This year will be my rookie season in Formula Drift! I'm very excited to join the ranks of the pros and take my driving to the next level. I have a new pit mechanic (more on that later) and the car is undergoing a few changes to stay up-to-date and competitive.
One of the main changes is a head package. We had a lifter failure at a local event toward the end of last season, and since we already had to remove the heads and cam we decided it was a perfect time to upgrade! The motor is nearly ready to be re-assembled. We've also added some front tubing sections for increased durability.
CNC ported LS3 heads, ready to rock! These will flow significantly more than the previous heads, providing an expected 40+ whp/tq over our last numbers.
As I mentioned, we experienced a lifter failure toward the end of last season. To solve the issue we will be using a different type of lifter with less movement and a rocker arm designed for it.
To comply with the Formula Drift rulebook, we installed a fire suppression system with nozzles in the fuel cell, driver compartment and engine bay. This is much safer and more effective; instead of reaching over/around, releasing the extinguisher and spraying the fire myself (which would hopefully only be in one area), I can pull the release on my dash and douse the whole car with extinguishant.
While the car is being prepped, we will also be putting together an arsenal of backup parts, preparing the the transport, getting new decals printed and developing my program marketing. Stay tuned for more on my new crew member, news updates, a new wallpaper and more!
This year I will be competing in Formula Drift as a pro, running the full 7-event season! I'll be running with/against many of the best drivers in the sport so my program will need to be at the highest level possible.
The pit crew is one of the most important elements of a race program. A crew's ability and effort can easily make or break a race weekend. Over the years I've had incredible support from my friends and PSI, and now that I'm competing in the pro series I need a dedicated, capable mechanic who can be at every Formula Drift event (and possibly other events) to help me in the pit.
I'm also in need of a spotter to be my eyes and ears from the stands. This is also extremely important, as I need someone who can let me know how I'm doing from the judges' POV, let the officials know if there's an issue with the car and keep me apprised of any important information.
Compensation for both positions is all travel expenses. This includes a ride or airfare (when needed) to and from events, as well as food and lodging. Additional compensation DOE.
This is a great chance to get some real-world, hands-on experience in a professional motorsport. It's hard work, but you'll be meeting awesome people and traveling around the country to some of the best drift events in the world!
Those interested please email me at email@example.com with your availability so we can set up a meeting.
Last weekend I popped over to the Portland Auto Show to see the new FRS/BRZ and drool over cool cars. Michael came with me, and we were able to test drive a couple cars, take a ride in a Jeep on an offroad course and see some sweet rides. We went on Sunday so it wouldn't be so packed; our plan worked perfectly! Here are some of the cool things we saw:
This beautiful vintage Porsche was the first thing we saw when we walked in. It's one of Michael's favorite cars, and for good reason!
Sitting a few cars up the row was a Jaguar E-Type. One of the most beautiful cars in the world IMO.
On display in one of the side rooms were the Formula SAE cars of Oregon State University and Portland State University. The program calls for student engineers to build an open-wheel racecar and drive it against FSAE teams from other colleges; pretty rad!
One of my favorite exotics: the Audi R8. An excellent fusion of speed, luxury and beauty.
I couldn't resist taking a glamour shot of these three, which call one simple word to the front of my mind: money!
And now, the main feature. I had hoped the Scion area would be displaying an FRS proudly, but instead Subaru decided to show Portland it's sister car, the BRZ. Let me give this car a bit of an introduction, from my perspective.
I still own the first car I ever bought: a red 1986 Toyota Corolla AE86. It was an SR5 when I bought it, in fairly poor shape. There was a piece of cardboard on top of the battery to keep it from arcing on the hood (it was the wrong battery and too tall), the paint was starting to oxidize and it was in serious need of a tuneup. My friend Chris and I put in a ton of hours converting it into a GTS complete with motor, rear end and suspension (TRD springs, AGX shocks and RCAs). I love my little hachi to death and since I first got it I've wished Toyota would make cars like that again. When rumors of a new AE86 started populating the Internet I was pretty excited, but for a while it seemed like a pipe dream. Then Scion entered Formula Drift with a TC, and I optimistically hoped they were testing the market for a new AE86. As a few years went by that hope mostly faded and I assumed that I was wrong, that they had simply wanted to have a car in Formula Drift. Then the rumor mill started back up, culminating in Motor Trend posting concept photos of the FT86! Since then I've been eagerly watching the concept car change, evolving into a fine specimen worthy of it's hachiroku heritage. I've been waiting for this car for nearly five years, and I'm not disappointed.
The front of the car has aggressive lines, arched fenders and a fairly wide stance, while the rear is a cross between Subaru and Scion styling. The whole thing reminds me of an STI, a TC and (surprisingly) an RX-8. The concept behind both the FRS and the BRZ is an affordable, sporty, lightweight RWD car aimed at the younger crowd. Both models come with flat fours and LSDs, weigh under 2,800lbs and run in the low to mid $20k range.
The interior is just as you would imagine for a new-age 86: straightforward, with everything you need and nothing you don't. The tach is front and center of the gauge cluster, the controls are simple and the dash is largely unadorned. The center console of the dash (where the climate controls sit) resembles that of an AE86 quite strongly, and though it's not hub-centric the steering wheel is a simple hoop shape which is great for drifting. Another nice touch is the seats; color-stitched reclining buckets which actually look like they'll hold you during a drift or hard corner.
Overall I'm very happy with this new gem. It provides everything a hachiroku descendant should IMO, and I can't wait to check out the Scion version!
During this winter off-season, PSI and I will not be sitting around and waiting for 2012 but working to improve my program.
Above: Jason Oefelein meets with my father and me to lay plans for the 2012 season.
2012 will mark my rookie year in the Formula Drift Series. In stepping up to the next level of drifting, we want to ensure the car improves to match.
Above: My PSI built 6.6L LS2 powered Rocket Bunny S13.
Along with the off season run-through of the motor, PSI will be hard at work extracting more power from the LS2. The increased power will help me keep pace with the Formula Drift grid, though we will still be at the low end of the spectrum.
Above: Inspecting the LS2.
We will also be using this time to improve upon the current suspension setup and use it to develop new parts. We have a good amount of work to do before the start of next season. Check back here and at the PSI blog for more updates!
Just finished my introduction video for 2012, my rookie season in Formula Drift! Give it a watch, and if you know anyone who would be interested in becoming a sponsor please have them contact me!