When we finally get around to kicking off the new season it’s going to be your debut in the BDC Pro 2 class, can you tell us what you drive and how you came to be here?
I’m driving a Subaru Impreza with an RB25DET NEO engine & drivetrain swap, I competed in drift cup for two years (2017 & 2018) and finished 7th overall in 2018 giving me the opportunity to step up into BDC.
So that’s a pretty unusual choice of car, what was it that made you go for it?
I grew up around Subaru’s, due to the nature of my dad running a Subaru specialist business, I became very fond of them myself. I also like to be unique, doing something that not many others have done, you don’t see many AWD converted cars on the grid. I’ve been told many times that Subaru’s aren’t a competitive chassis to use but I like a challenge and after years of ongoing development I feel we have got the car to a competitive level.
Yeah, it’s great to have different chassis on the grid, something that people aren’t used to seeing! Is it something you have developed yourself?
It’s been a team effort with my dad (Stewart) carrying out the fabrication work and Ian Mould making a custom wiring loom for the vehicle. There have been a few people involved but it was all built in house at TFS Racing, the only thing we’ve had to outsource was mapping.
What have been some of the main challenges you have faced in developing the car?
A big challenge we had to overcome was how short the wheelbase is compared to a conventional RWD vehicle – its 7 inches shorter than an R33, which makes it very snappy to drive. It’s lead us to put more grip into the rear to help control it, given that there are no off the shelf steering/suspension kits for Subaru’s, it’s all been custom made which took a bit of time to get right with plenty of testing and tweaking.
It’s certainly a challenge you go up against when you’re building something one-off like this! Is it all top secret or is there anything you can share of the recipe you’ve put together for it?
Nothing top secret, but I can tell you a lot of custom parts have been machined to make it all work!
So you’re running the RB25 NEO engine, what is the rest of the drivetrain made up of?
Starting at the front we’ve got a Nismo twin-plate clutch with an RB gearbox, custom two-piece prop shaft, 2-way Skyline diff & shafts with custom hubs to retain the Subaru suspension whilst catering for the Skyline drive shafts.
It sounds like a well thought out setup! How do you think you will get on in BDC this year? I know last year you took the year out to work on getting the car up to spec, did you manage to get much seat time?
I suffered a lot of mechanical failures in 2018 which I’ve been working on fixing as well as bringing the car up to spec. Having spent 2/3 years driving this car I think I’ll have a good shot at showing the BDC grid what we are made of, as long as we don’t have any more failures!
In regards to seat time I have been out in my practice car over winter trying to develop myself as a driver at the same time.
How did you get started in drifting, and what made you jump behind the wheel and made you want to compete?
I’ve always loved the sport and have followed the BDC from my late teens, after attending my first drift day in 2014 as a spectator with a friend, who was drifting his S14a. I was absolutely hooked, went home and myself & my dad decided to get an e46 328 which we learnt to drift in.
Seeing the atmosphere and joy it has brought to everyone that’s involved made me want to be a part of it.
The atmosphere at events is one thing that separates drifting events from other motorsports! If you had free reign to bring one other thing to events what would it be?
I would put twinning passenger rides during practice on the table so spectators get the real feeling of what it’s like to be in the competition and the adrenaline rush it gives you!
Who are the drivers that most inspire you? Who do you look up to within the drifting world?
James Deane has always been one of my favourites, I really enjoy watching the consistency and style of his driving.
Are there any drivers you are hoping to battle this year?
There is such diversity in the grid, I’m just looking forward to driving with them all, but Matthew Steele & Andy Frost I would definitely like to battle with.
Two very strong choices, both fantastic drivers and proven behind the wheel! What are you doing to survive the lockdown? What’s keeping you busy at the moment?
I’m able to isolate myself in the garage during this time, so I’ve been keeping busy using this extra time to get the car prepped and completely ready!
Anyone you want to give a shout out?
TFS Racing for their continued development, maintenance & trackside support for myself and the car.
Special thanks to Robert Borowik at Everything Drift for the images!