With Formula D nearing its season-ending round, we reminisce on a year filled with plenty of heart-wrenching crashes, controversies, surprises, and upsets within each drift series. Teams getting new drivers, drivers getting new cars, and cars getting new parts, are all typical of what happens in the off-season, isn't it? Or is it in the off-season that we hear plenty of rumors and gossip about the most changes done on a vehicle, considering there is a lot of time to test and develop these changes without the concerns of making it to the next event, especially when there is usually less than a few weeks between each event when the season starts. Already in 2008, with five events down, Formula D's series is quickly coming to an end.
Team RS-R began the 2008 season campaigning a Scion tC, which many thought would've been impossible to accomplish, let alone drift. The road less traveled is indeed a difficult journey as Team RS-R embarks on improving their Scion tC to a whole new level.
Recently, Turbo magazine caught up with the RS-R drift team that has done a great deal of changes to their car, perhaps spending more time with the car torn apart than with the car assembled for events. The changes they've made during the season can probably rival some of the other team changes during their off-season. Team RS-R Scion spends a great deal of time redesigning and testing parts as the season goes along, and we were lucky enough to catch them during one of their testing session at the El Toro Airbase in Irvine, Calif., to discuss all the changes that were done since the shoot in our sister magazine, Import Tuner (June '08). For those of you who want to see what goes on at a test session, here is a look at the changes you wouldn't be able to see unless you were underneath the car.
During this test session, Team RS-R Scion installed a new rear brake and axle setup for improved response and weight improvements to decide whether or not it should be used at the next event. The setup consists of a completely redesigned brake caliper, caliper mounts, rotors, and lighter axle shafts. Overall this redesign would lighten the load on the rear suspension while improving braking response for the driver. While we all dream of having four-piston calipers on the rear rotors of our cars, this setup actually utilizes two calipers per rotor in the rear, a four-piston and a two-piston, but the four-piston caliper is not used for the foot brake. In actuality, the setup has the four-piston calipers controlled by the hand brake and the two-piston calipers controlled by the foot brake. A bit of e-brake overkill most people would say, yet it does make locking up the rear wheels a whole lot easier. Plus, keep in mind that most people wouldn't have converted a Scion tC into a drift car.
As the calipers have changed, so have the rotors, to a larger diameter with lighter overall weight, but to lighten the rear suspension, the axle shafts have changed as well--they're made out of the same 300M material used for many motor sport axle shafts for its strength and weight. The wheel offsets, due to the rear brake setup, also changed, requiring the use of spacers to bring the wheel offset to -3 for tracking purposes. Quite a lot of changes to test out but when looking even closer, with the rear of the car jacked up, we even noticed more changes. The rear adjustable camber arms have been specially made as well, allowing for increased adjustment to the vehicle stance, as well as the implementation of a bigger 22mm TRD rear sway bar. So many changes, so little time, but we were lucky enough to be there to see the tC in action and get driver Ken Gushi's overall impression of the setup."The car feels really good with the HKS 3037 turbo. The boost response and engine is a major improvement after additional tuning," Gushi says. Additional dyno tuning paid off for the Scion as power is improved to 450 whp over is original 400whp output. From the looks of everything, it seemed that there was great improvement with traction, ridiculous hand brake power, as Gushi liked the changes a lot, so this setup looks to stay with the car for the next event in Sonoma, Calif.