If you read my last post, I was rushing to make the Laurel ready for the August bank holiday drift day at Teesside. Sadly all my effort was in vain, We got the to the drift day just fine, but no sooner had I paid up and signed on, than I was getting my money back and packing up again.
What happened? Well, it started just as we were unloading the car from the trailer, I backed it off with no issues, parked the Laurel up next to the trailer in readiness to set up my pit area. I’d left the car idling so as to get it warmed up, when I noticed something, there was an unusual amount of smoke coming from the exhaust. I gave the engine a few blips and sure enough I created a smoke screen that engulfed the road behind where I had set up my pit. Not good!!
What do I do now? Run it anyway and risk plunging all of Teesside Autodrome into a dense fog?
While there are many out there that would probably have sent it regardless, I’m not that way inclined, the thought of ruining a drift day for others is not something I ever want to do.
So, feeling slightly dejected I headed to the office, got my money back (thankfully there was a queue of reserves waiting!), loaded the car back onto trailer and headed home.
Once home and unloaded it was time to try and diagnose the problem. The first thing I checked was whether there was mayo forming, if you haven’t done this before its a pretty simple test all you need to do is remove the oil filler cap and check it, if you have something that looks like mayonnaise on it, this is usually a sign that coolant is making its way into the engine and mixing with the oil.
the next thing I decided to do was a compression test, this proved inconclusive as all 6 cylinders results were very close (around 150psi).
Then I decided to drop the engine oil and coolant from the engine to see if there were any signs of the two mixing, both looked fine, dirty, but otherwise fine.
However I hadn’t yet done a sniff test, so this meant I had to fill the engine with oil and coolant again (don’t worry I put fresh in just to be sure!)
The sniff test also proved inconclusive the fluid didn’t change colour. Finally after talking with a friend I decided to pull the intercooler piping off to see if there was any sign of oil or coolant in the pipes. It was just as I popped the coupler for the pipe going from the turbo to the intercooler off that this happened…
Sure enough there was fluid in the piping! As I took the rest of the piping and the intercooler off, the extent of the problem became clearer. Every piece of pipe I removed dribbled fluid from it, then I finally looked at the turbo itself. It was easy to see where all this fluid had come from:
So now I know what the problem is, what now?
As I write this, I’ve already removed the turbo and sent it off for a rebuild with Midland Turbo. They will be refreshing all seals and upgrading the ceramic internals with steel. I’ve also booked myself onto the next drift day at Teesside on 4th November, as I’m determined to get at least one full drift day before the end of the year!
Will I make it? Will I get to do a skid in the Laurel this year? Watch this space!
Firstly apologies, I have been quiet on the blog lately. This has been for a number of reasons, some are website and product related (new stuff coming soon!), the main reason is what I am about to discuss.
Following the Rogue Concept as you may remember from my previous blog post, the Skyline had developed a misfire. This turned out to be a coil pack issue, and mostly my own fault. Since I had started drifting nobody ever told me that it’s a good idea to remove the coil pack cover to make sure the coils don’t overheat. I did often wonder why so many drift cars had their coils exposed but I guess it just never clicked.
Anyway the coils have now been replaced and the Skyline is working well again, good time!
While I was working on fixing the Skyline, Lucy asked me if I wanted the Laurel, I knew instantly why she was asking this… she was thinking about getting a new project.
We have a rule in our house that neither of us is allowed more than one project car at a time, mainly because we don’t want our home looking like a scrap yard. So what would this mean if I did take the Laurel? after discussing it with her the deal was that if I took the Laurel I would need to sell the Skyline, and the money from the sale of the Skyline would go towards Lucy’s next project. That’s fair, I mean neither of us have money coming out of our ears.
But did I want to sell the Skyline? When I first got this car it was a learning curve, both in terms of drifting and spannering on it. In the (almost) five years I’ve owned it, it has been amazing and has taken everything I have thrown at it. It has helped me understand how the changes I make affect how the car handles, in some cases how they have improved things and in other cases where I have made things worse and as a result had to revert them. The big thing for me though was that I always wanted one of these cars (but not an NA).
When I first bought this car, it was between this one and a four door GTST that was in Ireland for the same price! I did kind of have my heart set on the four door as it was everything I was looking for, but the guy selling it took 6 months to come back to me about whether or not it was still up for sale (it was!!) by which time I’d settled on this NA beauty. Yes it was NA but at the time turbo engines were still reasonably priced so had I levelled up quick enough I could save and do a turbo upgrade at a later date.
As time went on the prices of RB’s started to increase and as a result I decided to just focus on pushing myself as far as I could with the NA, until I could go no further.
Then at the beginning of this year, Lucy decided she wanted to learn to drift… with the Laurel, so we got it ready and took it to Santa Pod so she should start off using the play pens. I had a few goes in the Laurel too and immediately fell in love with how amazing the turbo RB felt, and how well the Laurel skidded, so much so that when I was struggling to get the Skyline ready for Rouge Concept, Lucy was trying to get me to take the Laurel in its place if I couldn’t get the skyline ready.
So did I want the Laurel? Well, from the first day Lucy brought it home, I said to her that if she ever decided to get something else I would take it off her. Now I was in a position to do so it was a lot to consider. Yet there was something extremely inviting about having a project I could pretty much start from scratch.
Granted it had already had some mods done, for instance we updated the suspension to HSD’s and we’d fitted a welded diff, but other than that there hadn’t been a huge amount done. It also had some interesting… niggles that needed addressing, such as some bad earthing issues that caused the gauges mounted on the dash to stop working at random points.
There is also the fact that the Laurel is a four door, and the Skyline I wanted before the one I actually bought was a four door! What’s more it’s a bit different, there aren’t many Laurel’s in the UK at the moment and it’s always nice to have something interesting.
So it is, that the time has come for me to let the Skyline go. At the time of writing this post I have done what’s needed to prepare the car for sale, and have even accepted a deposit on the car, pending an MOT.
