Passion. A human condition that affects all of us in one way or another. Some people like to collect stamps, others to listen to classical music, but for our friend Andy at Powervehicles.com, it's drifting. Andy came to Japan a few years back from his native Scotland to do one thing, and one thing only: Drift. And we're not talking about your monthly excursion to some semi-abandoned parking lot with a drift-track, we mean serious drifting. His commitment to this innovative form of motorsport deserves respect because not only did he move halfway across the world to Japan to pursue his love for the art of going sideways, he also set up his business exporting cars here. When not working, Andy is prepping his BN Sports built Nissan 180SX full-drift car for his next trip to the racetrack. We met up with him during one of his outings at a Motorsports.com drift event in the Mobara circuit in Chiba-prefecture.
Andy got his 180SX from BN Sports. Being one of the company's demo-cars, the car came fully tuned and ready to go. All of the important bits were already fitted, most important of all, the SR20DET from an S14. Replacing the standard CA18, the SR20 is the engine to have if you want to go drifting. There are so many hop-up parts available on the market that it's easy to fine-tune this four-cylinder to your specific application and driving preferences. When he first got his hands on the car, the engine was being force fed by an HKS GT-SS turbo, but that was soon replaced by an externally gated Trust TD-06 blower offering considerably more power. In this game more power equals more smoke, something that was perfectly demonstrated at Mobara. Other important upgrades to the engine come in the form of upgraded fueling thanks to a set of 700cc/min injectors and a Nismo pump. An A'PEXi Power FC keeps everything in check and can easily be retuned via the Commander mounted inside the car. Custom intercooler piping has been kept small in diameter to promote a sharper and more instant throttle response, a very important thing in drifting. Cooling is imperative while going sideways. The engine is always doing a lot of work, at high rpm and maximum loads, but the radiator always gets limited airflow due to the car's angle of drift. So a large-core radiator, intercooler and oil cooler were thrown on to keep those temperatures low. Nothing puts more stress on a driveline than a drift car. Sure, drag cars get the number one spot for this, but with drift cars the driveline is subjected to abuse continuously, lap after lap, not just on a quarter-mile pass. This is where a need for a tough clutch becomes necessary; and this BN Sports 180SX is fitted with an OS Giken unit, which easily copes with the aggressive inputs Andy subjects it to. The first three gears have been swapped with shorter OS Giken cogs to help get as much use out of the engine's power curve as possible. Out at the back is a 2-way Nismo LSD, which has the job of keeping those rear wheels locked tight, both under power and under a trailing throttle.
Andy's 180SX attracts its fair share of looks when out on track. This is thanks to a full BN Sports widebody kit finished off in a very catching shade of deep candy red. A massive rear GT wing helps give more control during high-speed drifts, while the bronze Rays TE37 17-inch wheels offer nice contrast. Even the interior has been sprayed in the same candy red, including the bolted-in roll cage - one of the most important things one should fit to these type of cars, as drifters usually drift into something sooner or later. The car has been fitted with two racing bucket seats and full harnesses to keep occupants safely strapped in. To help with up-changes and know when you are on the limiter, a Pivot shift light sits on the steering column right behind the deep-cupped OMP racing steering wheel. A Yashio factory digital water meter is also a must-have gadget on a drift car, as it's easy to read with its large red LCD display.
Andy is planning a power hike to around 400 PS next with some wilder cams, a metal head gasket and a good dosage of extra boost. Then it's up to fate to see if the poor engine survives the constant abuse it's subjected to. However, one thing is certain: nothing will keep this drift-crazy Scotsman away from his favorite drift tracks!