Its all about going sideways and more
Ever tried drifting? Imagine initiating a drift at triple-digit entry speeds and it becomes clear that this isn’t for the fainthearted, demanding nothing but total commitment. This also explains why it vividly illustrates the perfect combination of man and machine, which in any case sums up just about any form of motorsport. But what really sets apart drifting is the level of excitement it brings making it a thrilling spectator sport filled with extreme sideways action and burnt rubber.
Drifting might seem daunting to the uninitiated, but for David Feliciano of DMF Drift Garage, it’s all in day’s work. In fact, he just recently came back from Malaysia where he competed in a drift event. That pretty much says a lot about his drifting prowess, having been regularly competing in other Asian countries as well. But other than that, he’s also very knowledgeable when it comes to prepping cars for drifting, as he recalls, “To be honest, I’ve actually lost count of the numerous drift builds my shop has made throughout the years, but what I know for sure is that since 2006, we have been building 6 to 8 drift cars a year, so just do the math.” As for his shop, he states, “My shop, DMF Drift Garage, specializes in building drift cars, but we’ve recently started venturing out, and have now been building winning hill-climb cars and rally cars. Most shops focus on just the engines alone, while we specialize on suspension tuning aside from the engine, since we believe it’s also a very important part in making a good build. It can actually spell the difference between winning and losing.”
Case in point here is this ’88 Nissan Cefiro that David used in the Judgment Day International drift event held last year which he describes as, “It’s a drift school car that we fixed at the last minute so we could join the event. We used a Toyota 2JZGTE turbo engine and got a R154 transmission for it so it can handle the beating of a lot of clutch kicks. Aside from that, we’ve also put in a good quality clutch (ORC Ogura) and we used a standalone box (Haltech with 850cc injectors and E85 fuel). The engine was pushing 350 whp which wasn’t that much compared to most of my competitors, but I knew I could drive the hell out of it.” Thanks to its long wheelbase and RWD platform, the second-gen, A31 (’88 to ’94) Cefiro has been the popular choice for drifters to build and modify. Since it shares its basic rear-wheel drive chassis with the Nissan Laurel (C33), and the Nissan Skyline (R32), this made it easier for tuners to adapt a plethora of aftermarket performance components. In addition, it also costs less as compared to more popular 2-door coupes such as Nissan Silvia’s and AE86 Corolla’s that are getting harder to come by.
Power runs deep when it comes to drift cars, which is why most, if not all, drifters use big displacement engines with a power adder like a turbo in most cases, as David points out, “The ideal hp for me would be 500-700hp based on our local tracks. The power is just right for that. Any more and it will just be wasted.” While we have yet to see a surge of Chevrolet LS-Series V8 engines being used, there are other popular engine options to choose from, as David says, “My favorite engines are the SR20 and the 2J. Both are good, reliable engines that can take a lot of beating and stress even on high revs, plus they’re also fun to build.” The 2JZGTE came about as Toyota’s answer to Nissan’s RB26DETT engine that powered the Skyline. As such, Toyota’s 3.0-liter, inline-six cylinder engine also featured two belt-driven overhead cams and two intercooled, sequential turbochargers made by Hitachi. Depending on the engine’s origins, factory horsepower ratings range between 280 to as much as over 300 horsepower. It’s also known for making more power, where most tuners can push 600 horsepower with stock internals and ditching the twin turbo setup for a single massive turbo along with other requisite mods.
Unlike a track car whose suspension components are fairly conventional, a drift car entails a completely different set of components that are all geared towards making a car drift. A good example would be the modified steering knuckles, needed to create deep steering angles needed in drifting. These components pivot way more than stock, to the point where the tire is almost sideways when fully turned. It’s so beneficial that David credits his own custom steering angle kit, which landed him 3rd place with the local drivers and 5th place in the international drifters during Judgment Day. “Suspension is one of the vital factors in building a drift car, that’s why I focus on that just as much as the engine. For me, it’s a huge factor.” Gaining traction is also essential, especially at the rear, which is why they run the widest rear tires possible. In this case, the Cefiro is using a 235mm or 9-inch wide tires wrapped on Rota D2 Wheels, which strongly proves its durability on the track. “Tire size is important because of the traction it provides, especially when I do any high-speed entry, having full confidence in my tires is of utmost importance. I need to know that I can make that car turn full throttle sideways, without it losing grip on me.” There are many more mods and components that make up a drift car, but these are just some factors to consider, coming from someone who builds and drives drift cars. To which he offers this piece of advice: “Practice, perseverance, a reliable car setup (won’t break down easily) and of course lots of tires!”
1988 Nissan Cefiro (A31)
DMF Drift Garage
Engine Mods: SARD 850cc Fuel Injectors, Walbro Fuel Pump, Turbosmart 38mm external wastegate, 3-in. Stainless Pipes, Front mount intercooler, 80mm Throttle body, Apexi Blow Off Valve, Custom Oil catch tank,
Other Stuff: Motul engine oil and fluids
Transmission: 5-Speed manual with Ogura Racing Clutch,
Engine Mgmt: Haltech ECU
Horsepower: 350 whp at Autoplus tuned by Francisco “Pacho” Blanco
Suspension: Cusco wih custom DMF Garage Components,
Rollers: Wanli Pole Lead T (235/35R18) Tires, ROTA D2 Ex Wide Lip Wheels (18×9) Custom offset
Body & Paint: DMF Drift Garage
Kudos To: Motul oil and fluids, Tonnka Malaysia, Spy, Km20 Petron, Aguila Glass, DMF Drift, Most of all God