As dumb as it sounds I will be sad to see the Skyline go, but I know it’s going to a good home, and it will free up my time to focus on making the Laurel everything I want it to be and more.
When I wrote the last blog about round 1 I was also very excited at the thought of seeing the championship land in Sunderland for round 3 but there was a catch.
As the date crept in closer a worry set in, no venue was announced would the event get cancelled? Then as if they could read my mind the post came up….. BDC would now be held at Teesside for round 3. I love Teesside for drifting and in my eyes it is the home of British drifting so although it’s further away I couldn’t complain.
I now had a chance to see if there was progress in the future for BDC. I would see how much had changed since round 1.
Where do I start, well I guess from the start, sadly I didn’t make it to the practiced day but I was up bright and early on Saturday for pro Am. when I arrived it was clear someone had been reading the last post the trade section was full of life and well actually, it was full in general. It had a variety of stalls including Driftnuts/Project touge, Walton motorsport (which felt like a real shop this time), Ratrap and BDC merch. That wasn’t all the trade area had many cars on display which filled the voids and made it feel like it flowed well. The music from the RC track and the live stream playing at Walton motorsport stall made the area seem more alive.
So overall the improvement hadn’t been drastic but it was a big step in the right direction.
Right down to the action
It’s no secret I was hoping to see Ian Rutherford do well and I was in for a treat but before that we had the pleasure of seeing some drivers put it all on the line.
The day wasn’t without its victims Jolene was one of the first to fall from grace after putting in excellent runs during practice and fighting gearbox issues it seemed she was going to be a worthy contender but it all went downhill with a bang on Southbank as her diff give up the go (insert hello darkness my old friend song).
William Hanna was soon to follow retiring for unknown reasons it was a real shame to not see these drivers in battle.
Another return for this round was team battles. As a spectator this was a nice addition, hopefully in time more teams will take part. Sadly although the team runs were fun to watch they held a heavy price for Nerijus Voliukevicius seeing his skyline burst into flames at the end of the run. Thankfully the fire was put out fast but meant he wouldn’t make it to his battle with Maciek Blazejewski.
Throughout the day the new comer Maciek ran a nice high line round southbank which helped see off the competition and put him in contention for his first podium. Veterans of the sport would not make the fight easy as Ian Rutherford and karl Farrar also landed into in the battle for a podium.
The day ended seeing new comer Maciek land in a well deserved 3rd, Ian 2nd and karl 1st. It was fantastic to see Ian end the day on the podium as a regular at Teesside.
After an impressive day 1 it seemed the bar had well and truly been stepped up. Practice went well and was rather uneventful seeing most drivers take a safe approach. The weather had been fantastic up until qualifying then it all went wrong…………….
The track turned into a pool and most people ran for cover in the driftnuts tent.
Thankfully the rain was short lived and action was back underway after using the drift cars to dry the track.
As the drifting got back underway we had the pleasure of seeing drivers of days gone including Sweeps the founder of BDC, the king of style Alex Law and fast and furious Scotty. Although there weren’t many returning faces it defiantly gave BDC the feeling that a void had been filled. Hopefully the team at BDC will continue to invite drivers back.
The real heroes of drifting.
The staff at BDC had kindly gave me pit access for this event so as qualifying wrapped up I headed to the pits to see what was happening. Something that is overlooked by many is the people that keep the cars on track and I wanted to catch a small look into the hard work of the teams.
As teams ran to each others aid many cars sat in what appeared to be a state of disrepair.
Sadly no matter how good the team were some cars sadly did not manage to make it back out but in amazing fashion some seemed to perform miracles bringing the monsters back from the dead.
Time for war
Onto battles it went sadly the low origin got bumped out in qualifying but the battles had some heavy hitters paired up early on. Sadly one of my favourites Martin Wonnacott got knocked out prematurely after a tough battle and destroying the rear of he car on the final wall …. again, poor car
I think it is fair to say something had happened since round 1 the level of driving had really hit another level, at the start of the year I thought it would be a walk in the park for Aurimas but many driver had really brought the fight
The man on a mission was Ricky Lawrence fighting off many big names and eventually battling it out in the final to see off Aurimas for first place.
Well many companies ask their customers what they need to change and they clearly don’t listen was BDC the same?
As amazing as it seems the staff at BDC really had stepped up and cover absolutely everything mentioned in the previous blog.
Everything from the trade area, old school drivers and even the commentators had all been stepped up.
If the BDC keeps up this standard and still builds on it there will be a promising future.
How can you not love this car really? With a real JDM feel and a nice reminder of Ken Nomura’s D1GP car Lee Barker has been around for a few years and is a big fan favourite and I must admit having a death or glory sticker on his car defo makes me love it more.
Sadly Lee was knocked out earlier on in the day but with a consistent driving style and the confidence to run the wall he is a driver to watch in the future.
Go follow his drifting https://www.facebook.com/leebarkerdrifting/
Big thanks to the BDC for the pit pass and see you all at another event keep up the good work
Words and pictures by Craig (Project Thirteen)
Thanks for reading
In a sea of clapped out missiles and bangers flooding the drift scene it is really hard to find a unique car on a drift day. That being said there is potential in every car and Robert has proved he is the master of rising the phoenix from the ashes.
This story started back in 2017, as a regular at Teesside I tend to recognise the cars but I saw Roberts mx5 for the first time in all its glory……… or lack of it.
The mx5 is a fantastic first/budget drift car so they tend too look a bit rough but Roberts really did set the bar pretty low, having said that with an initial price tag of £400 you get what you pay for. The plan was clear get as much seat time as possible and it was going well.
Roberts regular appearance at Teesside and googly eyes were boosting popularity of the happy looking MX. Every drift day Robert progressed making upgrades and tidying up the little car. Most just drive their cars into the ground but Robert seemed to have developed a love for this car and that’s when the money started to flow into it.
Robert was kind enough to share the spec of his car
Engine: 1.8 standard motor.
