Thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours, and countless amounts of swearing all for what? Burning a set of tyres? It’s not just a hobby that one can start and finish in a few weekends, it’s a full on lifestyle and a lifelong commitment. The people you meet at the track, the people you battle with, they become more than just friends, they become a major part of that lifestyle. You chat with them online about what parts will suit best, have the Sunday afternoon BBQ with them in the backyard while tinkering with the spanners, and spend long winded nights in the dark and gloomy garage patching the car back up to a drivable state for the next drift day which is just around the corner!
I sometimes forget that there are other worlds outside of my own, other groups of friends, other car clubs, and other close knit drift families. Everytime I leave my little corner of the world to venture out into the unknown is always an exhilarating adventure. I meet new people, create new connections and extend my automotive family. There was 4 days of automotive mayhem ahead and I was not going to miss one second of it.
With the 5th round of D1NZ being held in Christchurch, NZ it was a 16 hour drive from my hometown with a ferry crossing or an easy 1 and a half hour flight which was only sane option traveling from Auckland alone. Anyway let’s fast forward all the way to lunch time day 3, the exciting stuff. The Pro category was getting ready to fight for the top spot on the podium so there was half an hour or so spare to hunt the grounds. I managed to get a hold of Andy and his drift spec Nissan 180SX with an S13 nose chucked on the front.
The Handling Aspect: This part is one of the hardest to get right in the beginning and throughout your drifting life. While you can change parts on an engine it will usually only change one thing, your power rating. However when tampering with the geometry of your car everything changes. With a car that has got under 100 KW the easiest thing to do would be to apply skinny cambered rear wheels, stiff suspension and a nice locked differential. Here, we have a different case. Andy has plenty of power, he just needs a good suspension setup to get all of that 274 KW to the ground.
With the help of some 18×9 Riverside Altstadt up front and Nankang NS-2R Semi slicks there will be little to no understeer present. Helping the rear wheels grip is a massively wide set of again Riverside Altstadts, but this time in 18×11 inch wide. With such a wide contact patch and little to no negative camber on the rear it’s no effort for Andy and his yellow SIL80 to get all of that power to the hot, flat and somewhat uneven Christchurch tarmac.
Suspension wise the car has had a lot done to it to be able to get the best setup possible that Andy likes to use. Holding the wheels in place sit four nice Tein HE Drift Spec coilovers. These aren’t your average run of the mill coilovers and they aren’t cheap either. Along with the coilovers a full set of adjustable arms help tidy up the car’s geometry just that little bit better. Obviously lock is another area that needs to have attention thrown at it with any drift car producing decent power figures. So R.W.M has made up some custom knuckles and extended bottom arms to help Andy throw this car into the corners and while he might look out of control, the modified knuckles keep him in full control of the steering.
The Aesthetic Aspect: Obviously you want your car performing well engine and suspension wise, but you also want to look fresh as fuck out on the track. Everyone is trying to push the boundaries and be different these days. Andy had kept the styling subtle but still classy. Low, Loud and Wide is a break neck combination, and Andy’s SIL80 ticks all the boxes. The car sports a full BN bodykit wrapped in yellow by fellow Christchurch resident Jonny Martin. Keeping with the black and yellow theme a carbon fibre bonnet was sourced to not only look the part but also to shed the weight that heavy factory bonnets add to the car.
I love the little details on cars, the little parts of a car where the owners personality shines through the most. It gives a sense of pride and ownership. Everyone has different ideas because everyone has had different experiences throughout their lives. So its great when someone thinks outside the usual box and adds a little flare to their pride and joy.
Roof spoilers have to be the one thing at this moment in time that I think most cars should have. It just looks so natural on any car. It’s so subtle yet so effective at giving the car that little more something that makes it pop out from the surroundings
The Engine Aspect: There are a lot of options when it comes to a readily available power plant here in NZ. The three main platforms include the SR platform coming in both N/A and turbo along with the more uncommon SR20/22VE or VET which can be found in Adam Hedges D1NZ S14. The RB platform includes the 20/25/30 sizes also in N/A or turbo along with the terribly hard to drive RB20E most commonly found in Nissan Cefiros. I have also included a foreign platform that never originally came in the Nissan. The 1JZ/2JZ with the 2.5L and 3L turbo and N/A variants of the motor donated from Toyota Supras, Cressidas, Mark 2s and so on. Or you could go full out and snatch up a trusty and reliable V8. Andy here has chosen the RB25DET power plant to push along his SIL80. Currently NZ’s most common mash between the Silvia body and Skyline engine package.
