Monday, May 20, 2013

The Engines of Formula Drift: An Engineers Delight.

So this year at Formula drift I wanted to concentrate on something a little different. The engines. As an engineer I can say the one thing that always brings me back to FD and makes me realize it's probably the best motorsport in the world is the variety of platforms and motors that are allowed in FD. To have a race series that basically says do whatever you want with the drive train but keep the chassis production is an engineers wet dream. Unlimited possibilities is what FD is about and gear heads across the world love it for that reason. So this formula drift I made a point to take photos of all the engines I could get good shots of and talk a little bit about them here. Click read more to check out some of the beast under these hoods!

So lets start with the smallest motor on the grid. Yep, you're seeing an SR. This is Dave Briggs's SR24VET rocking around 600 hp. This car sounded amazing at FD and it ran pretty damn well. A 600 hp SR is almost unheard of and to have one that seems somewhat reliable is a real testament to his teams build.  Dave hasn't finished too well yet but hey there is still a lot of rounds to go.  Its a Heres a clip of him getting it in tuned on the Dyno

Specs (from the youtube video):
Mazworx sr24vet & vvl killer cam
Garrett gtx3582r (30psi)
C16 fuel
Tial 44mm wg

Moving on to the 4th place points holder in the championship right now Mike Essa. Mike's running a very clean looking 3.2 BMW "M3" motor with a giant turbo putting out about 750hp. Pretty bad ass looking engine bay to me,  but it should be as its one of the few cars rocking a motor thats supposed to be there.  Its very similar to the engine he ran last year in the Z4, and based on the power numbers we figure he's running boost in the high 20's on C16 fuel.
Specs we could find:
BMW S54 engine (3.2 L inline 6)
Garret GTX3582R (with an optional speed sensor - see red and white cable on compressor!)
Pectel Engine Management
Synapse Wastegate and BOV

Below is Kenneth Moen's VQ, We think its a 4.0L stroker, we think its running E85. There isn't really that much information out there on this Lutz Performance build, his team is working on a new build this year, a supra with a 3.4 stroker kit, which will be bad-ass. For now though he's rocking this VQ with a PVC intake manifold. Apparently last year in a bind they made this style of pvc manifold from parts at lowes when there aluminum one cracked. Turned out the PVC one made more power so they build a nicer looking one and thats what they run with now. Awesome!

Now on to some LS's. Joon Maeng's 498ci (8.1liter!) LS seems to have some serious power behind it and is rocking some pretty trick parts. Brodix Heads, JE Pistons, JBA headers Holley Performance Manifold etc... The swap looks pretty clean besides lots of fuel lines everywhere. Joon is rocking about 800 hp on rockettbrand race fuel with this beast - naturally aspirated.

Next up is Matt Powers Katech Track Attack 463 (thats really what its called). The track attack is a 7.6 liter motor rocking LS7 Heads that makes 700 horsepowers. The swap looks incredibly clean to me and the bay is also supporting some trick suspension parts. Remote reservoirs on the strut supports and from what I can tell a totally custom sway bar setup moved to the front of the engine. (if wrong on that let me know). Matt's car is pretty badass this year it seems to running pretty good for him considering he won the Motegi challenge.

Below is Danny George's little Miata that could, rocking a super clean LS1 swap. Looks like Dannys LS  is also bolted straight to the chassis via hard mount brackets bolting to the head, Im guessing hes just using the motor for some structure integrity which seems like a pretty good idea to me. Danny is running a rear radiator setup this year and has installed a Accusump up front instead. LS's have always had oil starvation issues when in drift and the accusump is a excellent and cheap way to insure that it doesnt pick up any air. Dannys LS1 is making 600hp with Nitrous which is pretty damn impressive for an inexpensive LS1 and i'm sure in that tiny car its a handful!! Danny did good this year in ATL hopefully he can keep it up.

Below is Jeff Jones LS6 thats making around 500 hp. The LS6 is very similar to the LS1 with just a bit more flow and power. Jeff is running a rear radiator setup this year as well. I have to say this was probably the ugliest swap I saw all day. The chassis itself seemed to be a pretty well thought out build so maybe this motor was a last minute install and they just had to get it done.

Last of our LS engines but not least is Walker Wilkersons Twin turbo LS7. Walker used to rep an SR20 way back in his rookie year and when he switched to the LS motor last year he may have lost a few fans. I'm sure he gained a few back this year by building possibly one of the most insane engines in FD right now. Besides the unpainted tubing and the paint burning off the strut towers, which I admit is pretty badass, its a pretty clean swap. A stock LS7 makes around 500 hp and hits 600 with only modest cam and exhaust work. Here with twin turbos its cranking out an easy 800 hp. Why you might build something this complicated just to make 800 hp is up for discussion. He didn't make long beach and the diff failed him in ATL, but mad props for making something this ridiculous, maybe the plans call for more power later on?
His girlfriend (and spotter!) Vanessa Calvert writes a blog called drift happens and goes into some of the details on the engine internals (and why they went with a turbo LS7)

"Fully machined, bored and honed with Darton Sleeves, CP Pistons, Carrillo Rods, ARP bolts, new GM head and base gaskets, new o-rings, new valve covers and seals, new main and rod bearings. The whole 9 yards. LS7's come with titanium rods, and since we knew we'd be pushing a few hundred more horses, we knew we needed to upgrade our internals, therefore, the Carrillo rods are a bit heavier than stock. Same thing with a few other new internals Joey @ Granatelli installed. The flip-side is this required several pounds of Mallory metal to be added to the crank."