Engine mods: air filter, big radiator, 2.5″ exhaust, stage 3 clutch and erm 1 silicone hose ……….
Suspension: HSD mono, rack spacers and Destroy or Die hubs.
Diff : standard ratio welded.
Wheels: Rota Grid V’s front and Japan Racing rear.
Body kit: Duce aero, BGW, custom hardtop and neons.
Interior: 1 x bucket seat + harness, hydro, Kode steering wheel and 6 point cage with door bars.
As you can see the make over paid off the once jolly MX is now an angry little monster!
I have a lot of respect for Robert and his car as he has built this car himself don’t get me wrong it has little flaws but I think it suits them and when Robert talks about the car he uses the little things to bring back fond memories like the shortened bash bar from the reverse Teesside day and the paint job he did the day before an event.
Part of drifting is the enjoyment you have building your car and enjoying it with friends, Robert has this down to a tee and you very rarely see him without a smile.
As Robert has shown you can have a total blast of a time in one of these plucky little cars without totally destroying your bank.
What does the future hold for the angry mx5? As the car stands it would benefit from a little boost well Robert has that covered he has a turbo conversion and is just awaiting time to start the change over from n/a to turbo this is fun car to keep an eye on.
Robert would like to thank:
Brad and Chantelle at Driftnuts
Teesside Autodrome (for many toes out of the gravel)
and the whole drift fam Owen, Pete, Martin and Chris and of course my fiancé Katie that helps out and keep the dream alive.
This is my first feature car I hope to do more in the future so keep an eye on the blog.
Craig Johnston (project thirteen)
C Whites photography (image supplied by Robert hall)
Ever since I first started drifting, Driftland had been a bit of a goal for me.
I knew I had to drift there at some point and in 2018 I was offered a chance to do just that by taking part in the Rogue Concept charity event organised by good friend Ewan Stark. Sadly this didn’t end up happening as a couple of days before the event the engine of my beloved Skyline started to get a bit “tappy”. Thankfully it turned out to only be the water pump, however this was only discovered after the event.
So as you can imagine when he asked me earlier this year if I’d like to take part again I jumped at the chance!
I picked up a trailer from Rothwell Trailers early Friday morning, and headed home. When I arrived the Land Rover started to die and wouldn’t start up again. After some discussion with a friend of mine and a close examination of the fuel receipt from the petrol station that morning. I realised in my half asleep state I had picked up the wrong pump nozzle and filled the truck with petrol instead of diesel. At this point I started getting a strange sense of deja vu, was I ever going to get up to one of these events?!?
Thankfully my friend Ste came round and helped me drain the tank before filling it with Diesel after which, the truck fired right up! Crisis averted!
I then got the car loaded on the trailer, and got the Disco packed with all the necessary tools, wheels etc. and I along with my better half Lucy and our dog Benji were on our way.
There’s no denying the journey up to our hotel for the night was long but nevertheless it was so picturesque, and the roads were so quiet!
The next morning we had an early start, albeit not as early as other drift day mornings! We arrived at the track for 8:30am and got straight to work preparing the car for the day ahead.
Shortly after briefing, where we learned the layout for the morning ahead, it was time to hit the track!
Track time was split into 5 minute sessions for a maximum of 6 cars at a time. As it was my first time driving here I wanted to get straight out and get a feel for the track. My first session didn’t quite go to plan, Somehow, even though I had checked them before going out I had way more pressure in the tyres than I wanted so I spent the majority of the first session spinning! Although I did manage a couple of half decent skids despite holding up those on track with me!
After I’d been back to the pits to correct my tyre pressures (and a quick pep talk from Ewan), I headed back out for my second session, this time the car felt much better as far as grip was concerned, and I managed a few more decent skids (as well as the car stalling on one spin out and not start for what felt like forever!, this caused me to get a telling off by the marshals when I got off track.)
After this run I had a better understanding of what I was doing wrong and what I needed to do for my next session so I headed straight back out. Sadly this time, it seemed everyone else’s turn to impede me, every time I got ready for the big corner, someone had already spun just in front so I only managed a few skids on the tighter corners at the bottom of the track.
After a break and a drink I headed back out determined to push myself harder than ever! Sadly the Skyline had other ideas and as I initiated for the big corner… nothing happened, I just carried on driving straight on!
What was wrong? I tried a skid on the tight corners and it felt like either the clutch was slipping or I was only spinning one wheel (impossible unless my diff had become an open diff again??)
I headed back to the pits and it was making a number of strange noises, from a ticking noise that sounded like it was coming from the back of the engine when revved (which disappeared shortly after!) to the engine sounding lumpy at best. I let it cool for a bit as it was nearly lunch time.
During the lunch break all cars were due to be out on the track for a meet and greet type thing/photoshoot. I drove the Skyline down and it sounded okay again… strange! So I thought well I’ve got a trailer so if the worst happens I can still get it home, so as soon as lunch was over and afternoon briefing was over I headed straight back out!
I tried initiating in the tight turns and as I was expecting it to still not be working I spun! “Great!” I thought, “it’s working again, lets go!” so I accelerated towards the big turn initiated and …. nothing.
I took myself off track and as I sat in the pit talking to Lucy, the car started to idle really lumpy! Sadly this was the end of my day, I wasn’t prepared to keep going out, knowing full well that I was just getting in people way and if I hadn’t fixed it I would just be a moving roadblock for them. So I packed up and hung out with Lucy and Benji for a bit watching everyone else smashing it around the track.
You might think that after so much effort and preparation I would be feeling down hearted about the whole thing, and I will say there have been times in the past where I have come away from a drift day feeling frustrated and beating myself up for various things, but this time it’s the complete opposite!
For the first time I have come away from a drift day with a clear idea of where I was going wrong, and what I can do to improve. But what about the car? Well as a drifter its an occupational hazard, cars break some times especially when you’re beating on them at the track, thats exactly why I got my trailer license, so that if it did happen I was safe, As soon as I get a dry day I will diagnose the issue with the car and fix it, if it needs a new engine so be it, it will take longer before I can get back on track but, if thats what it takes. I’m fine with that!
