by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Jason Swoboda

For many competitors in the Rally America National Championship, it’s not enough just to have a fast, durable rally car that flies through the woods; some competitors like to take their commitment to the next level with a standout livery. Brian Ballinger’s DW Rally Team Subaru Impreza WRX fits that bill perfectly, from its bright colors to the giant mustache that adorns its hood.

But Ballinger’s ride has plenty of “go” to go with its “show,” as he finished fourth in the Open class in last month’s Southern Ohio Forest Rally, and third in class in both regional events. Today, the Indiana native gives us a look at one of the most unique liveries in the entire Rally America paddock:

When did you pick up this car and where did you get it?

I bought the car in 2006 with 62k on the odometer. It was completely stock, but that didn't last long. I began power modifications almost immediately and was racing in my first rallyx about a month after purchasing the car. From there the addiction grew and I started slowly building it for stage rally while still participating in rallyx. About nine years later, it was finally ready and I entered my first stage rally.

Any nicknames for the car?

No nicknames. I don't think I've ever nicknamed any of my cars really. 

Why was this the right car for you to use in Rally America?

It was the car I learned to drive off road with. After nine years of rallyx and quite a few Indiana Rallyx sessions (think rally sprint, but without all the safety requirements), I knew that car inside and out. I knew how it would react and I knew how to control it. I just felt comfortable behind the wheel.

Aside from safety regulations, what have you done to improve its performance?

I haven't gone crazy with performance modifications. Bigger injectors so I can run e85. Antilag. Hot air intake smile Nothing crazy. I do have LGT gears, a front LSD diff and a JDM center diff. Next up will be some weight reduction because she's a fat pig right now and sometime soon after I may end up tossing in a 4.44 gearset too.

When it’s not rallying, where’s the home base for this car?

Bluffton, Indiana. I… I don't have much to say about Bluffton.

When was your first event with this car and how did you do?

My first even was an Ohio Valley Region rallyx in Hebron, OH. I think I got next to last, but I had a blast and was instantly addicted to the dirt.

Has anybody else rallied this car over the years?

No sir, I'm too protective! I will say I have let a select few people take it for a lap at rallyx before and that made me nervous enough. I probably shouldn't put this down in writing, but I did promise my co-driver Adam he could drive it for full rallyx. So at some point he'll be behind the wheel. Who knows, maybe it'll even be a stage!