed to find a new spot for itself. Enter the massive, custom-built, rear-mounted cooling system seen below.

Tim Kautz

It was built by Tim Kautz and his company Euroquipe LLC out of St. Charles, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Designed with the help of a plethora of computerized machinery, it's a beautiful sight to behold. A five-axis computerized waterjet, a CNC metal-bending brake, and a sophisticated 3D scanner were all involved in its creation.

The carbon fiber cooling ducts themselves are routed through the rear quarter windows of the WRX, and they meet in the middle at the shrouded radiator. Within the big metal box is a custom waterjet grate, electric fans, and the massive heat exchanger itself, of course. Custom-made underbody piping connects everything back up to the built flat-four up front.

The rear hatch of the car was 3D-scanned, and then everything was transferred into CAD—looks like Solidworks—to get everything fitting right before any of the custom parts were made. Thanks to CAM software, those files could be used with various computerized machines to get the end result looking just like what's pictured on the screen.

Below are a few videos of what those processes look like. You can see the 3D scan going on, as well as the five-axis waterjet doing its thing, cutting away a piece of billet at an angle to make a sweet-looking, radiator-defending grate. There is no video of the computer-controlled press brake, but that seems like a cool machine to have for custom fabrication. 

A ton of other custom machining was done to make this system work. A whole bunch of bespoke bracketry had to be designed and fabricated for everything to fit, and some nice-looking lathe work was done on some fittings as well. 

Below, you can see more pictures of the setup. The carbon fiber scoops, details inside the radiator cowling, and the routing of the cooling system. A lot of it was also mocked up in cardboard before any tools started cutting metal, a good step to take to avoid any expensive mishaps down the road. These people know what they're doing.

This setup will doubtlessly allow this WRX to stay cool on the track, and it looks just as good as it's likely to perform. Those carbon fiber ducts are just something else, really beautiful work. This is functional fabrication at its finest.

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