The other thing that has stopped me from having a downer on the whole thing was the fact that I actually felt like I was part of something for a change! In the past I’ve gone to drift days and for what ever reason I’ve been on my own, I tried talking to people but they were either busy or just didn’t want to know. This time I had people coming up to me, chatting about the car, and how I was doing on track, and I chatted to them about their cars and had a bit of a joke with them.
Now let’s get this pig fixed and get back on track!
Feckless Media https://www.facebook.com/FecklessMedia/ and Lucy Richmond
The day started pretty much like any drift day, get up at an insanely early hour and head to the track.
This time Lucy would be taking the Laurel for it’s first proper turn around an actual track, and I would be there to offer advice/ have a go in her car too!
We arrived at the track just after 8:30am and fellow Death or Glory member Craig had saved us a space in the pits, being local he got there before us. The sun was already beating down as we set up ready for her first session.
Briefing took place and after a couple more checks on the car she was ready to go!
We focussed on the West course, being tighter and more technical we felt it offered a better place for Lucy to learn how to control the car around the corners. If you’ve only ever done donuts and figure eights around cones, moving to a track changes things completely!
We started out just driving around getting a feel for the layout, and getting her back in the mindset of her previous drift day (at Santa Pod) or at least this was the intention… To my surprise on her first run she was already trying to get the feel of those clutch kicks again.
Over the course of the morning she managed some good skids and also worked on undoing some of the habits she’d got into at Pod. Nothing major, just little things, for instance, when you start out by learning donuts you can often get the backend to break loose by turning in tighter, however if you do this on a race track one of two things happen:
- If you don’t have enough speed you either end up cutting the corner and coming off track (and smashing aero, the front bumper was the first to go!)
- If you have enough speed but don’t quite get your clutch kick right, turning in tighter causes you to understeer and the car to go straight on (I did this a lot on my first few times out and its a real pain to get out of the habit of doing!)
Having said that it didn’t take her long at all to realise this and start to correct herself. She put in run after run, pushing herself every time, some times getting frustrated at not getting something right, other times getting hyped when she held a good skid!
If you’re thinking of starting out drifting, or you’re new to it and you’re reading this asking yourself “is it common to get frustrated in the early stages?” I would say yes, it is especially for those who don’t start out using the handbrake but instead opt for the clutch kick.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that initiating with the handbrake is the easy option but out of these two ways to get the car sliding it is definitely the option with the least to remember.
I know I went through that phase (probably several times) and others I have spoken to also agreed that feeling frustrated plays a big part in the early days, its all part of the learning process! But keep at it and things will eventually fall into place!
As the day wore on I watched from the passenger seat as Lucy progressed more and more, each run thinking about what she did in the last time and where she might need to improve or change tack.
Overall I thought she did amazingly for her second ever time out! On my second drift day I was still piddling around in the playpens at Pod (big mistake on my part!)
The first corner of West course did prove an issue for her, but after speaking to a few other people who have driven Teesside they all said that they had issues with that corner too early on.
In spite of this it didn’t put Lucy off and she continued to push herself on turns two, three and four, showing some real signs of promise!
Towards the end of the day we did have one fight with a tyre wall. This led to the rear bumper being smashed, however we knew this might happen so we were (sort of) prepared for it.
It was down to not having the car in the right place for the transition and running too wide as she went into the uphill section after turn three, hitting the tyre wall, pushing the rear bumper out of line, and creating a new exhaust hole on the opposite side of the bumper as well as adding a few tyre marks up the rear drivers side 1/4 of the car.
It was great to see her out there, it was as much a learning experience for me as it was for her. I definitely think she will be back on track again, however next time she will more likely be using my Skyline as we have since decided that the Laurel is in far too good shape to use as for skids.
What’s next for the Laurel? The damaged bodykit will be replaced, and much more, but you will have to wait for my future posts to find out more.
Laura Johnson and Andz Smith of Aperture Arts Photography.
With Rogue Concept 2019 being just around the corner, and the Skyline is more or less ready to attend. I thought I would share Driftland’s video from last years event.
If you are in the area this Saturday (4th May) or fancy a drive up to Driftland for the day, please do come along as all proceeds are going to charity and the more people we get in attendance the more money we can raise for a great cause!
Or check out the Rogue Concept Instagram for updates on the day @rogueconceptuk
So by the time this blog goes live you will have seen the many posts saying how good British Drift Championship is under new management. Now, the question is was it really that good? Was it really that much better?
I have been a big fan of drifting for a long time and remember a time before Dave Egan, I watched the sport grow under his ownership and draw in huge crowds. It’s fair to say Matt Stevenson had some big shoes to fill.
So round one very quickly came around after the new ownership was announced and before I knew it I was throwing my car back together to drive down for PRO AM on the Saturday.
Time for change!
First things first the biggest change of all, the track is in reverse. I had reservations that this would slow the action but how wrong I was! A wild entry really pushed the drivers to their limits seeing many drives having fast paced offs. I have driven Teesside and enjoy the standard layout but this new layout pushed drivers and made the track longer something that was well overdue after damage to the barrier. A very noticeable thing with this layout was that the lower powered cars were having trouble keeping up on the south bank which in turn saw the demise of the underpowered heroes but none the less I enjoyed the battles.
Along with a new layout the Bdc had several other promising additions favourite of all was the massive improvement in technology. Anyone that has attended an event before will remember the shocking PA system, well that has gone and a super clear sound system has you covered from all areas of the track (I could even hear it clearly in the car park).
Another great improvement was the live stream footage on the big screen on both days not just the pro day, this would not have come cheap but gave the people at the track a better view of the action.
Although drones have been used many times in drifting the live stream drones really do bring a whole new level to the viewers at home but truthfully hold very little improvement to spectators at the even as you don’t want to take your eyes of the action to look at the screen if you dont have too.
