Sally McNulty Customizes her WRX to Challenge the Clock in
Global Time Attack
Sally McNulty is no stranger to speed – or to Subaru. McNulty’s been competing in time attack since 2010, and joined Global Time Attack and the Snail Performance Team in 2013. She spends her days working as an automotive service advisor and free time modding her Subaru vehicles, including her 2007 WRX time attack car. She is extremely passionate about her work, always upgrading parts to perfect performance and finds ultimate reward as the car performs better with each enhancement.
Sally McNulty competes in time attack in a 2007 Subaru WRX.
On the Hunt
McNulty, 31, was going to the track before she bought her 2007 WRX. She admired these all-wheel drive cars, mostly Subaru vehicles, flying through the corners. In time attack racing, one car at a time attempts to set the fastest lap for its class. “They handled great and were super responsive,” she remembers. As she learned the ropes of time attack racing, she participated in ride-alongs with people who raced in Subaru vehicles. “These cars are awesome,” she says. “They sound cool, they look cool, and they’re quick.” So she started hunting for her first Subaru with time attack in mind. It was not a short search. “I saw a lot of not-so-great mods,” she says, “or people who weren’t very nice to their vehicles. I was really picky about what I wanted.”
See McNulty in action and find out how she’s strengthened her racing ability at dp.subaru.com.
After a year of looking for just the right race vehicle, she hit pay dirt: a 2007 WRX with “tasteful mods,” as she puts it. The previous owners hadn’t done too many modifications, leaving plenty of room for McNulty to customize it for her own needs, and it had only 36,000 miles on it. She notes that the previous owner had taken really good care of it. “I took it for a test-drive, and I was in love,” she remembers. She was so certain that this would be the vehicle for her that she brought a cashier’s check for the full amount with her in her pocket.
I came back after the test-drive and handed over the check, I just told them, I want it.
For Work and Play
For the first year, McNulty drove her WRX to work every day and to the track on weekends, three hours away from her home. “It’s not the smartest idea,” she admits, “but it didn’t let me down.” After a year of putting the vehicle through its paces on the road and track, she decided it was time to do some heavy mods that would mean taking it off the road. She’s able to do a lot of the mods herself, but if a project is more involved, she’ll have the work done by others − like the transmission swap for this vehicle. “I could do it,” she says confidently, “but it would take me a while.” Once she made the decision to dedicate this vehicle to time attack, the list of mods grew lengthy. The transmission came from a 2006 Impreza WRX STI, which she coupled with an STI turbo. The suspension has been overhauled with Fortune Auto 510 coilover shocks and a Snail Performance subframe.
She also added a roll center kit and race anti-lift kit, both from Whiteline, to compensate for lowering the vehicle, among other suspension upgrades. To maintain precision braking with these performance mods, McNulty has Forge 6 piston front brakes and STI Brembo1 rear brakes with Techna-Fit steel braided brake lines.
This being McNulty’s vehicle, she also modded it for improved aerodynamics – and looks. The weight-saving carbon-fiber hood is from Seibon®, with an Alumalite™ splitter from Phoenix locals RAworx, and canards by FUNKtion Aero. Inside, she’s swapped the seat, replaced the steering wheel with an NRG hub, and added a 6-point harness, all from Sparco USA.
Upkeep on a racecar is time-consuming, and it’s no different for McNulty.
“At the race, you figure out your strengths and key areas you can improve,” she says, and then she adjusts for a better run between sessions. “I try to flush the brake fluid between every event. The brakes get hot, or there can be air bubbles in the line that affect your stopping power.”
She basically goes over the entire vehicle looking for leaks and making sure everything is in tip-top condition, especially when it comes to safety.
Sharing Her Savvy
“If you have a Subaru and you decide to go to some track days, the best thing you can do is get seat time. People think they need to do a lot of mods, but don’t modify your car first.” She advises getting to know your vehicle and your driving style before spending the money on mods. McNulty would know, since she’s now an instructor for new racers with the National Auto Sport Association (NASA).
She’s also instructed plenty of women who have taken up time attack. “I like working with women,” she says. “I have a lot of patience when instructing them, and I think women can get intimidated by a male instructor. They think they have to be fast or be perfect every time,” she explains. “People are already nervous about going on the track and potentially hurting their car, and it is intimidating. It cuts down on their nerves when I tell them that I started out the same way a few years ago.”
It’s All About the Teamwork
As much as she loves modding her cars and going fast, McNulty acknowledges that it’s the people who make it fun. “Racing is my first love, my main priority,” she says, “but the thing that makes it the best is my teammates at Snail Performance. We’re all a big family, and we support one another.”
2006 Subaru Legacy GT
McNulty’s 2006 Subaru Legacy GT
After buying her first Subaru, McNulty realized she needed a daily driver. Enter the 2006 Legacy GT. She lowered it to give it a more aggressive look, and then began adding rare and exclusive pieces to truly make it her own.
- JDM Ganador Mirrors McNulty has a set of LED Ganadors from JDM that she believes are the only ones in the country. “And I have them,” she said with satisfaction. They’re hard to import from Japan to the United States, and they’re expensive, making them the rarest mod on the vehicle.
- JDM Rain Visors. McNulty noted that the rain visors she installed on her Legacy GT were made for a Japanese version of the car and different from what you can easily find in the U.S.
- Work Meister Wheels. The Legacy GT sits on a set of custom, one-of-one (or four-of-one) wheels that McNulty says are unique. There aren’t any other wheels in the same bolt pattern, color, and size on the planet.
2015 Subaru WRX
McNulty’s 2015 Subaru WRX
With her 2007 WRX and 2006 Legacy GT now too heavily modded to drive every day, McNulty needed another option to get her to work. Enter the 2015 WRX, which of course, she has modded to make it her own.
- Coilover suspension. It wasn’t long after she bought the vehicle that McNulty had it at the track – but only to pick up the adjustable coilover suspension that she would soon install.
- HyperBlue STI side pieces and fender badges
- Side skirt and front lip extensions
- JDM front grille and third brake light
- Gram Lights wheels
- Lift kit
- Rain visors
1 Brembo is a registered trademark of Freni Brembo S.p.A.