December 01, 2020 By Francis G. Pallarco Photos: Mariony Dela Cruz

Tuner: The Great White

Aside from being the only drift car to hail from the Philippines, this car stood up against serious competition from all over Asia in the Formula-D Series held in Southeast Asia.

Without question, Nissan’s, S-Chassis (S-13, S-14, S-15) coupe remains to be the weapon of choice among drifters, whether it be in Asia or in the States. This explains why local drift champion David Feliciano chose a 1990 Nissan S-13 to become his latest drift weapon. It began in 2009 when David got it and was supposed to be his personal drift car. As to how the name came about, David explains, “Paula, my wife was taking photos of it when it first came out and while admiring it, named it the Great White because she later told me, she thought it looked both mean and cool at the same time.” And adds, “The name fit since it denotes power and strength just like it’s original namesake”. But wasn’t until September of that year when David got the surprise of his life. It was no less than Mr. Richard Fleming who’s the regional director of Goodyear Racing Asia together with officers from Goodyear Philippines with a proposal that was just too hard to resist. Simply put, they wanted him to represent the Philippines by competing in the Formula Drift Asia Series where they were also the main sponsor. In a nutshell was how the Great White Formula D car was born.

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Despite the fact that David had basically prepped and tuned the car for drifting, keep in mind that the car to be had to be shipped to Thailand for the 2nd round in November of that year. According to David, “We basically had to research, fix and set-up the car according to Formula-D specs and regulations in order to pass the scrutineering there with only a month or so to finish everything for it to get there in time.” As David adds, “Alex Perez was a major help in prepping the car for me as we were all under considerable time pressure; he was my Crew Chief that time.”

With a tuned SR20DET engine along with a sorted-out, drift-spec suspension, it seemed they had everything to be competitive. But it wasn’t the case as David narrates, “During our very first international competition we realized that we (Philippines) were behind our Asian counterparts in this particular motor sport (drifting) in terms of car set-up. Don’t get me wrong…we have the skills, but we were lacking a bit in drift car prep. What was already considered fast for us that time here was nothing to them. Imagine, my car had 250 whp then while theirs averaged 400 whp! It was truly an eye-opening learning experience. Larry Cheng and Ivan Lau both have shops of their own in Malaysia like me, and they helped me out a lot in research and development for my car for it to be competitive. They also introduced me to top Malaysian tuner Toby Lee of GT Auto, who fine tuned the Great White to become the power packed drift car that it is today. It is also worth noting that Perpetually Tonnka is the only Malaysian company that is one of my major sponsors. They helped immensely in my car’s metamorphosis to Formula Drift competition level/international standards”.

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Having 400 horses at the wheel is no easy task for the engine alone hosts a myriad of mods like a twin scroll Garrett turbo mounted on a specific custom twin scroll exhaust manifold that pairs the 1-3 and 2-4 cylinders. Made by Perpetually Tonnka, which is a well-known Malaysian tuning house that manufactures most of its parts. To sustain its low boost setting of 1.3 bar, the engine relies on Motul fluids and four 850cc fuel injectors, while a Haltech ECU ensures that the engine works properly. Keeping it glued sideways on the track is a sorted-out suspension with components such as, coil-over dampers, adjustable tension rods, chassis stiffeners, rear camber kit and so on. To effectively transfer all that power, it uses a hefty OS Giken aftermarket differential coupled with a Tomei Triax LSD (2-way). The Great White also doesn’t need gauges as the Race Pack IQ3 can display all the vital info on the easy to read LCD readout.

