Here in New Zealand we seem to suffer from an extreme case of mass tall poppy syndrome. We seem to be incapable of allowing others to fly and achieve greatness, without trying to bring them back down to earth with a thud. Take the recent winners of New Zealand Idol, for example (please! nobody else will. See? Tall poppy syndrome). These talented individuals were all shot down, having been elevated above the herd. This is the very reason I myself have never entered. Well, that and my complete lack of musical talent and co-ordination.
“This Evo, appropriately dubbed H8STY, can only be described as a wolf in sheep’s clothing”
Perhaps it was the fear generated by this syndrome that drove 22-year-old Aucklander Fong Zhou to build his understated and discreet Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution II RS. Then again, perhaps it was more the sense of smugness generated when you have a certain something hidden up your sleeve. For whatever reason, at first glance Fong’s Evo II deliberately displays nothing out of the ordinary. However, this Evo — appropriately dubbed H8STY — can only be described as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And just like any other wolf in sheep’s clothing, Fong’s Evo is presented in a coat of white. This simple hue covers the factory Evolution II RS curves and the added Evo II GSR bumpers, a set of Evo III side skirts, Evo III GSR end caps and a modified Evo II boot spoiler. This restrained exterior hides the true nature of Fong’s creation — a 300kW-at-the-wheels street demon.
As the owners of many other Evos around the country will know, creating this amount of power is by no means an easy feat. The force-fed 2.0-litre engines that power these automobiles are renowned for their strength and power potential. However, the 500-plus horsepower of fury being generated at this 4G63’s flywheel is well beyond the manufacturer’s recommended operating limits. Making this figure possible without risking life, limb or injury is a concoction of strengthened internals replacing the factory components. These include a sparkling set of forged JE pistons, Eagle H-beam rods and ARP bolts, all coming together to create a more than sturdy bottom end. The head also received treatment along the same lines and now bears witness to some custom Stage 2 port work, a three-angle valve cut which, with the addition of the JUN-spec 272-degree cams and HKS cam gears, titanium retainers and ARP head studs, delivers effortless flow through the DOHC setup.
Keeping this Evo street-able would usually mean selecting a pretty average sized turbo. But Fong was willing to make a concession for the greater good — power. This is why now generating copious amounts of huff and puff (like any self respecting wolf should) is the tried and tested Garrett GT35/40 turbo, housed off a custom-made manifold fabricated by the talented Dinh at Spec2 Performance. You’ll also find a Tial 44mm external wastegate located off this manifold, which has been given siphoning duties to alleviate any unrequested puff for the huffer before spent gasses are sent on their way down the full 3-inch exhaust.
On the other side of the turbo, vast amounts of atmosphere is inhaled and cleaned of all impurities courtesy of a K&N air filter, before being suitably compressed and then forced into the large front-mount intercooler occupying the front grille. This takes the heat out of the charged air before allowing it onto the inlet manifold, with the occasional break in flow for the Blitz blow-off valve.
After starting a build like this it is very easy to get carried away, but Fong knew what he wanted and enforced his demands throughout the build. For this very reason you won’t find a huge fuel setup lurking at the rear; instead a simple Walbro 255lph fuel pump has replaced the factory item. The pump, although more than happily catering to the thirsty demands of this forced combustion package via a set of 880cc injectors up front, still means Fong doesn’t have to stop for gas every five minutes to fill up — further testament to the nature of this Evo’s streetability.
Controlling this discreet forced induction package is a 'bang for buck’ Link engine management system, with aid from an HKS EVC controlling boost duties. Fong, wanting to get the most out of these user-friendly units, enlisted the help of a regular name to appear in these pages: Andre Simon of Speedtech Motorsport. Andre managed to push this setup to a huge 302kW of street driven power, more than enough wick for a jaunt through McDonald’s drive-thru to pick up a few coffees.
“Andre managed to push this setup to a huge 302kW of street driven power, more than enough wick for a jaunt through McDonald’s drive-thru to pick up a few coffees”
All this power couldn’t have found itself a better home in Fong’s Evo. Being of the limited RS variety (don’t let the GSR door decals fool you! it’s a trick) it is gifted with, among other things, a lightweight shell coming in nigh on 100kgs lighter than the GSR version, and the rally-spec, close ratio 5-speed gearbox. Fong added a single-plate race clutch, which while creating a slip-free environment down the driveline, isn’t that demanding on his left leg.
Thanks again to the RS nature of this Evo, you will find a number of toys already installed, including front and rear LSD diffs ensuring appropriate power distribution to the hubs. The only addition Fong saw fit to make was a set of Tein fully adjustable coil-over shocks at each corner. These keep the 17-inch Enkei NT-03 alloy wheels sitting snugly under the guards and, more importantly, the 15-inch Enkei rims and semi-slick rubber Fong swaps onto the car to race.
The benefits of these rally-dedicated RS versions in most cases far outweigh the sacrifices, depending on the owner’s intentions for the car. However, since Fong’s intentions for the Evo were more daily driver than gravel basher, a few creature comforts were going to have to be re-enlisted in this particular RS. Bringing the Evo up to the comfortable street status Fong required are a set of Recaro SR-II front seats from the GSR version of the same model.
The addition of an Alpine MP3 head unit also helps to drown out the unbecoming road noise that the nonexistent sound deadening otherwise would. The only other additions have been all business. Now occupying the centre console is a set of gauges, while the aforementioned HKS EVC has found its way atop the steering column. With the vast numbers of Evos on the road these days, It seems to be a trend for owners to try to outdo one another and attract the most attention possible. Fong’s H8STY Evo II RS may not provoke great interest with its looks, but should with its power and performance.
To date Fong has managed to pilot the Lancer to an 11.02 @ 203kph pass down the strip — an agonising 0.03 off that elusive NZPC 10-Second Club status. It’s still a more than impressive time for a daily driven car. Should Fong ever give in to temptation and submit his Evo to a good dose of C16 and a retune to match, he’ll break into the 10-second bracket. Easily.
“To date Fong has managed to pilot the Lancer to an 11.02 @ 203kph pass down the strip — an agonising 0.03 off that elusive NZPC 10-Second Club status”
Previously Owned Cars: Mazda RX-7 S7, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI, Honda Integra Type R, turbo Honda Integra DC2, Nissan Pulsar GTiR, ’82 Leyland Mini
Dream Car: ’79 Mitsubishi Galant with big power
Build time: 6 months
Length of ownership: 6 Months
Fong Thanks: Mum & Dad for the time off work, Andre Simon @ Speedtech Motorsport for the tuning, Dinh @ Spec2 Performance for the fabricating, my missus for putting up with it all, all my mates: Lewis, Dean, Allen, Nigel, Rich, Steven and Andy, and pretty much everyone who had to listen to all the bulls**t ideas (some worked, some didn’t) that came out of my mouth!
1994 MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO II RS
Engine: Mitsubishi 4G63, 2.0-litre DOHC 16V, JE forged pistons, Eagle H-Beam rods, ARP rod bolts, balance shaft removed, balanced bottom end, JUN-spec 272-degree cams, HKS adjustable cam gears, Stage 2 ported head, titanium valve retainers, 3-angle valve cut, ARP head studs, K&N air filter, Garrett GT35/40 turbo, Spec2 exhaust manifold, 44mm Tial V-band external wastegate, 3-inch exhaust system, Blitz blow-off valve, Spec2 intercooler piping, Walbro 255lph fuel pump, 880cc injectors, Taylor 12mm leads, Link engine management system
Driveline: Factory 5-speed RS close-ratio gearbox, single-plate race clutch, factory RS front/rear limited slip differentials
Suspension/Brakes: Fully adjustable Tein coil-over shocks, Tein springs, factory 4-wheel disc brakes, EBC Yellow Stuff pads
Wheels/Tyres: Street — 17-inch Enkei NT-03 alloys, Dunlop 215/45R17 tyres, Race — 15-inch Enkei alloys, Dunlop semi-slick tyres
Exterior: Evo II GSR front/rear bumpers, Evo III GSR side skirts, Evo III GSR end caps
Interior: GSR-spec Recaro SR-II front seats, Auto Meter boost, air/fuel ratio & oil pressure gauges, HKS EVC boost controller, Alpine MP3 head unit
Performance: Dyno Power — 302kW @ wheels, 0-400m — 11.02 @ 203kph
I first remember seeing Kieran Ng’s 1995 Mitsubishi Cyborg many years ago, driven hard by Auckland-based owner Matt McDonald. Looking like a little blue M&M, it was just one of those cars that always stuck in my memory. Bear in mind, this is a good four years ago now, and I can remember being very impressed with the then-rare MIVEC powerplant.