Another new feature to the day was the addition of a “trade village”. The idea is fantastic probably the best new feature yet but……… it lacked content with only 4 stalls(Walton motorsport, Bdc merch, xite, ratrap RC and a burger van) it felt empty. I really hope Matt hangs on to this idea and builds on it as I really think with the right brands at the event it will push people off the couch and to the event.
The Bdc merch stall also introduced a program which really helped identify drivers and cars (great idea) and its only £2.50 nice keep safe to remember an event.
Back to business.
Overall the two days saw many top-level drivers fall from grace. The second clip seemed to really have the drivers pushed to breaking point, it was very rare to see it done perfect with many drivers dropping wheels or cutting the track. When it went well it really did go well though, if both drivers hit it just right it created an artwork of exciting driving styles.
One of the biggest victims of the new layout was none other than championship favourite Martin Wonnacott. After several good laps it all went down the drain the freshly built chaser took a heavy blow damaging most of the suspension. In true drifting style Martin came back out and pushed hard but the car seemed off its earlier pre-crash form which would later see him knocked out.
As the day went on it really did start to hit home truly how many big name drifter had not returned after the winter break. A huge miss from the grid was the Irish in general, seeing no more than 3 in the battles it felt like something was missing, was it their skill, wild driving style or their energy who knows but they were a big miss. Not only were the Irish a miss but the big names of the past seemed to have vanished crowd favourites like Simon Perry and his son Brett, Driftworks, Richard Dalby Smith, Matt Carter and many more really left the grid feeling a little incomplete. Another real loss for the sport in a way was Matt Stevenson himself one of the very few that would truly destroy his car to please the crowd.
Regardless of the fact I missed the presence these drivers brought to these events, the fresh looking grid did step up and put on a good display of driving. Will this fresh grid grow and win over the fans? Only time will tell but to me it’s looking very promising.
Both days saw strict judging and close call battles even several “one more times” but Aurimas Vaskelis showed dominance throughout and took home first place in his 1000hp e46 bmw.
Would I recommend attending?
OFCOURSE I WOULD! Don’t get me wrong it did seem to feel like something wasn’t quite there yet but this is all new Matt has started totally from the ground up and I am sure that as the year goes on this will start to become one of the best in the world but support is key, show your support and it will grow.
Tomas Falvey threw his beautiful s15 off track and onto the grass as flames curled around the bonnet, marshals ran to his aid but so did Matt Stevenson he could have easily stood back and hoped his team had it covered but instead sprinted to the car. This does show the Bdc is truly in good hands and I look forward to seeing the promising future of BDC and of this sport in the uk.
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog keep an eye out for more in the future but until the go give our facebook and instagram a follow
Death or glory photographer :Craig Johnston (project thirteen)
Aperture arts photography: Andrew Smith
BDC images from facebook not property of death or glory
You didn’t really think I was going to let this video go unnoticed did you?
Being a long time fan of the Skyline, and in particular the R32 getting to see events like this in the spiritual homeland is awesome!
R32 Day has been going on for a few years now at Mikawa Motorland, run by the Akinobu Satsukawa of drift team A-Bo Moon. Even though its restricted to just R32 Skylines you always see such a wide range of visual and drifting styles on display.
Then you have R34 Festival at Fuji Speedway, another event dedicated to not only a specific brand of vehicle or country of origin (like we get here in the UK) but to a specific model!
Finally, there is Alexi of Nori Yaro who always puts out the kind of content that makes me want to instantly jump back on a plane to Japan.
The end result is, well, watch for yourself!
You’ve probably already heard of the Animal Style drift team right? If you haven’t where the heck have you been?!?
I first found out about these guys back in 2013 when I watched Hert’s film from the All Star Bash.
the driving style of these guys is something I have always aspired to and while I haven’t got there yet will always aspire to while ever I’m chucking a car sideways.
I’ve been a little quiet recently with my blog posts. This is partly because a lot of time has been taken up trying to pinpoint and diagnose a strange noise on Lucy’s Subaru daily.
The other is that any time I so much as think about doing anything to the Skyline the weather turns and forces me back in doors (One day I will have a garage to work in!)
So in the mean time I thought I’d share some of the videos I’ve been watching recently to get me pumped to do some more drifting this year.
The first of these is Joybreak film from Halfway Hangs 6. For those that don’t know what Halfway Hangs is a drifting event and car show rolled into one held by StreetKarnage at Raleigh Raceway and Valla Beach Tourist Park NSW.
Josh Dobrik (Joybreak) appears to have covered these events since the beginning and always does an amazing job of making a film that makes you want to get in your car and drive hard. The latest in this series is no exception!
A couple of days ago I went with my better half Lucy to her first drift day down at Santa Pod raceway in Northamptonshire.
As we were making a roughly 300 mile round trip I thought it best to put my newly acquired trailer license to use and tow the car down there. That way if anything went wrong we could still get home to fix it. So I booked a trailer hire from Rothwell Trailers (I highly recommend them!) We got the car, spare wheels and tools loaded up. Set the alarm for 4:45am and hit the sack!
At this point if you’ve been to a drift day yourself, or a car meet, or car show, you know what happens, the alarm goes off way earlier than you’re expecting it to, you get up get out of the house and quick as you can and hit the road, and this is exactly what we did.
The journey down there was pretty straight forward aside from Google Maps deciding to set itself to avoid motorways! That gave us a rather nice view of Nottingham centre!
Once we figured out what was going on we set it to not avoid motorways and got back on our way.
We finally arrived at Pod just before 9:30am and promptly got straight into briefing before unloading the car and getting swapping out the rear wheels. She was ready to do her first skid!
The morning started off pretty much as expected just trying to get her used to the feeling of the car when it breaks traction and then trying to make it break by stabbing the clutch pedal. As the morning progressed she start to get to grips with the car more and more and on a lot of occasions we saw the beginnings of her first donuts.
