The story, as it was told to me by the Subaru guys at my local track. Subaru got into the 4 stroke game and someone at my local track was “all in.” Became a distributor of Subaru motors. Out of the box, the Subaru Robin engines were around 7-8 hp (can’t remember exactly what he told me there). But at my track, we have a few made scientist types that began modifying them and currently most of them are pushing 18hp. They have a unique sound (understatement of the year) and they haul some serious butt; really not too far behind the 100cc class. Maybe 1-2 seconds +/- off in some cases (depending on the driver obviously).
However, I guess when Subaru sold off their small engine division the Robin Subaru engines began being made in China and were no longer made in Japan. Quality took a serious dive and now the Subaru guys are forced to fight over a scarcity of original parts that available on the market from eBay or from private collectors. I guess its becoming harder and harder to source parts. So as they told me, they know at some point they are going to have to switch to something different. I guess the Subaru engines they run are called the Ex21, and then new china knock off ones are called the Ex210.
When I popped by with my 206, they were all VERY interested as they had all heard of them, but only the transient racers brought them to our track. So now that a local owned one, they felt more confortable getting an up close and personal look at them, asking questions about them, etc. . .
The feedback I get from these folks is mixed. They love the 4 stroke class, but the 206 is so weak perfromance wise (or at least compared to their Subaru’s) that they said they would get bored with them. Couple that with the fact that they can’t be modded, which is something the Subaru guys like doing to theirs.
The owner of the track just yesterday made a comment as we were watching a 4 stroke cadet class race. There were 4 entries, one Subaru and 3 206’s. The 206’s were way out back with the Subaru out in front by a healthy clip. The owner told me most of the Subaru guys, are into their engines (on average) about $3,800. He was shaking his head in the negative because he said for that money they might as well be running an X30 engine.
I had no idea what the Subaru folks had into their motors, it never even dawned on me to ask. But they are quick on the track, and impressive to watch.
I am interested in seeing a World Formula in person, just to see how they compare to the 206 and the Subaru’s as those are the only 4 stroke I’ve seen in person.