This particular car has passed through a few hands since, with each owner modifying it a little bit further then selling it on. So when I saw Kieran driving the Cyborg around the streets of Wellington recently, I got hold of him to see what the latest on the Mirage was. The last time I had seen it, it was gathering dust in the corner of SLAP! Car Audio — then-owner Jaron Marsh had pushed things a little too far at Taupo Motorsport Park and popped the motor.
“The install leaves literally no space for anything else in the boot, but it now houses a pair of thumping 12-inch JVC subwoofers and twin Power Acoustic DV4-800 amplifiers.”
After catching up with Kieran, known to his mates as 'Token’ (he was the only Asian in a big group of white boys!), I found out that not only was the car once more revving its proverbials off, but it was also now in turbocharged form — his contribution to the Mitsi’s modification pool. But before it reached its current state, the Mirage had been through many incarnations, starting from humble beginnings in Auckland. It was there that original owner Matt stripped back the standard grey paint and had the car resprayed in Smurf-blue paint. While the car was in the body shop, the side strips were also removed and the front bumper received a few modifications, giving it a unique appearance.
Before it was on-sold, Matt installed a set of Koni struts and King springs in an effort to improve the little car’s handling abilities. He also replaced the stock clutch with a much tougher, heavy duty 4-puck item. From there, I can only assume Matt became bored with the car and chucked it up on TradeMe, where Wellingtonian and, oddly, successful barbershop singer Jaron Marsh snapped it up for a very reasonable price.
Jaron wanted the car as a sweet street cruiser, and happened to be regularly hanging around Wellington’s SLAP! Car Audio store. The boys at SLAP! soon had Jaron convinced that he needed one hell of an audio setup, so out came the credit card and work was underway. With the Mirage’s relatively small boot space, the boys had to get clever when planning the custom fibreglass enclosure. Although the resulting install leaves literally no space for anything else in the boot, it now houses a pair of thumping 12-inch JVC subwoofers and twin Power Acoustic DV4-800 amplifiers. One amp powers the two subs which, interestingly, glow a light blue to match the car’s exterior hue when a bass signal is sent through them. JVC has also supplied in-cabin fill in the form of three pairs of 6-inch components. All this gear is controlled by a JVC KD-LH3105 head unit, and juiced up using an Optima dry cell battery.
With the smooth, swooping install-filled boot, the rest of the interior was looking just a little bit too standard, so Jaron had the interior ripped apart and completely re-covered in black and white vinyl to complement the Momo steering wheel and shift knob. Much fun was had in the little Mirage over the next six months: cruising around, entering Auto Salons and frequently taking the car to its 9000rpm redline. But although the 1600 MIVEC motor is a resilient little powerhouse, it can only handle so much abuse and bit the dust in a big way during an MMC (Mitsubishi Motorsport Club) track day at Taupo.
“A donor GSR was soon robbed of its power plant and work got underway removing the poked 1.6 from the Mirage in preparation for its new heart”
Once the car was transported back to the workshop, it sat there for the next year gathering dust and looking a little on the sad side. That is, until salvation arrived in the form of everyone’s favourite 'token Asian’, Kieran Ng. Kieran, a friend of Jaron’s, had been eying up the car for a while and eventually convinced his mate to sell it at a very good price, with the intention of putting the car back on the road in larger capacity, turbocharged form. Fortunately for Kieran, Mitsubishi’s 1600cc 4G92 MIVEC motor is nearly identical in exterior dimensions to the 1800cc 4G93T you find in the Lancer GSR. A donor GSR was soon robbed of its power plant and work got underway removing the poked 1.6 from the Mirage in preparation for its new heart. The two motors go as far as sharing the same mounts, so the job of bolting the new mill up was fairly easy, as was mating it to the MIVEC gearbox, complete with limited slip differential.
Kieran has decided to stick with the stock TD04 turbocharger for the time being, happy with the very quick spool-up time and lively feel. However, a few changes have been made to push the power levels up and make things a little more interesting during those jaunts around the winding Wellington streets. A K&N filter now feeds air to the little turbo through a custom 3-inch intake. From there, a 520x230x70mm intercooler mounted up front cools the charge of air on its way past the Go Fast Bits Mach1 blow-off valve to the stock throttle body, through a length of 2.5-inch intercooler piping. Fuel-wise, Kieran kept it very simple, replacing the stock Mirage fuel pump with an Evo III item, making sure there is enough gas to match the increased airflow. For the exhaust, the proverbial tie has been loosened and breathing improved thanks to a 2.25-inch mandrel bent exhaust and RPS stainless muffler.
With the addition of 17-inch Advanti Stalker rims shod in Nankang NS-1 205/40R17 tyres, the car is an all-round street package, great fun to drive and a cool little car to look at. After going for a quick blat, I was surprised at just how much like a go-kart the little Mitsi felt, darting from corner to corner, the small turbocharger hissing away as the front wheels struggled to maintain traction.
Kieran is set on keeping the car for the time being, although I can’t help but wonder if it will once again soon be changing hands. You never know, we may well see this veteran of a car out on the drag strip in a few years pulling a 10, or maybe even competing in the NZPC Super Lap, which will, of course, be huge by then. Only time will tell.
Occupation: Student/Sales assistant
Build time: 1 month
Length of ownership: 7 months
Dream Car: Lamborghini Gallardo
Kieran thanks: David Thomsen, Dan, Chris, Jaron, Chris Thomsen Motors, SLAP! Car Audio, Mum and Dad, Katrina and everyone else who has helped out.
1995 Mitsubishi Mirage Cyborg
Engine: 4G93T DOHC 16-valve turbo, K&N filter, custom 3-inch intake, 520x230x70mm intercooler, 2.5-inch intercooler piping, GFB Mach 1 blow-off valve, Evo III fuel pump, 2.25-inch mandrel bent exhaust, RPS stainless muffler
Driveline: 5-speed LSD gearbox, heavy-duty clutch
Suspension/Brakes: Koni adjustable shock absorbers, low King springs, factory 4-wheel disc brakes, TRW brake pads
Wheels/Tyres: 17-inch Advanti Stalker alloys, Nankang NS-1 205/40R17 tyres
Exterior: Custom blue paint, modified Cyborg bumper, deleted body strips, 35 percent tints
Interior: Full vinyl re-trim, Momo steering wheel, Momo gear knob, Auto Meter boost gauge
ICE: 2×12-inch JVC subwoofers, 2x Power Acoustic DV4-800 amplifiers, JVC 6-inch components, JVC KD-LH3105 headunit, Optima dry cell battery.
Growing up with a younger brother or sister can be a frustrating task. As the older child, you are responsible for pushing the limits of your parents’ tolerance. Chances are, by the time the young one is growing up, the parents are a lot more relaxed than they were with you. Being the younger one, they will always try to out-do your efforts. You name it — school work, the sports field, or even in the bedroom, you have set a standard that they will aim to beat.