Getting back to the Great White’s storied career, David narrates that from Thailand his car went to Malaysia for the 3rd leg in Dec. 2009. Then it was brought to Singapore for the 2010 Formula-D season then back to Thailand and Malaysia all over again. This car actually has traveled extensively all-over South-East Asia and even stayed in Malaysia for a whole year, as it was being set-up, prepped and tuned to Formula-D standards. At the end of that year David was ranked 25th out of 80 drivers all over Asia competing in the Formula-D Series and was issued a Pro Drifter license. Not bad for a lone Filipino entrant. So, what does David has to say about his Great White? “I consider it to be one of the main reasons why the standards of drift cars here in the country have leveled up considerably. Everything that we’ve learned abroad and from our friends there we applied to this car and this same knowledge we shared and applied to the cars that my garage DMF Drift has been setting up and making. Needless to say, everything that we thought we knew about drifting and drift cars before were considerably changed and improved over-all. The knowledge that came with competing against top international drivers all over Asia and being friends with most of them has helped shape our drift cars (power and set-up) and drifters’ skills a lot as well.” Well, now that the Great White is back on our soil, it is indeed a testament on what the Filipino can do in the field of motorsports. As proof, it proudly wears the various and priceless racing patina it garnered while in competition on its rear fenders and bumper.

Tuner Mods

1990 Nissan Silvia Coupe/S13 aka “The Great White”

David Feliciano

DMF Drift Garage

Engine: SR20DET, 2.2-liter, Inline-4, DOHC, Turbocharged and intercooled

Engine Mods: Garrett Twin Scroll GT30/37 turbo, 2.2-liter Tomei Stroker Kit Tomei Pro cams, Tomei Valve Springs, Tomei fuel injectors (850cc) Custom twin scroll exhaust headers by Tonnka, Full Exhaust by Tonnka Custom Intercooler and piping by Tonnka, 38mm Tial Waste Gate (2-pcs) 300v Motul Engine Oil, Custom oil caps,

Engine Management: Haltech ECU

Horsepower: 455 WHP @1.3 bar (low boost)

Engine Tuning: Toby Lee of GT Auto (Malaysia)

Suspension: Kei Office drift-spec coilovers, Solid Aluminum Subframe bushing S-15 rea subframe rear (2 inches wider), Tension Rod (front adjustable) Tie Rod Ross Joint, Rear Camber Kit, Ultra Racing Stiffeners (under chassis)

Suspension Tuning: Ivan Lau of Motorsport Division (Malaysia)

Transmission Mods: OS Giken close gears (1-5), OS Giken rear end differential (4.3) Tomei Triax 2-way LSD, R33 GTR rear big axle, C’s short throw shifter ORC twin plate clutch

Brakes: (Front) DBA Disc R33 GTR, (Rear) DBA Disc R33 GTR, Endless Brake Pads DMF Drift Custom Hydraulic twin caliper handbrake, APP Steel hose line Motul Brake Fluid

Rollers: 57 D Gram Lights Wheels (17 x 9 front) and (18 x 9.5 rear) Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric (245/45/17 front) (255/35/18 rear)

Body: Seam welded by DMF Drift

Body kit: Fiberglass hood, fender, front rear bumper and side skirt by Dori Aero Parts

nterior: Race Pack IQ3 Display Dash (Haltech enhanced), Bride seats Nardi Steering Wheel, FIA Custom Roll Cage, Momo 5-point seatbelt

pecs: All complying with Formula D and FIA safety standards.

Sponsors: DMF Drift, Goodyear Racing, Perpetually Tonnka, Motul, Momo, Riken Motorsports, Ultra Racing, Dori Aero Parts

T&T: Can you recall when was the first time that you learned how to drift? Was it intentional or something that just happened?

: I remember when I was 15 yrs. old, I was driving downhill Antipolo going to my classmate’s house using a 1976 Galant, I was driving fast in the corners and the car started to drift. I found it more fun to drive that way so from that time I started trying to make my car drift every chance I got.

T&T: What are the elements into making a perfect drift and has it happened to you?

DMF: Yes a lot of times already. Fast entry, deep angle, and long sustained drift plus lots of tire smoke.

T&T: What do you enjoy most about drifting?