Lunch time came and we sat and chatted about how she was doing and talking over where she was struggling, the main things were:
- What to do once the car has broken traction and the steering wheel has gone to full opposite lock.
- To make sure you give it enough throttle to start and just listen to the engine to figure out whether the revs are up high enough.
- Not to pay attention to the cones for the time being. While they’re good for learning to control the car around them I Think the fear of hitting them was getting in the way of her learning what to do to get around them.
With these in mind she went back out in the afternoon in the only playpen that didn’t have cones and within minutes she was a completely different driver! To the point that before when she had spun out she would immediately let off the throttle and start again, now she was holding it and letting the car skid and feeling her way around what happens when she turns the wheel while the car is spinning up those rear wheels. Before we knew it she had performed her first successful donut, and then another, and another!
As the afternoon progressed you could see that the frustration of the morning had finally lifted, she was correcting herself where she needed to and most importantly she was having fun thrashing that Laurel around the pens, by the end of it she had not only done enough donuts to restock the local Krispy Kreme but had also performed several figure eights!
For me it was amazing to see her out there for the first time after years of watching me and wanting to have a go herself. I can’t wait for her next drift day to see her progress and who knows one day maybe we’ll be driving together!
If you’re thinking of getting started in drifting in the UK, I would definitely recommend checking out Santa Pod’s DWYB days as they offer fenced off, safe areas for you to get to grips with the cars. However I would also advise caution, if your car is lowered you will more than likely find you spend the day listening to bits of bodykit or exhaust bouncing off the ground just as we did.
After the last drift day I noticed a very strong smell of burning oil, panic set in. thankfully the panic was very short lived as I found the oil leak from the rocker cover half-moons. This was a very annoying find as I have replaced these several times but the high temps in the bay seem to make them go hard. After some digging on eBay I came across some alloy inserts to eliminate the issue for good.
As the rocker cover was going to have to come off I thought I may as well do a different design as the ghost flower pink cover was getting a bit tatty. As a massive fan of MCR factory in japan I wanted to try to for a candy affect. Just to clear it up I am NOT a professional painter by any means I just do it for fun and a challenge. After some Instagram skimming I came across a very cool affect where you polish patterns into the alloy and then paint the candy straight to the surface.
I polished a flame style pattern and then took to the booth to have a go at candy, well candy with pearl and metal flake ohhh and a pink to purple fade. Why do I never start easy……..
My unusual blend of paint was mixed and spraying was well underway. Something I should warn anyone wanting to do it themselves is that the candy additive makes the paint very thin and prone to run so don’t rush (like I did).
The end result was amazing and i was so happy i couldn’t wait to fit it.
When I installed the covers I very quickly noticed that the breathers and wiring covered most of the covers so the battle to hide stuff started. I moved the harness for the intake and injectors down as low as I could and rewrapped them, moved the plugs back so they would tuck down behind the engine and started from scratch with the breathers. Before you know it the whole thing was looking a lot cleaner.
This had given me the bug and something that had been on my mind for a while was next on my list the passenger side front inner arch wiring. It was routed stupidly and was covered in unused plugs. The wiring was stripped back and extra plugs remover then I moved some of the components and routes the wiring along the chassis leg out of sight.
It was time consuming but well worth the effort I will be trying to tuck more wiring in the future and going for a more organised engine bay.
Thanks for reading
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I get a lot of questions regarding fitting my JZ engine onto my Lexus so I thought I would type up the answers to the most common questions asked.
What engine do you have? I have a 2001 1jz-gte Vvti single turbo from an Automatic Toyota Crown Athlete.
Does it fit ? Yes perfectly because the engine has front facing sump so its clears the IS200 subframe.
What engine mounts are you using? I’m using the crown metal engine mounts with IS300 subframe mounts. You can’t use the is200 mounts as they are too short and the chaser/ crown don’t have correct studs on the bottom. (I have attached a pic that shows the different size between the IS200 and the IS300 mounts.)
What gearbox are you using? W58 from a Supra MK4 non turbo I did have to trim the tunnel to make room for the shifter.
What Clutch are you using? Supra Mk4
What prop shaft and Diff are you using? IS200 prop shaft, is200 Automatic Diff and Drive shafts (no modification needed to any of the IS200 parts)
What body Wiring Are you using? Standard Lexus body wiring
What engine Wiring? Standard JZ wiring
Do the Plugs fit? Because Lexus and Toyota are the same company and the body and the engine are both the same generation (2001) the Lexus body plugs physically fitted into the JZ ecu but we did have re pin a few wires so the ecu would send the correct signals to the dials, fuel pump, diagnostic plug, etc
Do all your dials work? Yes by re-pining the ecu wires into the correct body plugs we got all the dials working. The Diagnostic plug also worked but due to the engine being an imported engine we had to use an expensive snap code reader as the cheaper small hand held ones wouldn’t read the codes.
What wires did you bridge? The Crown ecu has 2 fuel pump wires because apparently the ecu has 2 speeds on the fuel pump for the kick down and cruise control. We bridged these 2 wires so that the fuel was feed the full 12v constantly.
What engine codes came up? Yes the engine management light came on. Of course it did we wired in an automatic ecu into a manual car. Every code for the gearbox came up because the ecu thinks the gearbox has been dis-connect.
Do you need to modify the auto wiring? Yes. We need to make the ecu think the gearbox was in park so the engine would start but we also made the ecu think the gearbox is in 2nd gear because apparently the give’s the engine the most torque when in 2nd gear (Im not sure how true this is thou)
We did this by giving a 12v volt feed to the correct wiring on gearbox plugs.
Do you need to modify the fueling system? Yes you need to fit a bigger fuel pump and a return fuel line as the IS200 doesn’t have a return line. In order to fit a return line you need to modify the plastic fuel cover to feed the fuel back into the tank. We also needed to replace the Jet pump which controls the follow of the fuel between the 2 chambers of the fuel tank. I managed to source a SARD one.
