The direction which North American professional drift cars are progressing into is a hotly contested topic. One thing is for certain, the cars are getting louder, they're getting faster and they're billowing out tire smoke by the metric ton. The faint twirl of a blow-off valve has been replaced by the almost defining roar of V8s with the top tier competitors' V8s packing the most punch and the most thunderous noise.
British videographer, Stephen Brooks, couldn't get over the fact of just how loud the spectacle of Formula D is compared to his home series, the British Drift Championship, while he was in attendance at Wall Speedway in New Jersey.
One of the many new fire and brimstone creating cars on the 2011 Formula D grid is Ryan Tuerck's 2010 Gardella Racing Chevy Camaro. The Mobil 1 / Redbull livery was designed by fellow Speedhunter, Andy Blackmore. Ryan moved from his Pontiac Soltice to the Camaro.
Coming out from the factory floor, a Camaro weighs in at a hefty 3,750 pounds and if this car was to be the slightest bit competitive, it had to go through an extreme diet. On the exterior, the guys from Gardella Racing employed the use of Pratt Miller carbon fiber front bumper, hood, roof, decklid….
…and Norm's fiberglass fenders and doors. This lever at the top is the new door release. The factory door release no longer exists.
When you open up the door, you're greeted first thing by a Formula D legal roll cage with door bars. These top tier professional drift cars are being prepped more like real race cars as the sport progresses further.
And as with any race car, the interior has also seen a drastic diet change as it exudes zero creature comforts. Even the dash received a whole new look and functionality with the Racepak IQ3 dash with datalogger.
The closest thing to luxury are the pair of Sparco bucket seats.
The factory pedals were also replaced with these from Wilwood. The accelerator was fabricated to Tuerck's specifications. The cylindrical piece was added so he can reach the pedal and so he can roll into the gas giving him the ability to finely tune the throttle rather than the usual barbaric stomp.
Gone is the six speed transmission from the factory as it's been replaced by a G-Force GSR 4 speed transmission.
Back outside, we popped open the hood…
…to find a rather beastly 427 cubic inch GM racing LS7…
…with Kinsler ITBs…
…and Kooks Custom Headers.
The LS7 is managed by a FAST XFI ECU and FAST XIM ignition module which has been mounted on the passenger side of the transmission tunnel.
In the back of the car, you can find a Winters quick change differential.
In the trunk, is a Fuel Safe fuel cell…
…and a whole lot of excess rubber.
Why the lexan quarter windows? Because race car.
The Gardella team chose a set of Eibach struts and springs with Pfadt sway bar, bushings, and camber kit as their suspension of choice for the car. Judging from how the car has been performing and with Ryan Tuerck being 7th in the championship (as of July 2011), this suspension setup has proven its worth.
Gardella decided to ditch the 20" wheels, which come with the more premium packaged Camaros, and opted for a set of much lighter 18" red anodized Enkei RPF1. Their drift tire of choice was the Nitto NT05 265/35R18, on a 9" wide wheel, for the front…
…and 295/35R18 on a 18×10" wide rear wheel.
The front and rear fenders were also brought down and made smaller so the 18" wheels didn't get lost in an ocean of fender gap. This may be a professional race car, but looks are still a big part of the sport of drifting and the guys from Gardella know that.
For stopping this massive car, Gardella once again, reached out to the folks from Wilwood.
This is the result of when two Camaros go up against each other in the top 4 at Wall Speedway in New Jersey.
It was more than just a love tap with the guard rail.
In the next few years, it's definitely going to be interesting to see how these top tier Formula D cars will progress. One thing is for certain, cars built in this meticulous way, like the Gardella Racing Camaro, will be what to expect on the professional level in the future. Gone will be the street-style S13s, 14s, and most things that many of us associate with Japanese Drifting. Formula D is quickly becoming a very American sport.
For some, that might be a tough fact to swallow. But to those that enjoy watching the sport for what it is, this change will be a good thing. Each year, the cars are getting faster, the tandem battles are becoming closer and closer, and the noise that exudes from all these V8s is exhilarating to experience in person.