Mark Burgess’s RX-7 Series One may not be the latest model car on the track, but it’s certainly showing the late-model cars the way
The early model Mazda RX-7s fall into the older sibling category. With so many members of the car-loving public gloating about how fantastic the Series Six and Seven RX-7s are, the achievements of the Series One, Two and Three cars almost go unnoticed. Back in 1978, when the RX-7 was first produced, angular lines were the thing to have. Come the 90s though, angles were out, and the sleek lines of the Series Six took the world by storm. And even mechanically the younger Series Six has dealt a blow to big brother. Where Series One to Three cars were predominantly produced in naturally aspirated form, from the Series Six onwards, RX-7s were all forced induction.
Thanks to Wellingtonian Mark Burgess, the Series Six’s days of being top dog are numbered —â€ at least on the racetrack, that is. Two years ago, after the demise of his previous competition vehicle, Mark decided to get serious in the OSCA (Open Saloon Car Association) race scene. As friends of his were already campaigning rotary vehicles with huge success, he knew this was the way to go. In OSCA, almost anything goes, so in the quest to be competitive a build of astronomical proportions was commenced. Brent Hoare of RSD Engineering took the task of creating space frame front and rear ends from chromoly.
Custom top shock mounts have been built into the rear of the chassis, attached to which are Afco double adjustable shock absorbers. At the base of the shocks is a Datsun 240RS diff fitted with a limited slip head and full floating hubs. Although this may seem like an unusual combination, it does the task — and without breaking the bank in the process. Holding the diff in place is a custom watts linkage, installed by Allan 'Monty’ Montgomery of Montgomery Motorsport. Up front, Koni coil-over shocks have been fitted to custom strut tops, and a heavy-duty sway bar is installed to reduce body roll. As I was lucky enough to be in the car for a few laps around the Taupo Fast Track, I’m glad to say that Mark didn’t pinch his pennies when it came to choosing brakes. Up front are Wilwood Superlite four-pot calipers, Jag rotors and carbon metallic pads. Down the back, the Datsun diff now wears Wilwood Dynalite four-pot callipers and custom rotors. Both ends are at the mercy of a Wilwood pedal box and driver-adjustable bias knob.
As mentioned earlier, it was the looks department that put the Series Six in the front row of the Mazda family photo. But with the bodywork changes that have been applied to this particular Series One, it could fairly claim centre stage. Thanks to an IMSA Cup body kit used by American race teams in the 80s, the car is now a full six inches wider than standard, and its sharp angular lines have been enhanced. As a genuine IMSA rear end was not available, though, Monty knocked one up at home in his Palmerston North garage. And, I’m sure you will agree, the result is nothing short of fantastic! providing an arse end, perhaps, to rival the best of this mag’s cover models.
To keep weight to a minimum, both doors, the rear hatch and the bonnet have also been constructed from fibreglass, and all windows (bar the front screen) have been replaced with lightweight polycarbonate. When it came to colour choice, Mark has kept the sponsors happy by choosing Ford Falcon metallic grey paint and having Sign Makers do their thing with the graphics.
To fill out the large guards, super-wide Simmons wheels have been chosen. These measure in at 16×10 inches up front and 16×12 inches at the rear, and are wrapped in 290 wide and 310 wide Dunlop slicks respectively. I’ve been in a few quick cars in my time, and I must say that I was highly impressed with the performance of this vehicle. If it were equipped with drag slicks, my estimation is the car would be capable of a high nine, or low 10-second quarter mile. Better yet, though, it can stop and turn just as well.
Creating 514hp at the wheels is a motor Monty pieced together, also in the garage at home. The Cosmo-sourced 13B turbo’s housings and end plates are held together with custom dowles. For porting, the housings were sent to Sammy of Sambloc, who extended the factory ports to Monty’s secret specs. Filling the housings are modified Series Four rotors fitted with 3mm apex seals and modified stationary gears. For reliability, the entire rotating assembly has been balanced. To foot it with the high-horsepower V8s and 20B powered rotaries in the OSCA class, Mark has opted to run with a Garret T70 ball bearing turbo. Cooling the intake charge from the quick spooling turbo is a massive front-mount intercooler that feeds into the stock Cosmo intake manifold. Providing fuel to the combustion chambers are a pair of 550cc injectors and a pair of 1700cc secondaries, both fed through braided lines. These lines draw from a custom two-litre surge tank mounted in the rear along with a Holley lift pump and a Bosch 044 main pump.
For engine management, a MicroTech LTX-8 has been installed, tuned by Palmerston North’s Speed Works. To create the 500-plus horsepower, the vehicle runs 20psi boost on 100-octane gas aviation-grade fuel. These boost levels are regulated through a 48mm Turbosmart wastegate and Turbosmart mechanical boost controller. Spent gases, from both the engine and wastegate, are expelled through a three-inch into four-inch exhaust exiting through a custom rear muffler.
During my track time in the car, I can assure you it’s not only the engine bay that gets hot.
Despite OSCA races generally lasting for less than 12 minutes, a lot of heat is developed. To disperse this as quickly as possible, the car has a large Fluidyne alloy radiator and a Mazda Racing oil cooler. Transferring the power from the angry engine to the Datsun rear end is a Tremac TKO 600 five-speed gearbox. The transmission relies on a Quartermaster twin plate clutch and custom billet flywheel to get moving. With the sticky rear rubber, its not the friendliest combo to get off the line, but once out on the track, Mark has no worries about drive line reliability.
During my track time in the car, I can assure you it’s not only the engine bay that gets hot. When on the track, though, the heat seems to go unnoticed — your eyes are glue to the tarmac and your senses beyond vision are all trying to cope with the associated G-forces. Thankfully, Racetech seats and TRS harnesses ensure that both driver and passenger are securely fastened. The roll cage in the vehicle can only be described as extensive — there seemed to be bars going every possible way, yet visibility was unobscured. To help make up for the weight of the cage, the dashboard has been reproduced from lightweight carbon fibre and fitted with only the bare necessities. A MicroTech digital dash displays relevant engine information, while Auto Meter oil pressure and oil temperature gauges provide peace of mind.
After 12 months in construction, the car has now spent nine months on the track. And despite Mark claiming his driving is not up to scratch, the car has been highly competitive. On its maiden outing it won all of its three races, and took a round win at Manfeild later in the season, too. So with plenty of late model RX-7s starting to find their way onto the race track, both in OSCA and other classes, Mark’s old girl has done the early generations proud. She’s the one to beat.