Did you have to modify the Cooling system? No I ran with an Alloy IS200 radiator using chaser radiator hoses that I had to cut down a little. The radiator worked well and I had no overheating issues. Yes she got hot while drifting but never while driving normally. I did need to fit slim line electric fans to replace the IS200 fans and shroud was too close to the JZ pulleys they didn’t touch but there was only millimetres of a gap.
I’m using the JZ PAS pump but because it lives on the opposite of the engine from the IS200 one I had to get a new longer high pressure Pas Line made. I used a company called Hydraquip that were very helpful.
I had to make my own exhaust system as I local company quoted me £2,000 to make a full system so we bought a TIG welder and piping and made our own. It’s not pretty but its sealed and makes.
How much did it cost to fit the JZ? Without putting a figure on my labour as I did all the work in my workshop at evenings and weekends then I probably spent about £4,000 in total buying all the parts needed to get the engine in and running, including engine, gearbox, exhaust piping, fuel pump, lines, etc, etc.
I have decided to go full commitment.
The 4th of January marks first time ever I let someone else work on my car. Yes the 4th of January that’s how excited Alan was to start work on Lily’s cage which should explain everything you need to know about Alan.
That someone was Alan Miller owner of Millermods in Tillicoultry.
He has been working his magic building what can only be described as a master piece shaped in steel tubing.
Alan has created a full multi point cage made using 42mm tubing with double door bars. Cross in the roof, rear cross, harness bar, dash bar, and many many sexy gussets.
Why Millermods? Well I first heard of Alan at Millermods when he put an S13 front end on to a S14 body for a friend of mine. Alan has so much passion for cars and extreme ideas and for his workmanship is almost unbelievable. Every time I speak to Alan we end up losing an hour just talking about cars, engines and stories from the past just a genuine great guy human. When Alan isn’t working on cars he is out on his trails bike winning trophies so you know that only the extreme and exciting ideas excite Alan. When Alan heard about the Matsuri accident and that I was rebuild Lily he messaged and told me he wanted to help me and then explained his idea for a cage he wanted to make for my car. So I instead put my MX5 project car up for sale to free up cash and gave Alan my car.
This is the point it has finally hit home that Lily is going to be the build of my life.
Now she is back home it’s time to continue building her up.
So Drop Alan a message for anything from basic mechanical work to full fabrication. he can tailor things to meet your budget where possible.
So after a while of drifting the Skyline with its new look, using and abusing the car on a daily basis (about 18 months), the fibreglass parts had gone through various breakages and fixes, and the paint was starting to look really scruffy. It was time to start thinking about a new look. I could of course go out and buy a new full BN kit, fit it, and paint it purple again, but I wanted to try something a bit different. There were also a number of things that I did the first time around that I wanted to make sure I fixed and did better this time.
So I started looking at options the first thing I wanted was to go back to using metal wings on the front, I did love the look of the fibreglass wings, however they turned out to be not as strong as I first thought they would be, and on several occasions the tyre had caught them and eaten a huge chunk out of them meaning they needed repairing. This could have been down to wheel fitment issues or it could have been down to how the wings were made, who knows? I was foolish enough to give my metal wings away when I took them off so now I had to hunt down some more. After some searching on Facebook and Ebay, I finally found some for sale and arranged to pick them up.
Next I wanted to look at options for new rear over fenders, after some searching I realised that (at the time of looking) I was severely limited on options, as many companies over seas will not ship fibreglass parts since they can sometimes get damaged, so I decided just to cut the destroyed bits off for the time being.
Next was the side skirts, I would have liked some Type M skirts but they’re rarer than rocking horse poop, and the ones that are available either need too much work to make them useable again, or have been hit hard with the scene tax bat! So I decided to go down the aftermarket route again, I really liked the Vertex side skirts, however, it soon became clear that nobody had any for sale and many places that did previously sell them were not stocking them anymore.
In fact it seemed that the only aftermarket skirts you could find in the UK at this point were BN. Thankfully there was a glimmer of hope for something a little bit different, I had emailed EPR about some Vertex side skirts and when they replied they as expected did not have any were not getting anymore in stock, but they did have one pair of DMAX side skirts left in stock. So after some discussion I agreed to buy them.
But what about the front and rear bumpers? You can find out about those and more that happened next, here.
So where do I start?
Well I made it to the NYE Teesside drift day.
After a battle for the full month before getting the car ready for the event I bolted on the last few parts the night before the event. As if it wasn’t scary enough drifting my pride and joy I was taking a car I built in the street to an event with NO testing at all, what could go wrong?
I will get it over and done with, I crashed….. Not once, not twice but 3 times. I am by no means a pro drifter but I consider myself quite familiar with Teesside but I was in for a shock, the combination of the new setup and extremely slippy surface got the better of me. After the first big crash into the tyre wall I thought my luck was on the up so I tied the national/bdc track to find my 3rd gear entry confidence far outweighed my skill and I did some off-roading. At this point I knew things had to change so back to the pits I went.
If you’re new to drifting this is the best advice I could ever give you, TYRE PRESSURE. As I had struggled massively with grip I lowered the front pressure to 18psi and the rears to 40psi. A few small adjustments to the rear toe and I was back on track and the car was starting to find its stride.
My confidence in the car had grown and that’s when I had strike 3. I came up the hill on west track on a rather spicy lap a lot wider than I should have washed off the track, as soon as all 4 wheels were on the grass I was a passenger and into the tyre bail I went. Unlike my first meeting with the wall the car came off really well no damage.
Now at this point your thinking give up whilst your cars intact, so that’s exactly what I did. Well I needed the toilet so I came off track emptied the tank and went straight back too it ha.
