This year we will be bringing you articles from several drivers competing in the HEL Performance Driftcup season, Craig Taylor is the first in his unique RB powered Subaru Imprezza.
For once I actually felt prepared for a drift event, not a lot had to be changed in the build up to the first round of Driftcup as most of the 2017 season was spent developing and overcoming any issues we came across being that it was a newly build car. For 2018 after a year of abuse the clutch wasn’t up to the job anymore so we swapped it out for a twin plate clutch, changed the OE power steering pump set up for an electric power steering set up due to ongoing problems with the steering and decided to push for a little more power as it was currently only running 370bhp.
We are happy with the turbo we are using so decided that instead of hunting for a newer, bigger turbo to just upgrade the one we’ve got, with a new turbo core and billet compressor wheels fitted the guys at Universal Turbos told us it would now be good for around 450-480bhp and at the time we were still using the stock cast RB25 exhaust manifold.
Our mapper Ed from Fusion Motorsport advised us that now would be a good time to upgrade the exhaust manifold to suit the turbo, by this time we had 3 weeks left until round 1 of Driftcup. A few calls later to Wayne at AutoExtreme we had a 6 boost top mount manifold on order, although Wayne advised us they’re made to order and take around 3 weeks to arrive. It was a risk we were willing to take and to our luck on Monday the 5th of March we had a call saying our manifold had arrived!
Now with 5 days until Driftcup we had a few late nights in the workshop to get the new turbo set up fitted. Wednesday was upon us, mapping day, after work I called Stewart (my dad) from TFS Racing for an update on how the mapping session went, I was informed it was going well producing around 435bhp at 1.2bar then lost power with each pull on the dyno. We suddenly lost all compression on cylinder 6 with suspected rings/piston melted.
With 2 days left until the event this absolutely drained us emotionally and physically after all the effort put into the car so far this week and we were ready to call it a day and give up. But that’s just not how we do things down at TFS Racing and with a few phone calls made, a plan slowly came together, Garage-D had a replacement RB25DET NEO engine we could collect asap, and a couple of friends were at the ready to help no questions asked.
While Stewart was removing the old engine James offered to collect the engine from Garage-D as he was working in the area and had it back at TFS HQ mid-afternoon, where Ian arrived to give a helping hand by starting to swap over the bolt on items to the new engine. As the evening came round the new engine was back in and we were slowly bolting on the remaining ancillary parts/wiring etc.. by 9pm the new engine had life and Skybaru was up and running again. Now with 1 day to go Ed managed to have time to fit us in for a last minute mapping session, now to play it safe on the new engine Ed mapped it too 1bar of boost which made 400bhp. Thankfully we were back on track, after loading the car and van we headed up to Rockingham Motor Speedway on Friday evening ready for the weekend.
The weather conditions were slippery track with light rain showers throughout the day – most part of the morning was spent testing all the changes to the car and trying to get back into the swing of things, with great success we’re very happy that the new electric power steering set up was working a lot better than our previous setup with no issues.
The power delivery was now completely different, the turbo comes in fairly aggressively and the spool was incredible compared with our previous setup with a noticeable difference in the way the engine rpm picks up thanks to the 6 boost manifold, resulting in better mid – low down responsive/power meaning less clutch kicks required to keep it in the required boost/power band. The rest of the afternoon was spent new getting used to the new setup on the car and getting as much seat time as we could.
This was also out first event using Westlake Tyres for the full event, due to the their being no ‘off the shelf’ parts for Subaru drift cars all our fabrication parts were made in house at TFS Racing, we decided to run Westlake’s as unlike all other conventional RWD vehicles such as Nissan and BMW theirs no DW Geomaster or Wisefab hubs to help develop grip into our car.
The track started out slippery but within a couple of hours we had dried it out and the sun had also come out – Driftcup was finally upon us! We spent the morning practice session dialling in more grip into the car and twinning with other drivers as we didn’t get many opportunities to do so on the Saturday. All was going well and I was chasing fellow Driftcup driver Kristian Rise when he had a boost pipe blow off mid transition, resulting in him straightening and narrowly missing the tyre wall. Unfortunately I was committed to the transition and was unable to stop in time as the back of the car swung round into the back of his, which meant the rear quarter we just fixed is now slightly bent, again.
Qualifying was now up and the car felt good, 1st qualifying run was okay, with a few mistakes and a slight straighten on the last corner.
For the 2nd run I decided it was all or nothing went for a big entry, unfortunately I timed the opposite flick slight off and the rear wheels dropped into the grass losing all grip and putting me into a spin, giving me a score of 0 for my second run, I was just hoping the first run might have been enough. I just missed out on the top 32 and qualified 37th with less than one point in-between myself and 32nd position, tying with the same qualifying score with 4 other drivers and ended my weekend of driving there.
But to sum up the weekend not all was lost, the car worked absolutely superbly with no issues what so ever, all the slight changes made to the car where huge improvements over the previous setup. I underestimated the lack of seat time I had had, having gotten use to how the it now drives we are really looking forward to round 2 of Driftcup and seeing what we can do!
I wouldn’t have made it there without all the help and continued support I’ve had, so a huge thank you to Garage-D, Ed of Fusion Motorsport, Wayne of AutoExtreme, Charlie of Surrey Rolling Road, James, Ian, lastly and most importantly Stewart of TFS Racing.