Sometimes it’s interesting how things evolve. Looking back on the 2011 drift season with Team SI, many images flash trough the mind.
Images of incredible battles and great memories that will stay with me forever.
On the other hand however, some nightmarish thoughts return as well since my old green S14 was rumored to be cursed by gypsies. Not often during shows, practice or competition in 2011 the car ran the way it should have.
I grew used to adapting when needed, as most drifters do.. I’d always feel confident to bang in an acceptable qualifying run to get qualified for the battle day of a competition round.
However toward the end of the 2011 season, this old car had become more of a burden. I was forced to sit out the qualifyings in two of the IDS rounds and was watching the battles from the ranks.
On top of that, the constant repairs on this battered car completely threw my season budget out of the window.
So for 2012, it was clear that there was only one way to go with the 2012 Setup:
Reliability. Everything else comes after that. If you can have a car which just works the same way every time you drive it, that’s when you can really start to push the limits, become even faster and more importantly have a lot more fun!
First, I decided to ditch the green battered S14. Stripped it to the shell and sold all parts to gain some budget. It wasn’t so easy emotionally.. after all this used to be my only car 6 years ago. But after a neverending series of technical gremlins I didn’t feel too bad about taking it apart..
I then bought a different S14. It was the car of my good friend, and one of the team’s fellow photographers: Thomas from Donthomaso.ch. He had been seen from time to time driving an interesting looking white S14 which sported a nice assortment of aftermarket parts and its key ingredient: A fully built SR20DET boosted to 450hp using NOS and a HKS turbine. Splendid.
Next, I defined some key features for this project:
1. Get out the most on a limited budget. After the far too expensive 2011 season, I did not want to invest a lot of money but instead refurbish what I had.
2. For 2012 – No technical problems whatsoever! ha ha. But sure try to get close
3. The engine will be De-tuned (that’s not a typo) from 450hp down to 350hp to increase reliability. The aftermarket headers and rather cheap intake plenum the car has installed will be removed since they are prone to cracks in extreme conditions, and replaced with stock items. A secondary map with slightly more boost will enable me to still run wider tires if required, depending on the track layout. But generally, this car is not a powerhouse. It’s supposed to be responsive, nimble and fun to drive.
4. To make room for gangster steering lock, ginormous custom steel wheel arches will be integrated into the chassis.
5. The entire chassis (apart from boot) will be spotwelded for maximum stability and feedback. Interior and engine bay is to be fully painted.
6. All electrics including boost control will be handled by a brand-new Haltech platinum sport 2000 ECU. All the wiring of the entire car will be redone. This is the heart of this new (hopefully) reliable electrics setup.
7. All peripherals of drivetrain and engine will be checked for damage or wear. All hoses inside and outside the engine bay will be replaced. I don’t want hoses exploding randomly like last year!
8. Custom welded intercooler piping and intake piping will ensure there will be no boost leak, ever.
9. The entire suspension setup will be checked and fully optimized by our good friend Michael Sahli. When it comes to setting up drift cars perfectly, he sure knows his shit.
10. Some money is invested into safety and Cooling. A FIA-Spec fire extinguishing system with 6 nozzles to protect engine and my balls from fiery death will be added to the car. Power steering cooling, and a bigger engine oil cooler will be added as well.
Keep in mind this car will not be built to be the ultimate smoke monster with infinite power. It will not have 600whp and NASA-spec materials inside and out, but that was never the intention of this build.
Really, this is just supposed to be a clean, reliable, fast and stable car that can be drifted on any track at any speed in competition or for fun.
So then I assembled a few good friends and asked them if they’d be willing to support me with this plan. And since my friends tend to be super awesome – they all agreed to help me out!! Wooo! A very special thanks also goes to a Yves Surber from Surber US Cars. That man sure has some welding skills! Be sure to check out his website as well since he sells only the finest cars America has to offer. His showroom is a sight to behold as well with over 40 mint classics ready for grabs!
So on a cold Saturday morning near the city of Uster we started the long and tedious rebuild project. You can watch the progress in the terrible videos I’ve created. Currently, the all videos up to Week 10 is out on the ZÜRIDRIFT blog!
First shakedown of the fresh new and maybe or maybe not unstoppable ZÜRIDRIFT S14 will be on 08.06.2012 with the awesome dudes from Drift-Schule.de in Neuhausen ob Eck / Tuttlingen. Better be there!
You can watch all the build videos here: (I’ve just started editing movies though, don’t expect Spielberg quality or anything)
Right now our magical man behind all sorts of car electrics named simply ‘The Styp’ is working on the Haltech wiring. The engine itself is test-fitted, and many peripherals already installed. Interior is coming along as well with a custom dashboard ready to fit. Still a lot to do though!
First engine start is planned for mid-February, so fingers crossed!
At this point, I have to express my thanks to everyone involved in this extremely intense build. It’s just incredible how quickly we managed to pull this forward together.. The thing I will try to do in return is to bring smiles to everyones faces by driving this like an absolute lunatic everywhere we’ll go