Every lap after that I bonded more with the car pushing it harder every lap until another driver with a beautiful red sr powered s13 asked if I wanted to try some twinning. I paused when he asked but knew that’s what I came here to do so nervously agreed the first 3 laps where absolutely dreadful and that’s putting it nicely my timing was all over. after a pep talk from my mate Connor I tried again but this time I tried drifting as if he was not there and I worked I couldn’t believe it I was drifting on track with another s13 and a driver I really looked up to. I think forgetting about him helped build my confidence then when I believed in myself the hunt was on.
The reality is I have an underpowered car (shocked face) so chasing that sr powered monster was going to be a challenge for me but I gave it my best shot. I managed several good laps with him before disaster struck…….Powering up the hill a massive bang and the car died it sounded like a rod had ejected my poor little CA. I limped it back to the pit opened the bonnet expecting to see my piston but nothing, no oil, no broken bits what had happened. Thankfully a boost pipe had evacuated the dance floor it was a nice easy fix and I was back at it again in now time.
During my down time fixing the car a new challenge had presented itself the sun had gone and I was surrounded in darkness. Now don’t get me wrong I have slid my car around in the dark but I had never initiated a drift at over 60mph in the pitch black. For the record your car lights are totally useless as soon as you’re sideways the track you need to see is no longer illuminated. That being said it was by far one of the most exciting challenge I had ever faced.
When you read this your probably thinking it sounded like a bit of a stressful day which don’t get me wrong it really was but I must say it was by far the most challenging but fun day I have ever had.
If you ever get the chance to do NYE at Teesside you really should it is like no other drift day and will test your skill in so many ways
I have uploaded a small video of my car during the day follow the link to see how I got on.
photo credit to: ADimages (on instagram and facebook)
aperture arts photography (@andz_smith)
So now that the Skyline had a different look what was next? More seat time? Don’t be silly! I could have and SHOULD have got myself booked onto another drift day at Pod but partly because it was at the time of year when Santa Pod stop all DWYB days in favour of the various car shows they hold, and partly because my tiny brain was listening to every man and his dog about “what my car needed next”.
Over the course of a few months until Santa Pod reinstated the DWYB days I started buying and fitting various adjustable arms starting with front adjustable camber arms (I didn’t need these as I already had enough camber on the front from the extended Lower control arms) because I felt I needed more control over how much camber I was running.
I added adjustable camber arms to the rear, I did need these as being a low powered car I needed to reduce the amount of grip on the rear to help it break traction.
Finally I replaced the already good enough extended front LCA’s with adjustable LCA’s (big mistake!!) at the time I thought I was doing myself a favour, now I realise I wasn’t I was simply making life harder for myself. After all this faffing around I got the car professionally aligned and everything was fine for a time.
While I was making these changes I was keeping an eye out online for a GTR bonnet (hood if you’re from ‘Merica) as I knew they were lighter than the GTS version and I also really like the look of them. One day, I got a message from a friend with a link to one for sale on Ebay and for really cheap! Whats more it was only an hours drive from where I lived, so I had to have it!
It had already been modified with Nismo style vents and at least from the photos looked like it had been done well. The problem was how was I going to get it home? I didn’t have a van, or anything that could transport it, so with a lot of rope and some knot tieing my cub scout leader would have been proud of I ended up driving home in the dead of night with the GTR bonnet strapped to the existing bonnet of my car.
Sadly the cold light of day revealed that the bonnet modifications weren’t as well executed as first thought. The hole sadly looked like it had been cut with a butter knife and the edges of the vent panel hadn’t been trimmed down at all. Still I fitted it to the car anyway with a view to tidying it up later.
However, it appeared that the universe had other ideas, while cleaning the car at the jet wash one day I found yet another poor execution on the offending bonnet… the paintwork! As I was spraying away with the jet wash hose I noticed that the paint was coming away in large chunks to reveal not one, but two colours underneath!
So the decision was taken to remove the GTR bonnet and replace the GTS bonnet for the time being.
It’s that time of year again, where just for one day we put down the spanners, and stop busting knuckles just long enough to spend some time with our families and friends.
I know these videos have done the rounds more times than I care to remember but to me they’re the perfect way of saying Merry Christmas to anyone out there following our blogs so far.
Who knows maybe at some point we’ll make one of our own, but until then, sit back hit play and enjoy…. again! 😉
So now that I had the basics done on the car it was time to take it to the track and start getting some seat time. I knew being my first time I wasn’t going to be doing anything amazing and I certainly didn’t expect myself to be linking the big track at Santa Pod I just wanted to start getting a feeling for the car and just see how I got on throughout the day. Thankfully my good friend and long time drifter Joe came with me to lend a hand and give me some much needed advice.
I started out simply driving around a cone getting faster and faster until the backend started to step out, this was to get a feel for how the car felt once it started to break free on the back. After a few minutes of doing this in one of the play pens, I then moved on to making the car break traction but kicking the clutch. It took a while to start getting a feel for this as the first few times you do this your natural driving instinct kicks in making you want to let off the accelerator (as though you’re about to change gear.) then when I started to get a feel for this I moved on to trying to stop the car from simply spinning out by trying to control the skid. This took most of the morning but by lunch time I was able to control a skid around a cone in a donuty fashion.
After lunch it was time to try and push myself again and move on to trying to figure eight around two cones. Sadly and though I did enjoy every attempt at it immensely this took me most of the afternoon to get one figure eight linked. There were a couple of important things I learned from this day, besides the basics of how to skid a RWD car.
1. Never be too hard on yourself, even when you think you’re starting to get it, don’t get mad at yourself when you mess up as this only leads to more mistakes.
2. It always helps in those early stages having someone more experienced there to talk over how you’re doing and what you’re finding difficult, if I hadn’t had Joe there with me I don’t think I would have got any where near as far as I did. In fact I’m pretty sure I would have still been spinning round making a smokey mess if it wasn’t for him.
3. Just enjoy yourself, you will get it in the end everyone learns things at different speeds so just because you know one person who managed to link the big course after one day on track, doesn’t necessarily mean you will. Just go out and have a blast!
Sadly all photos and video for this day have been lost.