Dream Car: One that doesn’t crash
Why the RX-7? I wrote off my previous race car
Build time: 12 months
Length of ownership: Two years
Mark thanks: Brent @ Speedworks Palmerston North, Kerry Little @ Signmakers Palmerston North, Cameron 'Banjo’ Jones @ CJR Racing, Brent @ RSD Engineering, Midnight Monty @ Montgomery Motorsport, Gavin Stewart @ RIP Racing, Ryan & Leeroy @ Extreme Automotive Lower Hutt, Shane Jones, City Auto Painters, Rob Mitchell, Sammy @ Sambloc
Sponsors: Fuji Xerox NZ Ltd, Wynns NZ Ltd, Pivotal Ultra Copy, Extreme Automotive, Signmakers, & my wife Candice
1978 Mazda RX-7 Series One
Engine: Mazda Cosmo 13B turbo, Montgomery Motorsport modified stationary gears, Montgomery Motorsport dowles, Modified Series 4 rotors, 3mm apex seals, balanced rotating assembly, custom extend porting, K&N filter, 3-inch intercooler piping, Garrett T70 ball bearing turbo, 48mm Turbosmart wastegate, Turbosmart blow-off valve, Bosch 044 fuel pump, Holley lift pump, 2-litre surge tank, AEM fuel pressure regulator, 2x550cc injectors, 2x1700cc injectors, 4x Bosch coils, NGK plugs, custom exhaust system, 4-inch muffler, Fluidyne radiator, Mazda racing oil cooler, Speedworks 600x400x100mm intercooler, MicroTech LTX-8 ECU, Turbosmart boost controller
Driveline: Tremec TK0600 5-speed gearbox, Quartermaster 7.25-inch twin plate, custom billet flywheel, Nissan 240RS limited slip diff, full floating hubs
Suspension: Afco double adjustable rear shocks, Koni adjustable front inserts, Eibach springs, custom watts linkage, heavy-duty sway bar, Mazda factory racing steering box
Brakes: Wilwood Superlite 4-pot front callipers, Jag slotted rotors, carbon metallic racing pads, Wilwood Dynalite 4-pot rear callipers, custom rear rotors, Wilwood pedal box
Wheels/tyres: Simmons 16×10-inch front, 16×12-inch rear wheels, Dunlop slicks 16×290 front, 16x 310 rear
Exterior: RX-7 IMSA Cup body kit, Ford Falcon grey/black, RSD Engineering designed space frame front and rear
Interior: Chrome molly roll cage, Racetech seat, Momo steering wheel, custom gear knob, MicroTech dash,
Performance: 514hp at the wheels 20psi boost, Manfeild 1.13, Taupo 1.41
I was never really a fan of school when I was there. However, when the opportunity to attend the Racepro Drift School in early October arose, it was one class I wasn’t going to miss. And with the prospect of throwing someone else’s 280hp car sideways, shredding their tyres in the process, it wasn’t long before I’d signed myself up. Now despite common rumours floating around (courtesy of the Ed), I don’t fancy myself as a bit of a 'Stig’ on track. And with only a couple of grass motorkhanas in my motorsport curriculam vitae and one short track jaunt, I wasn’t overly confident about how the day was going to pan out for me. Especially seeing that my RWD experience stretched to all of a couple of hours’ seat time in NZPC photographer Clutch’s infamous purple MX-5.
There’s no school quite like slide school.
Staff photographer Adam Croy and myself turned up at Champion Dragway in Meremere for the day’s proceedings on what was a scorcher of a Saturday morning. We were greeted at the gate by the Racepro crew, and then headed off to the deep end of the track where we set up school for the day.
Remember those plastic chairs you sat on in class? Well, there was even a line-up of them ready for us on our arrival. While waiting for the remainder of the six students attending the day to arrive (three per teacher and car), both tutors, Sean Falconer and Jairus 'JT’ Wharerau, took the Drift School Nissan Cefiro and Nissan Skyline for short 'warm-up’ runs down the strip. With the cars now suitably heated for the punishment to come, and all students in attendance, we sat down and had a brief tutorial on what we’d be learning before heading off in our groups. Adam headed further down the track with JT in the Skyline, while I stayed where we were with Sean.
Our first piece of drift trivia for the day was throttle control, and just how important throttle control is when it comes to doing anything sideways. For this, we were on passenger duties as we were taken one by one out to do donuts around a cone. While the idea of doing a donut seems simple (turn wheels, bury the boot and hold it on full lock) the reality of it all is somewhat different. With a cone in place to go around, it suddenly meant it was all about control. Not enough throttle and the rear wouldn’t kick properly. Too much throttle and the car had a tendency to throw the rear end around too quickly for the front to play ball, funnily enough resulting in coming to a spinning halt while doing donuts (yes, surprisingly it is possible). With a newfound knowledge of how important toying with the throttle will affect the slide, I was quickly into it. As with every drift station I attacked throughout the day, a quick demo in the car with Sean was up first before I was let loose.
Our first skill of the day was a 180-degree spin around a cone. While this may sound simple, controlling 280hp to only flick 180-degrees without going any further was a little more challenging than I would have first imagined. Despite being on the money first shot, my next couple went a little downhill, after getting a little too deep on the throttle. However, with this mastered, I was off on my next venture — extending the 180 into a continuous donut. Like I said earlier, it was all about throttle control, and it was soon apparent that I didn’t have much as I found myself getting friendly with the limiter and going around too far.
This wasn’t my only issue here, though. One thing I hadn’t quite got used to yet was the idea of being quite savage on the car. It would be fair to say I had a few 'teething’ issues on this exercise with not being as savage as I needed to be to get the rear’s spinning up enough. Once I got over myself though, it all become a lot easier, and tight donuts around the cone on opposite lock, arching out to wide sweeping first gear donuts soon came naturally.
Once Sean was happy the group had proved our worth, we were into 180-degree handbrake turns, progressing to a handbrake turn with a slide out, and finishing up with a handbrake turn into donuts. As the majority of handbrakes I’d done in my time were behind the wheel of FWDs, the only adjustment I found myself having to get used to was the co-ordination of popping the clutch, snatching the handbrake and getting the revs up and then releasing the clutch to induce wheelspin down the rear. While by this stage I was fairly certain I wouldn’t be taking out a spot in the Top 16 at any D1NZ event in the near future, I felt as though I was picking the skills up at a reasonable rate. This was until I met our next task — figure eights.
While each skill we’d learnt up until here had been getting progressively harder, and even though we had more left to do in the day, this was the skill I found the most difficult to pick up. However, I put this down to a lack of co-ordination more than anything else. It involved a mix of handbrake, steering wheel, and throttle control to hold a consistent drift around the two cones in a figure-eight motion. While I managed to pick it up eventually, I found my line coming into the cone on the second or third time around often too tight, making a clean arch around the next cone difficult.
With lunchtime fast approaching, and the sun beating down even more, the Racepro crew cracked out the BBQ and suitably fed us for the afternoon’s sliding. However, with the prospect of sliding around in the afternoon, I figured eating less was probably the best bet. It seemed as though JT hadn’t learnt from his morning throw-up care of NZPC’s editor (who’d turned up to try to show us up), and proceeded to pack as much food down as possible for a second attempt later on. However, by now it had seemed that we’d already completed what was initially planned to fill the day.
For the afternoon session JT and Sean devised a new plan of attack to feed our sliding appetites. The call was to challenge us with a second gear clutch kick coming down the return road, sliding back onto the strip. If you’ve spent any time on the drag strip you’ll know the hole in the ground we had to negotiate our way around without dipping the front in to. This was the task I found the most enjoyable of the day. Once I’d got the hang of stabbing the clutch to get the car out, getting off the gas to get the right angle and then getting back on it to hold a slide, I got a little more adventurous on my exit. This lead to what Sean then commented as his highlight of the day — my spin.
While exiting the corner and sliding my way up the track up just short of the rev limiter in second gear, Sean signalled for me to flick the steering wheel around the other way to throw the rear end to the opposite side. However, my cat-like reflexes hadn’t joined me in the car that day, and before I knew it, we were fast going around in the opposite direction, heading for the grass. With a bit of quick fire teamwork involving me standing hard on the picks, and Sean snatching the handbrake, we managed to pull the car up just short of the grass and the fence.
With the day fast drawing to a close after a couple of adaptations to the clutch-kick exercise, I climbed out of the driver’s seat, having spent around two hours between the passenger and driver’s seat throughout the day. I knew the skills I’d learnt would have taken me at least 10 sessions at the track, and a number of bent panels to pick up. And I wasn’t the only one to think so, either: another student, Aslan, said, “I understand drifting a lot better now, and it was really good to have the one-on-one time.”
If you’re interested in going to a school you’ll enjoy, the cost for the day is $549, which includes a good couple of hours in the car learning one-on-one with the country’s best sliders, plus lunch and the chance to burn someone else’s tyres. Give the Racepro team a yell on 0508 RACEPRO to sign yourself up.
Since the Toyota Altezza’s introduction to the market back in 1998, the luxury cars have been used for a wide variety of purposes. Sure, 95 per cent of those on the roads are probably stock standard, but the remaining have been modified, as street cars, show cars and race cars. Thanks to the wide range of engines Toyota produces, plenty have undergone engine transplants and are now fitted with 4.0-litre V8’s 2.5-litre 1JZ’s or the mac-daddy three-litre twin turbo 2JZ. There are even a few around that no longer run a Toyota-based engine at all, but most people agree, doing such a conversion is a quick way to ruin what was a nice vehicle to begin with.