DMF: The mere fact that I’m going sideways– making the car do something that it’s not made for doing. It’s like playing with the laws of physics.

T&T: What goes through your mind when you’re traveling at 100 plus kilometers an hour sideways?

DMF: Nothing. Everything is too fast for anything to actually enter. My mind is focused on what is happening right then and there. The ‘sarap’ factor and rush kicks in AFTER the drift.

T&T: How did it feel to be abroad and representing the Philippines in an international drift event? How did you deal with the pressure?

DMF: It was of course an honor and a privilege to represent my country abroad, but at the same time, it was also a lot of pressure. Yeah, the pressure was great but I just had to deal with it. One day at a time.

T&T: What drift elements earn the most points and why?

DMF: Fast entry combined with deep angle and close to the wall.

T&T: How risky is it to let your rear get so close to the wall? How many times have you damaged your rear end by coming too close to the wall?

DMF: Very risky. A lot of incidents happen when their rear hits the wall. Only one in Malaysia and the car stopped. The walls there are made of thick concrete blocks, similar to the ones used in our local roads.

T&T: Who was your closest rival in the Formula-D Series competition?

DMF: Singaporean Ee Yoong Chern in our battle for Sweet Sixteen position during the 2010 Formula-D round in Singapore.

T&T: What were some of the aspects of driving and racecar prep did you learn during your Formula-D stint abroad?

DMF: Clutch kicking at high speed, drifting half clutch for more control. High performance tires that has grip is very important in drift cars with a lot of horsepower and in competitions that has entry speeds averaging approximately 100 km/h.

T&T: Technically speaking how close are we or are we at par in terms of drift car preparation?

DMF: Still a bit far, more or less were 5 yrs. behind.

T&T: In terms of driving skill, do we have enough drift talents right now to be competitive abroad?

DMF: Yes I can say we have some drivers who can compete abroad with the skills they have now.

T&T: Any advice for all aspiring drifters out there? What moves or maneuvers should they concentrate on practicing?

DMF: Most important thing is to have fun. Some of the best drifts happen when you’re not pressured and you’re just out to enjoy. Aspiring drifters should concentrate more on their steering so that the tires will just point and stay in one direction during a drift.

T&T: Given the chance, would you drift abroad again and why?

DMF: Yes, because now I know better, so the pressure won’t be that great and I would have more fun!

T&T: In your opinion, what’s the most important aspect of any Formula-D spec drift car?

DMF: The tires. You need to have confidence in your tires…when you want them to slip and when NOT to slip.

T&T: With over 400 horses on tap, would you say that it’s already enough to be competitive in Formula-D? Or do you still need some more power?

DMF: Yes with my car’s settings now because the 450 horses I have is still in low boost. The average horsepower of Formula-D cars now are 500, some even reaching all the way to 800 horses.

T&T: You’re currently running a turbocharged Nissan SR-Series motor, is this your own personal preference or would you rather go with a huge turbocharged Nissan RB-Series motor and why?

DMF: With the body of my car, I prefer the SR since changing it to the RB will affect the car’s balance and performance.

T&T: Tell us something about your drift school and what are the lessons involved and how and where can interested parties can get in touch with you?

DMF: Yes, we have the DMF Drift School for those who want to learn how to drift, or even those who just want to learn how to control their car (specially when it’s a powerful car). We teach them basic skills, first in initiating the drift, the clutch kick, using the handbrake, steering and basically in how to control the car once it’s out of control already. We also give tips and advice on the proper set-up of a drift car just in case they want to pursue it. We also teach advanced lessons for those who already know how to drift but want to learn more advanced methods and skills in higher speeds etc.

They can check our website -www.dmfdrift.com for further info and details. They can also email us at info@dmfdrift.com or call/text 09285024352 for scheduling of lessons. We also have a Facebook page (DMF Drift) and a Twitter account (@DMFDrift) they can follow and where they can ask us questions.

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