Interview with Dan Chapman


We chat to Dan Chapman. Newest member of Team Driftworks.

Dan Chapman
DOB 01 01 01
Nationality British
Car: PS13
Sponsors: Driftworks

Hi Dan. You are the newest member of Team Driftworks. How did this come about?

Being the newest member of Team Driftworks is something I still think about a lot and wonder how it happened.
The first I knew of it was when Phil Morrison (co owner of Driftworks) sent me a message through the Driftworks forums, asking me a few basic questions about my plans and the new car I was building. So I replied, being as realistic as I could be at the time.,
Phil mentioned that Driftworks where looking into expanding the team, and wanted to help support a new and upcoming driver in the sport.

I replied saying cool, but wondering why I was even being asked about it as I was and still am new to this form of motorsport.
So I was driving at a cool team competition at Lydd kart circuit in Kent. I was there twinning with my friend fellow drifter Jon (aka beezy). Phil and the other DW lads had entered in there BMW’s for some fun, but Phil was also using the time to watch me drift, I was totally unaware of this at the time. Then few days later I got another message from Phil asking if would I like to join Team Driftworks, and of course this was something I was not going to turn down. To this day I still wonder how I earnt it!!

How did you get into drifting in the first place?

I got into drifting about 18months ago, a good friend Jon had not long bought a Nissan S13 200sx. He’d been playing around with it in various places having some fun. I was a classic mini man at the time, but wanted to get my 1st RWD car.

I had always liked the Toyota Corolla AE86 from watching old motorsport vids from the 80’s where the AE86 was used in the British touring car championships, and I had seen that they where used for drifting as well.

So money from a house sale lead me to buying an imported AE86.
Soon after buying it Jon started to send me youtube links about this sport called drifting. Now I come from a grip racing background and watching these videos of cars going round corners sideways was something new to me. I had trouble understanding it initially, but it looked like alot of fun, so I thought I’d give it a try.
So I did at an open practise day at Lydd kart racing track and after that day I’ve been hooked, and have had so much fun ever since.

So you used to drive an AE86 Corolla. To some people this car is an icon of drifting and will always be competitive, and to others it’s just seen as overrated, expensive and in some ways inferior to modern chassis. What are you’re thoughts on the car, and what made you move on to the PS13 Silvia you use now?

My purchase of the AE86 was something that seemed really natural, Others questioned it, as there’s no denying that these cars are a lot of money for what you actually get.
But to me from watching them in 80’s touring car videos i knew they could be driven hard, fast and do what you wanted them to.
That’s what I like to get from a car. The AE86 is so balanced, it will grip race like no other car I have driven considering its simpleness, and will drift so stable and controlled.
Now a lot of people see these cars as iconic because of there history in motorsport and of course there proven history in drifting from the very early years of drifting in Japan.
To me  they will always be competitive in drifting. Its a car the if driven right can be so rewarding and on its day and can stick its own against far superior cars.
The AE86 is simple and well built, and this is all that’s needed for a car to drift well if driven right.
My purchase of the Silvia I drift today came about as they again like the AE86 are a car I have liked for a while, but never knew much about as the Silvia is an imported car only.
The main reason behind the purchase of the Silvia was I wanted to give myself the best opportunity to prove what I was capable of in drifting, and to do this I needed to start competing in the higher championships.
As good as the AE86 was, to make it into what I wanted would have cost to much money, where as building the Silvia was the cheaper option and in all honesty an easier car to perform well in, due to power of the car mainly, and the fact that it would be more attractive to the public eye and to potential sponsorship.

Talk to us a little about the spec of your PS13 Silvia. Despite having a relatively short amount of seat time in the car so far, you already seem to be at home in it.

The spec of my Silvia is a good but honest one, no thrills or anything really custom in build, as I don’t believe I need it at this stage, plus the money in custom fabrication is something i did not have a budget for.. The car came half built from a friend of mine, but had a very poorly engine that needed a lot of attention.
It uses a redtop sr20det, the engine was blown when I got the car, so it needed a re build,
It has forged rods/piston, lightened/balanced and wedged crank, pistons and rods matched and balanced, ACL race bearings throughout, The head is stock bar a little port matching and de burring of oil ways and chambers, it has stock cams and valves but these will both be uprated at some point.
It has a tubular exhaust manifold with a hybrid garret gt2835rs, but uses a bigger exhaust housing so I’m not exactly sure what spec it really is. It has Nismo 740cc injectors, Apexi power fc de-jetro, custom intercooler mouting, ally rad, full large bore exhaust system and single silencer at rear.
The suspension is all DRIFTWORKS suspension parts, everything that could be replaced has been with the Driftworks parts, which are very well made parts that make the car handle and perform so well.
The shell is a stock Silvia shell with a pearl white paint job and flared arches for wheel clearance.
The inside has a full seven point roll cage and all safety equipment to keep me safe and to meet regulations for safety.
Having never really drifted a car apart from my AE86 I was unsure what to expect as I knew my AE86 so well, so when it came to the first test session of the Silvia i was blown away at its raw performance, power and speed. I did notice it had a lot less mid corner speed and grip than the AE86, so with a slight change in driving style and a lot of time setting up the suspension with help from my Driftworks team mates, the car started to come to me, and I was able to drive it more and more like I had driven the Corolla, as that’s the style I like to drive.
Now a few months on and a good few hours in the driving seat of the Silvia I am very happy with how it performs on all types of track and  in all weather.

How do you see the level of drifting in Europe compared to the Japanese and American drift scenes?

The level of drifting in the UK compared to in Japan the home of drifting is something that is changing a lot from my eyes.
Still being new to the sport I cannot comment on the skill levels from a few years ago in the UK compared to Japan. But I know that it is a lot closer than it used to be.
In the UK we are very limited to the types of track we can practise on and use for competitions compared to in Japan where they have many tracks, some of which are built just for drifting.
We have nothing like that in the UK to my knowledge, but this has not stopped the big improvement in the UK drifting scene,
On our day there are a few UK lads that would not look out of place against the top Japan drifters, and considering what we have, and the short time the UK has been involved in drifting that is a very big achievement!!

What’s your take on street drifting in Japan and the UK?

Street drifting for me is something that most drifters started doing in Japan and in the UK.
In Japan it’s a massive thing, and where drifting started from to my knowledge. But in the UK due to urban areas we live in its something that is very illegal and can be very dangerous. But like most things in life people will go against what’s right/wrong or even safe.
All I can honestly say is that people will always do it, but they have to be aware of the consequences of their actions.

As one of the new up and coming drivers to watch out for, what are your goals over the next couple of years?

My goals for my drifting carrier as such are to have fun and make friends. I don’t want it to become something too stressful, I just want to be relaxed and enjoy myself.
On the other hand I am very competitive in a good way, as I am my own worst critic, and only want to improve for myself, not to prove anything to anyone or to big myself up.
This year I am competing in two series, Prodrift European Series and JDM Allstars, both of which offer me a massive challenge, and the chance for me to improve my skills, and to travel around Europe having great fun.
Over the next few years I wont deny I want to be at the top flights going for the win, and pushing myself and the sport as much as I can, purely for my own satisfaction not to become somebody.
As long as I’m having fun and drifting with mates, then it will always be part of my life until I cannot drive safely anymore.

Words: Dave Manfred
Pictures courtesy of

Professional Drifting

Professional Drifting

Professional Drifting

Drifting D1

Driftcar EDC

Driftcar EDC

Driftcar EDC

Driftcar EDC

Driftcar EDC

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11 years ago

Wich is the size of these headlights fitted on Dan’s s13 silvia?

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