Ryoji Jinushi-san started meddling in drifting in his mid-20s at the same time when most people joined in on the fun. As he gradually improved he formed Team 4Real and joined local drift competitions. But, as he says, he would have never expected to find himself drifting among the best in the country on the national D1 Grand Prix Championship. It's slowly becoming a reality, though, as Jinushi-san participated at a professional level in some rounds of the '07 D1-GP. Jinushi-san's debut at Fuji got everyone in the game talking about his unique style and eye-catching ride, the candy green JZZ30 Toyota Soarer you see in these pages. After seeing him pass in front of our cameras at Fuji and Sugo, rear tires lit up, we knew we just had to take a closer look at his car and chat about the whole drift scene.
600HPWe dropped by Tire Garden in Yokohama, where the car is kept when not in use and which also happens to be the major hangout of Jinushi-san's drift team. The car was recently repaired after a minor accident during a practice session, where the front bumper got a nasty crack across the center. Being a Toyota guy, his daily driver is a new Lexus SC430, Jinushi-san actually picked up the Soarer when he initially got started drifting. As time progressed, along with his skills behind the wheel, he decided he had to go all out and splurge some cash to get the Soarer up to professional level. The car was stripped down to a bare shell and stuck on a jig to get it nicely aligned once again.
Drifting, occasional impacts aside, takes its toll on the chassis so before anything else was done this needed to be sorted out. Work then began on adding some more stiffness, thanks to a heavy dose of spot welding. The guys at the body shop then grabbed their welders and braced weak points in the chassis by boxing up areas with metal plates. This is easily seen throughout the interior and especially around the front suspension struts, which are also joined by some additional tubing for extra support.
As with every serious drift car, steering lock is everything. Hence the reason the front wheel arches were cut out and rebuilt. This allows for more space so the wheels are free to do their thing with no rubbing under full lock or under compression. A full racing rollcage was custom built and braced on as many points as possible. This substantially increases the torsional rigidity of the Soarer, not to mention the added safety a contraption like this brings. Before anything else was done, the entire shell was painted in a primer gray for a professional finish-a nice touch as nobody wants to see a messy stripped interior with visible weld marks. Next on the cards was the suspension. A set of custom valved HKS dampers were thrown on and coupled to some incredibly hard Swift springs, 26kg/mm for the front and 16kg/mm for the rear. All arms were swapped out with GT Aoyama pillow-ball items to get rid of any slack in the suspension movement and to introduce an aggressive geometry especially developed for drifting. Jinushi-san preferred not to go over the top with the braking system and settled for a JZX80 Supra front and rear caliper kit biting down on AP Racing slotted rotors with Endless pads.