These days modified Toyota Altezzas are everywhere — the street, the circuit and the show arena. Is there nothing an Altezza can’t do?
Pukekohe’s Jeremy Butcher originally purchased his sleek black RS200 Altezza back in 2003 and only ever intended it to be a street car. Three years on, however, the vehicle is a standout in the show arena, yet Jeremy says he’s not even half way done yet. Working as a fitter/turner by trade at the Glenbrook Steel mill just south of Auckland, Jeremy is well versed in dealing with dangerous substances. His fluorescent hardhat and safety goggles were no match for the infectiousness of car audio however. To get his fix of aural amusement Jeremy sent the car on a holiday to ICE Car Audio in Hamilton.
Dave the main man at ICE, along with Dion from Soundstream, managed to convince Jeremy that a small install just wouldn’t cut it. Although not convinced at the time, there is no way he would turn back now. As Soundstream were quite keen to get their gear into the car, they managed to cut a good deal, one that has seen Soundstream used almost exclusively. The exception from this is the Panasonic touch screen 7001 CD/DVD player head unit. Complete with a 7-inch LCD screen, the unit is responsible for every aspect of the system.
Mounted in a custom pod above the head unit is the sole input source for the entire install. When covered, the center looks just like part of the dashboard, but uncovered it is actually two small woofers and a centrally mounted tweeter. Despite the speaker being miniscule in size, it is powered of an amplifier, aptly named a Lil Wonder. The decision to run a canter channel was made to improve sound staging and to provide a full-on movie feel when watching DVDs. Jeremy says that when people are watching movies and a helicopter or similar is on screen, it feels like it’s coming right at you. Part of this feeling is no doubt thanks to the twin Soundstream T412 12-inch subwoofers firing directly into the back seat. Although only rated at 900WRMS each, they are currently receiving 1500WRMS from two Picasso Series mono block amplifiers.
To achieve such power levels, each woofer is powered from its own amplifier. In this configuration, the pressure produced within the box has proven to be quite excessive. During testing the 10mm thick Perspex window cracked, and the stainless bolts holding the cover in place sheared in half. Since this drama, the window has been replaced with 20mm thick Perspex, which so far has survived the pounding it receives. For maximum current, both sub amps have been connected to a one-farad stiffening capacitor, and an adjustable bass boost control has been fitted into a custom panel below the head unit. Mounted just below this is an impressive looking Soundstream distribution block that doubles as a handy voltage gauge to ensure Jeremy is never stuck with a flat battery.
For a great-sounding front fill, Soundstream six-inch components have been fitted to each door. The tweeters for each side are mounted up in the wing mirror sail area, while the woofer has been fitted to a custom pod. Each of the pods also displays the impressive looking Soundstream crossover units and has been sprayed in gloss red. Powering the door-mounted speakers is the task of a Picasso Series 4x400W amplifier.
To fit all the amplifiers and the large sub box into the boot, the speaker amp, and a fourth 2x260W amp have been fitted to sliding tracks. At the press of a button both amplifiers recess into the sides of the boot tyre well, leaving the large sub amps on display. For motorisation, Jeremy originally used electric sunroof motors, but has since changed to electric seat items. The 260W amp is soley to power the rear parcel tray mounted 6×9-inch speakers. As the car is regularly entered into shows, the underside of the boot lid is now also adorned with audio gear. Another pair of Soundstream six-inch speakers flank a seven-inch Soundstream monitor in a custom-made fibreglass and vinyl panel. Although no speakers are mounted in the rear doors as yet, custom pods have been made that will soon be modified. In the meantime, rear-seat passengers are entertained by seven-inch, headrest-mounted monitors. As with all fibreglass parts of the audio install, the interior has been changed to red. The man responsible for the trim work was Elroy from In Car Upholstery, who Jeremy can’t speak highly enough of.
Although it was originally the looks of the vehicle that attracted Jeremy to the car, he knew he could make it look better than and different from the rest. To do this, he has pieced together the best bits of various body kits including the American sourced C-One front bumper. To make the bumper just that tad different, Tony from Slammed Kustoms was responsible for adding custom vents to the sides, and moulding the front lip. The side skirts Jeremy has chosen are from the Sard catalogue, and once again Tony has added custom touches. This time it’s each end of the side skirts that have been modified. Down the rear a Cyber bumper matches the look surprisingly well. Originally the Cyber bumper was too deep, but it too has been customised to make the car far more driveway friendly. Before the car was sent off to AJ at Whenuapai Auto Refinish (WAR) to have the kit painted, Cyber headlight covers and aftermarket tail light covers were fitted, along with a vented carbon fibre bonnet.
The classy look is finished off with 19-inch Alba Bank wheels wrapped in 215/35R19 Pirelli rubber. To bring the car down to a respectable height, D2 coil-over suspension has been fitted all round. These, along with thick TRD sway bars make for excellent road holding and great stability through the winding Pukekohe outskirts. Although power isn’t high on the priority list (yet) a TOM’s panel filter has been fitted, as has a RPS muffler. This small amount of power is now transferred into forward momentum through a TRD clutch and lightweight TRD flywheel. Despite the car already standing out in a crowd, and taking home Auto Salon trophies, Jeremy has a lot more plans for it. If and when these are completed, you can be sure the car will not only turn heads, but tyres also.
Age: Twenty something
Occupation: Fitter Turner
Previously owned cars: Mitsubishi Galant, Corolla FX-GT, Mitsubishi Lancer, Toyota Altezza
Dream car: Altezza with a twin turbo Lexus V8
Build time: Three years and still going
Length of Ownership: Three years
Jeremy thanks: Teena & my Family, Dion @ Hotwire, The boys @ ICE, Tony @ Slammed Kustoms, AJ @ Whenuapai Auto Refinish, Elroy @ In Car Upholstery, Rob @ Eastern Rims, Calvin @ Tyre Mate, Team Stream Boys, Altezza Club, Prakesh, Adam, Dippa, Roydon, Collin, Blair, & all the people who say “nice ride”…
1999 Toyota Altezza RS200 Z Edition
Engine: Beams 3SGE VVTi, Tom’s panel filter
Driveline: Factory 6-speed, TRD clutch, TRD flywheel
Suspension: D2 coilovers, TRD sway bars, factory 4-wheel disc brakes
Wheels/Tyres: 19-inch Alba Bank wheels, 215/35R19 Pirelli tyres
Exterior: After market front grill, C-One front bumper, Sard side skirts, carbon fibre bonnet, TOM’s eyelids, tail light covers, Cyber rear bumper, custom rear lip
Interior: TRD carbon fibre gear knob, retrimmed seats, custom colour coding
ICE: Panasonic 7001 CD/DVD player, Soundstream 6-inch components x2, Soundstream 6×9-inch speakers, Soundstream Picasso Series 4x400W amp, Soundstream Picasso series 2x260W amp, 2x Picasso 1500W mono block amps, Soundstream VCE.71 7-inch screen, 7-inch headrest screens, 1x Lil Wonder 120W amp, 2xT412 subwoofers, one-farad capacitor
Queensland turned up the heat for the 16th Fast Fours Jamboree (J16) event. Organiser Ray Box and his team delivered awesome organisation and a scorching line up of the fastest imports in Australasia. This year there was a lot in store for the dedicated import race fans. First and foremost, the invitation of three fast Puerto Rican drag cars to battle it out with the Aussies and Kiwis, making Jamboree more of a tri-nations event rather than a trans-Tasman affair.
I HAD BEEN WARNED THAT THE FAST FOURS JAMBOREE WOULD BE HOT, STICKY, LOUD AND LIKE NOTHING I HAD EVER EXPERIENCED. THEY WERE RIGHT!
