Listen, there’s something special going on with this Mechanical Advantage time-attack team. Ima tell ya.
Maybe it’s the solid team dynamic. Or maybe it’s their race cars being both brilliantly practical & brilliantly engineered. It could even be the fact that when you take away the lap times, helmets, and wrenches… these are genuinely good people.
Kendal Samuel’s Subaru Impreza Coupe…
The team originated with Kendall Samuel from Colorado. He started messing with Subarus in order to 1-up his older brother who was into AWD Audis.
To put a timeline on it… Kendall bought his first WRX in late highschool, which sold at almost twice the price after a number of cosmetic mods. He was then able to flip his profits & purchase an STI, only to get t-boned 2 months later.
With insurance paying Blue Book Value, he was able to find another STI with a Cosworth motor. Like any 19 year old, the throttle-heavy Kendall cracked a piston and ended up swapping a built turbo, flat-4.
The new setup proved reliable, giving Kendall 50,000 miles, and all the drag racing & road racing he could handle. But his interest in rebuilding the Cosworth motor resurfaced.
Kendall sold his last STI to get this Impreza coupe from Virginia. Using his acquired swap knowledge & newly earned mechanical engineering degree, Kendall was able to rebuild the Cosworth & swap it into this Impreza coupe. His first true build got him a 10.97 quarter-mile time. Damn!
Finishing college, Kendall was offered a position with Honda of America’s quality division in Dayton Ohio. Being in a professional automotive field, Kendall was able to connect with like-minded enthusiasts… one of them being Grant Walker.
Grant Walker’s K-Swapped Miata…
Grant Walker has an insane background in Formula SAE with his alma mater, the University of Cincinnati. The series hosts events where students can compete in formula performance style vehicles that they design, fabricate, and develop from the ground up.
Grant was the suspension team lead + driver for the 2016 season… helping to get his team a Top-15 international placement.
After college, Grant wanted to continue his passions in motorsports, and saw his opportunity after accepting an offer to work at… none other than Honda of America.
Grant’s interest in getting back-on-track rekindled after hearing about Kendall and his homebuilt Impreza dubbed, The Slumdog.
Gridlife Track Events…
GRIDLIFE offers the perfect platform for anyone from a weekend warrior… to a full-on professional. Kendall took on the 2017 season in his Subaru with the help of his fellow Honda of America engineers. Grant Walker, Nick Gary, and Nick Mitchell provided pit support, and learned as much as they could trackside. As the team had taken shape, Slumdog finished 3rd overall in Unlimited, and 1st in Unlimited AWD. As the season closed, Grant realized he was infected big time.
Grant hit the ground running…
He tore down his ‘95 NA Miata at the end of 2017, swapped in a Honda K24, paired it with a BMW E46 ZF 5-Speed, installed a Cadillac CTS limited-slip differential, and added a Spec Miata roll cage. By March 2018, the NA was ready to compete alongside the Slumdog Subaru. And just like that, Mechanical Advantage Racing went from a single member/driver – to a team!
With two more builds growing from within the team…
Mechanical Advantage aims to compete in most of the #GRIDLIFE Track Battle classes. Kendall Samuel will continue to race in the Unlimited category with his Subaru. Grant Walker and his Miata will compete in the Track Modified class. Taylor Steck in her 350z, will compete in Street Modified… alongside David Ottobre and his S13. Each driver continues to build their own small team while helping one another stay on track… both figuratively & literally.
Text & photos by Jesuel Rivera.
Subaru Impreza Specs…
Slumdog runs a heavily modified EJ257 engine with a Borg Warner EFR 8474 turbo. It’s got a Callies stoker 83mm 2.7L crank, with JE (Callies spec) stroker pistons, & BC 280 cams. But that’s not all: It’s also got an XShift sequential transmission with LSD front/rear/center, and an ACT 6-puck Xtreme clutch with their Prolite flywheel.
Fortune Auto coilovers with an absolute slew of aftermarket links & bushings throughout. Whiteline swaybars front & rear.
Konig Hypergrams with 295 Hoosier A7s. C6 Z06 brake calipers with DBA pads & rotors.
Performance Electronics 8400A ECU with paddle shift (tuned via Dynocom Dyno), and the Performance Electronics digital dash.
Aero-wise, the Kendall’s Subaru has a carbon roof/hood/trunk. Mechanical Advantage made the custom flat-bottom, diffuser, & triple rear wing. They also made the widebody, and all of the ductwork. It’s got a Boersma-Built front splitter.
Turbo K-Swapped Miata Specs…
The engine in Grant’s Miata is a built Honda K24A1 with a Borg Warner EFR 7183, and a BMW E46 ZF 5-speed transmission (with Cadillac LSD). It has Weisco pistons, Callies rods, and BC cams.
Grant’s running the Kmiata (KPower Industries) tubular front subframe & baffled oil pan, with Fortune coilovers & Eibach swaybars.
Konig Dekagrams in 15×10. With a Stoptech Miata big brake kit with Stoptech race pads & rotors.
Performance Electronics 8400A ECU & digital dash
Aero-wise the Mechanical Advantage Racing (MAR) boys made the 80”carbon wing, flat-bottom, splitter, diffuser, and skirts.