EDC 2008 Rd 1. Driftworks finish 2nd

EuropeanDriftChampionship
The Opening round to the European Drift Championship, meant we had an interesting couple of weeks work beforehand getting the cars ready…

We’d worked very hard to have the new Driftworks 2JZ powered S15 ready. But an unfortunate series of problems, including a small amount of debris between a valve and valve seat meant a complete car and engine strip down, resulting in us being too far behind, and having to get our back up car (The Driftworks R32 Skyline) ready in time..

This in itself was no easy task.. As I blew four RB25DET engines up in it last year, we had decided to fit a Toyota 1JZGTE engine to this car, which as you can probably imagine is a fairly comprehensive and time consuming job..
With the help of our good friends, and the very kind people at Weston Performance mapping the car in the early hours of the Saturday morning of EDC, we got the car working, with a reliable 440bhp, and 450ft.lb of torque.

Bonbon had also had his car on Weston Performance’s dyno that week, and had squeezed a very impressive 560bhp out of his GT35 powered 1JZ engine.. He’d also fitted the new BN Sports Aero pack to his JZX81 Chaser, giving it a really cool fresh stance for the 2008 season..

Saturday: 4am. Finish at Weston Performance, and head back to Driftworks HQ to load up the van etc.

Saturday 5:43am: Arrive back at my house, and set alarm clock for 6:09am.. Lying in bed for 26 minutes thinking about what you have to do when you get out of bed doesn’t do much for having been up for that long, but I’m sure it helped a little.

Saturday 6:09am: Get up and head for Donington circuit, fully refreshed after a lovely nights sleep :D.

The morning practice was really good. I was  a little tentative with the R32, as we had no idea if it was going to cause problems having finished the build around 2 hours beforehand. But she seemed to pull really well, and having spent last season setting up the suspension, with a working engine we seemed to have a really good combination..

In one of the last runs of the practice session, I muscled up the straight in first, second, then to the top of third gear, and initiated the drift.. This is the point where your supposed to scrub of a lot of speed for two technical left handers.. Unfortunately I found that the accelerator pedal stuck at WOT (wide open throttle) leaving me skidding at quite an alarming speed towards the gravel with the engine revving it’s tits off.. With a quick turn of the ignition key, and a slam on the brakes I manage to struggle the car back under control, and only momentarily had the steering lock come on whilst still skidding towards the gravel..

It turns out that the lambda bung had come out of the downpipe, sending fiery exhaust gasses over the accelerator cable, melting it, and jamming the throttle open..

We had no replacement, so a complicated bodge of additional springs onto the throttle body left me with a throttle pedal that felt more like I was pressing down a triple plate clutch, but at least it did return. And after all, who needs throttle control in motorsport ??? :oD..

New rules in EDC where the top 6 finishers from the previous round (in this case the top 6 finishers from last years championship) are seeded, and do not need to qualify, meant that myself and Bonbon had already qualified.. We did get to see some of the qualification runs from the other competitors, and I’ve got to say, it seems that people have really stepped up their game again this year. Not only was the driving really good, but the presentation of the cars was the best I’ve seen..
The weather for the whole day really couldn’t make it’s mind up. We had sun, rain, snow, hail, and plenty of wind throughout, so decisions on tyre pressures and setup were made on the fly..

In the top 16, I drew Mark ‘Crasher’ Coyne. He’s an awesome character, and tried his normal tactic of un-nerving you with his determination, saying that if he has to he’ll T-bone you.. Well in this case, according to spectators, he really did have a go at T-boning me in the first run, and in the second run he span out in front of me giving me the golden ticket to the top eight..

Bon drew Stiggy (Stephen Evans). The massive Toyota chaser verses the tiny Toyota Starlet was pure comedy in a David and Goliath re-run. But this time Goliath won, and Bon went through to the top 8..

The top 8 competitors were announced, and once again, myself and Bon were drawn against each other.. Meaning only one of us could go through to the top 4..
The look and sound of 2 big orange 1JZ powered cars screaming up the straight must have been awesome. It certainly felt amazing with the combined screamer pipes making my ears bleed. I was relatively happy with the first run, but on the second, I went to shift down from 3rd gear off the straight into 2nd gear for the technical bit, and completely missed the gear lever as it’s in the wrong place since the engine swap (soon to be fixed).. So I tried to light them up in 3rd again, and span the clutch up, giving Bon an easy pass through into the semi’s..

Bon then went up against Mark Luney in the SVA 350z.. This car had also been on the dyno at Weston Performance on Friday, and had achieved a mind boggling torque figure of over 800ft/lb.. This was going to be interesting!!!
The determination of both drivers to get even a few mm’s advantage on the straight was awesome to watch. The Driftworks Chaser looked absolutely amazing squatting hard as Bon shifted up, lighting the awesome Federal tyres up momentarily with each shift..
It was all so close that the judges couldn’t call it from the first two runs, so it went one more time, and Bon took the advantage sending him through the finals.

The finals were to be Bonbon in the Driftworks Chaser verses last year’s champion Brett Castle in the incredibly well prepared Abbey Motorsports S14a.. This car and driver combo is amazing, and we knew Bon would have a fair job on his hands to beat him. This was the battle to end all battles. The judges just couldn’t call it, and it ended up being the 6th run that decided the winner. Brett had just taken the advantage in the latter section of the course catching up with the lardy Chaser, and Brett took the win..

Given the negativity surrounding the lead up to this even for us, we could not be happier with the result of 2nd place to Bonbon, and 5th place for myself.. We’ll be sure to see if we can improve on this throughout the year..

We’d like to thank those that made it possible for both of us to be there driving..

Sponsors: Federal Tyres, Japaneseusedcars.com, Sky Insurance, Datsan Modifications, Garage D, Owen Developments, Rota Wheels.

Supporters:

Obviously myself and Bon get the pleasure of driving at EDC, but we couldn’t do what we do without the support of our compadres at Driftworks HQ. James, co-owner of Driftworks Ltd, once again was there till the early hours of the morning preparing his own car for me to abuse out on track. Melissa my ever patient girlfriend, and the lady in charge of running Driftworks when we’re workshop bound. And our good friend Ant, who has worked tirelessly for many many late nights to get our cars ready.

Also, the people that stand out there in the pissing rain cheering us on, you are awesome, and bring the vibe of the whole event up a notch or two…

Thanks all :o)

Team DW.. The people behind the smoke… xx

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