Another new addition was the Sport Compact Group drag racing series with 12 new classes on offer. It is a totally new series that has been developed with heavy consultation of drivers, builders and race teams to try and provide a more compatible series for cars to enter. It is not a complete step away from ANDRA (Australia National Drag Racing Association) as the cars will still have to meet ANDRA safety regulations and events will still have to be sanctioned.
With this in mind, I knew it was going to be a year for the record books and could hardly wait to get trackside and watch the action. Being the kind of guy who doesn’t do things by halves, I decided to rent a campervan (translate to 'because I am so disorganised and left it so late, I couldn’t find a single hotel room in the whole of Queensland’) and totally immerse myself in the complete Jamboree weekend experience. I was totally blown away when I arrived at Willowbank Raceway. It is a truly an international-quality race venue. From the moment you enter the gate you are aware that the Australians mean business and you should expect a whole new level of racing. I arrived early (still running on New Zealand time) and took the opportunity to walk through the sea of tents that is the pits. Again, I was informed that this was a very important weekend by the staggering level of commitment by all the different race teams.
The pits were packed to the brim with big rig trailer units, generators and workshops that would put any small sized mechanic to shame. Everyone was wearing team colours or sponsors’ shirts and, even though it was only 9am, the place was buzzing with activity. I was pleased to find a few familiar faces amongst the crowd when I came across Reece McGregor and the Heat Treatments team. They had come over earlier in the week to test and tune the car for the track and — as you should know by now — achieved outstanding success with a blistering 7.59 at 295kph ET. That time was quick enough to take down HKS’ long-held GT-R record of 7.671 and, in doing so, become the quickest 4WD machine in the world. The guys were in high spirits and quietly confident they could produce even better numbers over the weekend.
It was also really good too see Rod Harvey and the Rayglass Datsun crew there. They had also arrived earlier in the week and had benefited from the test days with a very strong run of 7.80 seconds at 274kph, sitting Rod Harvey just in behind Reece for qualifying and showing promise of good things to come over the weekend. With the crackle and pop of rev-limiters and the squealing of tires echoing off the grandstands, I decided it was time to head trackside and check out some of the action. If you have only ever witnessed drag racing at either Meremere or Taupo, Willowbank is something else again.
The track was glassy black and actually looked wet from a distance. As the officials walked around on it, you could hear their shoes sticking and squelching on the VHT-covered surface. Another phenomenon found only in Australian import racing is the huge popularity of Mazda RXs and old school Datsuns. I was not aware there were that many left in existence, let alone those capable of producing such quick times. The staging lanes were packed with RX-2s, 3s, 808s, R100s, Datto 1600s, 1200 utes and coupes — all sporting high horsepower rotaries or a four cylinder of some description. The wheelie bars, huge slicks and monster turbos lurking behind the removed front headlights of most of these old cars gave me a fairly good indication of what to expect, but I was continuously amazed at the awesome times that were consistently run all weekend long. Apparently, eight second passes from un-tubbed vehicles and nine seconds on street rubber is normal over the ditch. Even so, I was blown away and, judging from the noise from the grandstands, the crowd also appreciated the times being run by the street classes.
“I won’t go into too much detail about fully colour-coded suede interiors or excessive use of chrome, but I would like to make special mention of the Datsun 510 (1600) on display in the PWR tent”
With lunch time quickly approaching, I headed for the stage behind the grandstand to check out the bikini competition and Show ’n’ Shine area. Being high noon, it was incredibly hot and I must commend the girls on putting on a very good show in conditions that would have seen lesser men faint. As for the Show ’n’ Shine, let me just say, when it comes to style, Australians are extremely polarised — some have it and some just don’t. I won’t go into too much detail about fully colour-coded suede interiors or excessive use of chrome, but I would like to make special mention of the Datsun 510 (1600) on display in the PWR tent. Having just won the Fast Fours magazine Penrite Modified Car Of The Year, I was eager to check it out in the flesh. The amount of subtle detailing and the finish of this car are just amazing. There is not a nut or bolt out of place on the whole car and the underbody must have been a panel beaters nightmare as it is now dead flat and totally detailed.
After lunch the track was prepared for qualifying and the different classes began to assemble in the staging lanes. The difference in speed was apparent right away. I’m not sure if they used VHT or Gorilla Grip, but you could hear the tires biting all the way down the track. One of the first of the big boys out was the Puerto Rican Ivan Martinez in his awesome Pro Compact 13B-powered Toyota KE20. To prove their worth, on his shake down run straight off the trailer, he ran an 8.16 at 273kph. It was just the after-lunch wake-up call the crowd needed and they were suddenly ready for more. That’s exactly what they got from Bill Nabhan in his Pro Turbo RX-3, who ran 7.50 at 303kph straight afterwards.
As the afternoon continued, the numbers dropped. Martinez quickly broke his personal best of 7.79 with a blistering 7.63 at 279kph. He wasn’t alone — PB after PB were broken, proving the quality of the track. One of the most exciting cars to watch was the wicked pink Mazda 1300 wagon of Peter Donchos. It was his first meeting in the Lalor Towing wagon and he was having issues with the rear suspension, causing it to bog in the rear. Despite wheelie bars, he was pulling massive air. Showing true sportsmanship, the Puerto Ricans got stuck into his suspension with him and quickly helped him sort it out, dropping his ETs from mid 14s to a very respectable 8.07 straight away.
As the afternoon wore on and all the top guys had run at least twice, I was beginning to worry that there might be something wrong in the Heat Treatments pits. But, just after 6pm, I saw Reece being towed into the staging area. I took an educated guess as to which lane he would run in and hunkered down and waited for him. Just before 6:30pm Reece staged. The whole crew was there and they were just standing in the burnout area, rather than fussing over the car, so I knew something good was expected. He launched harder than I have ever seen him do before and he seemed much smoother and direct. Watching the board light up with a 7.577 at 305kph was absolutely awesome. Reece McGregor had just re-written the record books again and it was definitely the highlight of whole weekend. Unfortunately, Rod Harvey wasn’t sharing his luck. The Rayglass was restricted to eights and nines all day due to traction and driveline issues.
“One of the most exciting cars to watch was the wicked pink Mazda 1300 wagon of Peter Donchos”
With the first day rapped up, I decided to head back to the pits and do some socialising with the teams. It wasn’t long before I found myself at the Puerto Rican tent sharing a drink with the boys from the northern hemisphere. Despite the obvious language barrier, we had a pretty good common ground and within a few minutes it was obvious these guys were mad about drag racing. Puerto Rico is roughly 170km long and 60kms wide (most of which is mountains), yet they have four dedicated drag strips that run six days a week.
They run elimination-style drag racing and will not stop until it is finished — often running right through till two or three in the morning. After a few more drinks and a traditional Aussie BBQ put on by the lads in the next tent for us foreigners (yes I had Kangaroo steaks and XXXX beer), it was time to turn in. Man, I was glad my palatial campervan was only 30-odd metres away. Sunday was just as hot as Saturday. By 10am Willowbank was once again full of eager spectators ready to watch the elimination rounds leading up to the finals. There were a lot of good battles through out the day and Rod managed to break back into the sevens on his first run with a 7.981. The finals saw a complete Puerto Rican dominance of the Pro Compact class, with Ivan Martinez in his KE20 taking on Raul Gonzalez in his awesome little 13B Datsun 1200 coupe with the win going to Martinez. It was interesting that almost all the guys who ran the fastest qualifying times the day before didn’t make it to the finals of their respective classes.
Unfortunately, this made Sunday a bit of an anticlimax after the spectacular passes seen on Saturday. Still, the finals were fiercely competed. If you are looking for a new racing experience, I can’t recommend Jamboree enough. It’s a bit of money to spend on a weekend, but, for true enthusiasts, it is well worth it because the quality of racing is worlds apart. The Puerto Ricans had a blast and are promising to be back next year (maybe even with a stop in New Zealand, if we are lucky) and with the new Sport Compact Series, things are looking very promising for next year.