Now below is what seems like everyone's favorite motor these days - the almighty 2JZGTE. Below is Daigo Saito's 1200 hp beast. I admit I'm not a huge fan of Saito but I am a huge fan of his car even though its pretty damn ugly. What isn't ugly though is the build under the bonnet. As far as 2J's go this is about as clean as it gets, and besides this years long beach it has been a super reliable build for him. Say what you want about the driver but you can't ignore the engineers and builders behind his car are superheros. 
GT42R turbo, 3.4l stroker (Brian Crower) and Nitrous.

Next up below is Ryan Turecks 3.4l Stroked 2JZ with supertech valve train. This was one of the first 2JZ's installed in a FRS and though it does look complicated is well done. The FRS has so much room for activities in that engine bay!  Ryans 2J is pushing over 780 wheel hp with that giant turbo running 25PSI on E85. He and his car are doing well this year so heres hoping he can make it to the top by the end of the year.

Below is Chris Wards new 2J S14, its purple and its proud. Rumors are thats its about 600 hp on C16 fuel and from what I've seen it looks like it, we bet it has even more potential too. This motor so far seems to be doing better than his old LS swap. The swap looks extremely clean and well thought out, as does the rest of his car. Hopefully he can pull into the top 16 this year with the new car.

Below is Forrest Wangs 600 Hp 2J and let me just give you a minute to wipe those tears of joy away......Ok better now. Everyone that knows me knows that I love me some good old American V8s, I mean what Georgia native wouldn't? But I have to say it, this is my favorite build in FD right now. Wangs car is the best looking, most well thought out car on the grid right now and he does all the work himself. Sure Dai's S13 and Vaughn's Mustang are extremely well built rides but those builds almost feel too... industrial... to me. Wangs car is built with flair just like his driving style but with some really good engineering behind it. Wang uses his car as a driving billboard for his shop GetNuts and he makes damn sure you know what they can do. Wang runs a rear radiator setup as well, to leave space for the 3 inch thick intercooler behind the grill. His car ran really well in ATL and I can see it going to the end of the season. 

Next on the list, some spinning triangles of death. First up is Kyle Mohans own 13B rotary that makes 650 hp. Kyle works for Mazdatrix which is a company that builds race rotary motors. Kyle is one of the few guys on the grid that builds the motors he runs himself. Kyle isn't having too much luck with it this year but maybe that luck will turn around for him. 

Last up is Jeremy Lowes 13B rotary. There isn't much on the FD website about this car right now, so I'm  just going to guess. Jeremys turboed 13B runs around 1200 hp and has never failed him once. Joking aside the build is super clean and its a really good looking swap.

So thats is it for the pictures I took at FD but there were a few really important ones that I missed so I have scoured the internet to put them together below.

Below is Assbo's Scion TC with is a 2.7 liter 2AR-FE. Papadakis, who is the engine builder for this TC, is basically a mastermind when it comes to small motors. The TC seems to be pretty damn reliable so I don't see Aasbo switching to an FRS over here anytime soon.  This little four cylinder is making 800  horsepower these days and also has a rearward radiator setup. Also note the sway bar has been moved above and rear of the engine.  I think this is the best Tc in the world, prove me wrong.  Bear in mind this Tc is grandfathered into FD, current rules do not allow FWD cars to be converted to RWD.

Next up is Matt Fields beastly SuperCharged LS build. Matt runs a huge Vortech super on his LSX build which makes around 800 hp. The swap is pretty clean and the supercharger sticks out of the hood, which I think is totally awesome!. Its been a good build to him this year so lets hope he gets some more "one more times" with Daigo this year!

So last but not least is Dean Kearneys Supercharged Viper. You read that right, not just a V10 but a supercharged V10. Deans viper is an 8.3 liter and on the FD websites it says it only has 600hp. Not to argue with the internet, but I seriously doubt this has only 600 hp.  This thing could push out 600hp without the blower and barely even trying.

Well thats it for this post. I know I missed a bunch of important people (Like the 800hp Roush-Yates Ford V8 in Vaughn Gittin and Justin Pawlaks car) but I caught some interesting builds.   When you think through the list equipment you find a huge variety in formula Drift:

Flat 4 boxer motor (Ken Gushi with his Cosworth Subaru turbo)
Inline 4 cylinder turbos like the SR24 and the Scion Papadakis engine.
Turbo Rotary engines
Inline 6 Turbo from Toyota and BMW.
Turbo V6 from Nissan
V8s from Ford, Chevy and Nissan, some turbocharged, some supercharged!
Supercharged V10!
And Chassis' from Mazda, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Scion, Subaru, Toyota, BMW and obviously Nissan

Thats for reading everyone!! 

also bonus for Phil Ball. Below is Gittin's RTR Fastback with the new 5.0 Coyote motor with individual throttle body's.  Bad ass. 

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