The motor currently residing in the engine bay started its life out as an RB25DE with just over 100 KWs of power. Since then it has had many birthdays and received a nice T3T4 turbo to attached on itself now making the engine with stock internals a plus T. We all know how it goes when you get your mates mates cousin to chuck on a plus T kit, so Andy has made sure the package will stay alive and reliable with a 300ZX AFM and a Chipped ECU. The engine also sports 550cc injectors, a Tial 38mm wastegate with a top mount manifold. Keeping the bay cool is an upgraded GKTech viscous fan apparently producing 60% higher airflow. The fuel flows freely with a Sard fuel regulator backed onto a nice 40L alloy fuel cell with a much needed surge tank. So with the basic mods sorted, is it now time to go drifting?
The Drifting Aspect: Hell yes it is! With a reliable stream of the now 274 KW engine Andy has no trouble throwing down a set of tyres. I don’t think it’s like any other kind of motorsport. It has it’s own rules and regulation, it’s own style and type of cars, and it’s own feels and atmosphere that not many other motorsport genres can compete with. I’m not denying that F1 isn’t exhilarating or MotoGP doesn’t leave you at the edge of your seat, but there is just something different about cars being neck and neck, door by door, sideways with smoke pillowing out the rear end of the cars, it’s truly a mesmerising type of motorsport to be up close and personal with.
You can also see a major difference in the drifting style between even the smallest gaps that of Christchurch and Auckland. While I don’t want to bad mouth Auckland’s style and ability, I was amazed at the level the Christchurch cars and drivers were at. D1NZ let a few of the locals tear it up with some of the D1-Pro and D1 Pro-Am drivers during the lunch break and man was it a sight to see. You could have mistaken it for Japan, even though the cars are actually nearer to the bottom of NZ. Car after car hit the long winded, fast paced track bellowing smoke from both rear tyres with ease. This kind of driving is what excites me the most, no stress, no competitiveness, just a group of close knit mates sliding each corner as it comes.
Andy himself has used this reliable set-up proving it can be super competitive taking out the 2013 Drift South Championship. It’s a championship just for the drivers residing in the bottom island of NZ. From what I saw of his skill I can easily see how he would have won that title. It just looks so easy when you know your car inside and out, you know how it’s set up, how it handles, how much throttle to give and just how far you can push it. Andy’s SIL80 is a prime example of a competitive drift car that’s used just for the fun of it.
So we have gone over the engine, the handling, the aesthetic and the drifting. There is a lot of personal experience thrown in the mix along with years of watching drivers do what they do best. My one piece of advice for anyone starting out is start small. Get an underpowered car like a Silvia with an SR20DE or a Skyline with a RB20/25 DE lock the differential and go out to your local skid pan or drift track and learn to drive. Learn to control the car with no power before moving to a car with power. Only then should you go for more power.
Andy has finally had enough of the RB25DE+T and now has a bigger 30DET in the build to replace the old engine. Just because the car might be off the road for a while don’t not expect him to be out there again shredding even more tyres than before. With drift events happening non stop over the world, there is no reason not to get into the sport. The people you meet are the friendliest and most helpful humans, you don’t even need to really know someone to be able to start up a conversation and wonder where the time has gone. It’s all about the fun and enjoyment the sport gives you. Once that’s gone then you’re better off taking a step back and having a good look at why you joined the drift life in the first place. Have a look at where it all started, look back at the good old days because there will always be more drift days and you definitely will always want to be a part of them!
~~~ Andy’s Nissan Silvia ~~~
274KW / 367HP at the wheels tuned by Rapid Performance in Timaru.
Neo RB25DE with Standard Internals, Plus T with a T3T4 Turbo, 300ZX AFM and ECU (Chipped), 550CC Injectors, Top Mount Manifold, Tial 38mm Wastegate, GKTech Viscous Fan, 40L Alloy Fuel Cell with Surge Tank, Sard Fuel Regulator
RB25DET Big Box, 4 Puck Clutch, 1 Piece Drive Shaft and , GTR Differential and Axles
Skyline GTST 5 Stud Brakes, Hydro handbrake, Tein HE Drift Spec Coilovers, Full Set of Adjustable Arms, R.W.M Customs Knuckles, R.W.M Extended Bottom Arms
Front: 18×9 Riverside Altstadt with Nankang NS-2R Semi Slicks, Rear: 18×11 Riverside Altstadt with whatever’s on offer!
Full BN Bodykit, 50mm Front and Rear Widebody, Carbon Fibre Bonnet, 326 Power Wing, Wrapped in Yellow by Jonny Martin
Sparco Seat, Nardi Steering Wheel, Sylvester Seat Harnesses, Handbrake by Doigy, Autometer Gauges, Cage by Surfab
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Photos: Shaun Constable ~ Words: Shaun Constable ~ Proofer: Chadd Davis © Ambition Works 2013