I still remember how things were run at school. The standard four kids ruled the playground, while my standard one mates and I sat back and waited for our opportunity. Aside from the odd rogue standard one kid jumping the gun and playing anyway, the standard four kids were the cool kids — there was no denying that. Three years later I was on top of the ladder. I wasn’t any cooler though. I was just taller, a little older and had first dibs on the flying fox.
Some play by the rules. Others break them. But Andy Cheals just wants to play the game
It has been a similar rise from the bottom rung to the top for Auckland’s Andy Cheals and his 1984 KP60 Toyota Starlet. When the 29-year-old Branch Manager started the build three years ago, there were a number of cool, similar-spec’d KPs already roaming the streets — but that didn’t sway him in his intentions. 36 months later Andy’s perseverance has paid off.
When Andy first got his modifying mitts on the Starlet, it was in desperate need of some TLC. Still, he had big plans for the pint-sized Toyota and wasn’t going to let a little hard work stand in his way. Early Starlet engines lacked in the power department, so Andy knew that if he wanted to have fun he’d need to swap the factory 1200cc 3K engine for something a little more special. Today, a 1500cc 5K pillaged from a Toyota Liteace van fills the gap.
For the first few days the KP felt quick. But after taking it to the drag strip and running a 16.3-second quarter, Andy also knew that to get any sort of respectable power from the straight four pushrod motor, he’d need to crack it open and toy with its innards.
Because the car needed to remain tractable around town, he never intended to push the engine to its utmost limits. Instead, Andy made the decision to retain the 5K bottom end’s factory specification and concentrate on flowing more air through the cylinder head. After all, this is where power is made in a naturally aspirated arrangement.
Stripped bare, the eight-valve head was firstly given a bit of a grind in preparation for bigger valves. They now measure 1mm larger on the intake and 2mm larger on the exhaust side and are fitted with heavy duty springs. The oversize valves were also cut a little longer to accommodate the fact that the base circle had been ground down on the re-shaped Frankin Cam Services camshaft.
“One of the main reasons for the build was to engineer a car that would be a cheap 'foot in the door’ to motorsport”
With 280-degree of duration and approximately 8mm of lift, the engine may have lost a little of its low-RPM torque characteristics, but has made up for it with extra grunt approaching the redline. Since the standard 5K carburettor set-up was now good for nothing, twin 40mm Solex Mikuni side draughts were bolted on top of a Lynx manifold, then match-ported to the head for a clean flow. The end result has not only aided in the performance stakes, but also added a pleasant induction roar when Andy’s foot is hard up it.
An electric fuel pump (fitted in place of the standard mechanical item) makes sure there’s enough fuel at all times. The standard spark from the 5K lacked a little in grunt, so a GT40 high power coil was installed along with 8mm Topgun leads and NGK plugs. A Nissan twin-core aluminium radiator now keeps the temperature in check. Finally, to remove the nasty concoction of gasses created by the fuel and the spark, four-into-one extractors were built and heat wrapped. The extractors join into 2.25-inch piping and exit out the rear through a chrome muffler.
Controlling the power delivery of the new engine room set-up is a standard 5K-spec K50 five-speed gearbox. The trans was fitted with a lightweight 13lb machined flywheel, matched with a heavy-duty clutch and topped off by a Jim Tune short shifter. Out the back, a Toyota Racing Developments (TRD) six-inch LSD diff head, tucked away inside the factory housing, gets the power and torque load to the rear wheels.
“Andy made the decision to retain the 5K bottom end’s factory specification and concentrate on flowing more air through the cylinder head. After all, this is where power is made in a naturally aspirated arrangement”
One of the main reasons for the build was to engineer a car that would be a cheap 'foot in the door’ to motorsport. This meant a lot of attention was paid to both the suspension and the brakes. In an effort to improve both handling and steering response, a pair of 50mm shortened struts and firm Dobi springs bring the car closer to the tarmac up front. Down the rear, Andy sourced a set of stubby Ford Escort shocks and wrapped them in super low King springs. Tying the front end together nicely and doing its part in the fight against strut tower flex is a custom strut brace.
When Andy stands on the anchors, the KP is bought to a halt by a set of SW20 MR-2 two-pot callipers chewing on Lancer Evo I rotors through race compound pads. The rear drum brake set up still suffices, since they only do a small percentage of the stopping work. Andy could have gone down a number of routes in the wheel department, but ended up choosing the 16×7-inch ROH ZS path, with Nankang 205/40R16 NS2 rubber providing the grip.
As previously mentioned, the Starlet wasn’t looking very pretty when Andy got his hands on it, so a minor exterior makeover was always on the cards. To achieve the look he was after, a jumbo TRD-style rear wing was fitted before the car was sent to Body Line Panel Beaters for its Mazda6-inspired Jade Silver Metallic paint. Finishing touches included tinted windows, a set of facelift model headlights and a new front lip spoiler.
When it came to the interior, Andy wanted something that wasn’t just functional for track jaunts, but also cool for the street. To make sure he was safe on the circuit, the car was sent over off to Chris at CAGEFX who welded in a full roll cage. A pair of Racetech seats were also mounted and wrapped with harnesses, and a Momo wheel added. To keep an eye on what’s happening under the bonnet, Andy installed oil pressure and water temperature gauges, along with an Auto Meter Monster tachometer. And because this car hasn’t (and perhaps never will be) relegated to full-time motorsport duties, a comprehensive audio install was also undertaken. Andy’s system revolves around two Lanzar 1000W subwoofers powered by an 800W Lanzar amplifier. A Lanzar headunit feeds signal to the Lanzar gear in the rear, while a pair of six-inch Sony Xplod components are at home in custom door enclosures.
With the build complete, Andy is well and truly on top of the game. Now it’s time for him to take the KP somewhere new to test the waters. So, if you come across his Starlet, think twice before you stand atop the ladder — it may be you who will be waiting for a turn on the playground.
Occupation: Branch Manager
Previously owned cars: Mk 3 Cortina, Mk 5 Cortina, Mk2 1600 sport Escort, AE82 FX-GT, KP Starlet
Dream car: ’67 Corvette 427
Why the KP? Was looking for a cheap car to get into motorsport with. And I love the look of them. You’ve got to love old-skool!
Build time: Three years and counting
Length of ownership: Three years
Andy thanks: First and foremost my fiancee Adrienne, all the boys and girls from Club-K, especially Q, Sheldon and Jamie, Matty J for all the late nights, Chris at CAGEFX for the cage, the boys at SAECO and Mike
1984 Toyota Starlet KP60
Engine: 1496cc OHV eight-valve 5K, standard block, ported and polished head, aftermarket valves, heavy duty valve springs, Franklin Cams cam, twin 40mm Solex Mikuni side draughts, Lynx manifold, electric fuel pump, GT40 coil, Topgun 8mm lead, NGK plugs, 4-1 extractors, 2.25-inch exhaust, Nissan twin-core alloy radiator.
Driveline: K50 five-speed, Jim Tune short shifter, lightened flywheel, heavy-duty clutch, TRD LSD.
Suspension: Front — shortened standard shocks with Dobi springs, Rear — Ford Escort shocks with Series One RX-7 super low King springs, custom front strut brace.
Brakes: Front — MR2 SW20 two-pot callipers, Evo I rotors, race compound pads, Rear — standard drum.
Wheels/tyres: 16×7-inch ROH ZS’s, 205/40R16 Nankang NS2 tyres.
Exterior: TRD style rear fin, Mazda 6 silver paint, tinted windows.
Interior: Racetech seats, rollcage, Momo steering wheel, oil pressure, water temperature and monster tachometer gauges, Lanzar head unit, six-inch Sony Xplod speakers, two Lanzar 1000W subwoofers, 800W Lanzar amp, custom doorcards.
Performance: 0-400m: 16.3-seconds
When I was asked to write about Victor Chapman’s awesome Nissan Silvia S13 drift machine, I thought 'I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon like every other fool and rave on about how Victor is an onion farmer’. However, it soon became apparent that I didn’t have much choice. Onions seem to be an integral part of Victor’s life, his car and their current success.
One of the country’s best slide rides was built in a shed surrounded by onions
It was late last year and the 2005 D1NZ season had just finished. Victor came away with a very respectable fifth placing overall, cementing his reputation as one of New Zealand’s best drifters, despite his youth. Things were looking good, but if he was to be competitive in the 2006 season, he needed a new car to battle the likes of rivals Fanga Dan Woolhouse, Jairus 'JT’ Wharerau, Sean Falconer and 2005 champ Adam Richards. Most of these guys were also sorting out new rides for the coming season.
As most drift fans probably know, Victor, along with a majority of other sliders, is a fan of Nissan’s Silvia platform. Having owned three other Silvias in the past, Victor knew what he wanted and got himself yet another S13 shell. The car was taken back to the Chapman Onion Farms where there just happens to be a massive workshop space. Although more commonly used to service the many trucks and tractors used on the farm, the workshop is equipped with everything you need to build a race car, including hoists, compressors and more tools than a F1 pit lane. Victor and his head mechanic, Flea, soon commandeered a corner of the shop and got to work building their best drift machine yet.
Deciding to do the fun stuff first, the boys popped the hood and embarked on a quest for more power. Essentially, the SR20DET bottom end remains stock standard, albeit helped along in the horsepower department by a treasure trove of go-fast bits. A K&N filter now feeds air into a Trust TD06 turbocharger. This particular huffer comes as part of a kit, which also includes a Trust 600x300x100mm intercooler and Trust blow-off valve.
“Victor came away with a very respectable fifth placing overall, cementing his reputation as one of New Zealand’s best drifters”
The new induction system forces a much-increased airflow into the SR20’s head, which has benefited from the addition of a set of Tomei cams and rocker arm stoppers. The task of matching the extra air with additional fuel has been entrusted to a GT-R in-tank fuel pump, feeding a set of 550cc injectors. This machine was destined to sit on the rev limiter all day long on the drift circuit, so a Koyo three-layer radiator and Trust oil cooler were installed to keep the motor from having a hissy fit of Naomi Campbell proportions.
During a vomit-inducing drift down Pukekohe’s sweeper, the Silvia is no quiet riot. A 48mm Trust wastegate, screaming in unison with a full three-inch exhaust system makes sure everyone knows what’s coming. The set-up now receives instructions from a Blitz boost controller and an A’PEXi Power FC engine management system. As many will know, the Power FC is an awesome unit, which Victor claims has been used to extract a very modest, but safe, 190 kilowatts from the setup. Although, when you see the speeds Victor reaches when flying around his Pukekohe Park Raceway home track, it’s obvious he is being very modest.
Putting the power to the ground at the rear are 18×10-inch Work Emotion rims. These are shod with Yokohama 255/35R18 tyres, while the front 17×9-inch rims use a 255/40R17 sizing. The rims are kept spinning in unison thanks to a Nismo limited slip differential, which is fed power through a custom gearbox arrangement, utilising bits from SR20, VG30 and RB26 five-speeds. The gearbox receives power via a Precision Engineering flywheel and meaty Tilton clutch, and then feeds it out to the rear diff using a custom made drive shaft.
As an experienced slider, Victor knew that while having lots of usable power is a must, it won’t get you very far if the car has more body roll than Oprah after Thanksgiving. So, he opted for a set of fully-adjustable Trust coilovers, working in unison with adjustable top arms, bottom arms and camber/caster arms. This allows the team to completely customise the Silvia’s handling package to each circuit they visit. The Nissan’s braking capabilities have been upgraded thanks to a set of Nissan Skyline GT-R front brakes with slotted rotors and Mintex pads.
“Victor knew that while having lots of usable power is a must, it won’t get you very far if the car has more body roll than Oprah after Thanksgiving”
Although the car was now ready to rock and roll trackside, there were still a few issues to address. Firstly, the body was in serious need of some love, in terms of both looks and safety. It wasn’t long before the S13 shell was stripped back and ready for a fresh lick of paint. But before that could happen, the good folks at D1 Aerospec hooked Victor up with a full body kit to create a stauncher looking blur as the car slides past on rev limit.
Victor initially opted for a bright orange hue and soon had the car in a paint booth receiving its new clothes. But, as you can probably guess by the pictures, that didn’t last long. Soon after the first 2006 D1NZ round at Ruapuna, Mag & Turbo Warehouse came to the party as Victor’s major sponsor, which meant stripping the car back down and repainting it in the instantly recognisable blue and green paint scheme. A Racepro Uras-style bonnet compliments the body kit and paint.
If you peak through the glass, you will see one hell of a roll cage. After watching last year’s epic Bathurst event, where Ford driver Larry Perkins copped a wheel to his windscreen, Victor decided he would also install a “Larry bar” in addition to his full cage. The bar runs straight across Victor’s field of vision and should protect the driver if anything heavy decides to make its way through the glass. I’m surprised Victor can still drive the car, as it seems to obscure the driver’s view quite substantially, but it’s probably just something he got used to. Things have been kept very simple for the rest of the interior. Victor is now strapped tightly by a Sparco harness and he furiously wrestles with a Sparco steering wheel and HKS gear knob whilst in motion. Victor doesn’t have a lot of time to check a full array of instruments as he hits the clipping point (corner apex) at the top of fourth gear, so these have been kept to the bare essentials, with just a Greddy oil temperature and boost gauge mounted in the dash. Victor’s brand new S13 rolled out of the onion farm and into battle after furious competition on the 2006 D1NZ circuit. He is currently sitting in sixth place overall, with five events over by the time you read this. Victor has his work cut out for him if he wants to reach the final podium. But, if I had to put my money on anyone pulling it off, Victor Chapman and his slippery Silvia would be my pick.
Occupation: Onion boy
Previously Owned Cars: Two Nissan 200SXs, two Nissan 180SXs
Dream Car: John Deere Tractor on bags
Build time: Six months
Length of ownership: Six months
Victor thanks: Mag & Turbo Warehouse, Work Wheels, D1 Aerospec, Republic Clothing, Wylie Court, Flea, Doug and my family and friends
Nissan Silvia S13
Engine: SR20DET two-litre DOHC 16v, Tomei camshafts, Tomei rocker arm stoppers, K&N air filter, Trust 48mm wastegate, Trust TD06 turbo, Trust intercooler, Trust blow-off valve, Skyline GT-R fuel pump, 550cc injectors, three-inch exhaust system, Koyo radiator, Trust oil cooler, A’PEXi Power FC engine management system, Blitz boost controller.
Driveline: Hybrid SR20/VG30/RB26 five-speed gearbox, Precision Engineering flywheel, Tilton clutch, Nismo limited slip diff, custom driveshaft.
Suspension: Trust coilover suspension, adjustable top arms, adjustable bottom arms, adjustable camber/caster arms, Cusco strut car, Whiteline sway bars.
Brakes: Front — GT-R Skyline front callipers, slotted rotors, Mintex pads, Rear — factory S13 discs/callipers, Mintex pads.
Wheels/Tyres: Work Emotions, 17×9-inch front,18×10-inch rear, Yokohama, 255/40R17 front tyres, 255/35R18 rear.
Exterior: D1 Aerospec full kit, Racepro URAS-style bonnet, custom Mag and Turbo paint scheme, full roll cage.
Interior: Driver bucket seat, Bride Brix passenger seat, Sparco harness, Sparco steering wheel, HKS gear knob, GReddy oil temperature and boost gauges, Power FC controller.
Performance: Dyno Power: 190kW at the rear wheels.