Motorsport is a tough old game. You can spend months, years even building your own personal race car and with one slight misjudgement all those hours of hard work can be undone in an instant. Most of us would probably have a little cry and call it a day. Darren McNamara however only saw fresh opportunity when faced with this exact dilemma.
To really show you the whole picture of how this car evolved, I need to first take you back to October 2009. D-Mac was finishing his second season as a Formula D pro driver. Having won his first Formula D event behind the wheel of a 600+BHP naturally aspirated V8 powered Saturn Sky, Darren looked to rekindle his love of the AE86 chassis back in his workshop in Cork, Ireland.
The AE86 chassis has been good to Darren. His first road car was a spotless UK spec Corolla GT Coupe which evolved into his infamous SR20 powered drift car (which graced the cover of Japanese Performance a couple of years back) which he won the 2006 Prodrift Series in, before exporting the car to the USA to compete in D1GP and later in Formula D. The little AE86 that could brought Darren his big break as a professional drifter.
In October 2009 Darren unveiled a small personal project he had been working on when not flying back and forth to the USA to compete. It was a simple Trueno spec AE86 with a near standard turbocharged 13B rotary from an FC RX7. The car was pretty simple with no major modifications bar a few parts from the MCNSport (Darren’s tuning company) catalogue. The car was built more-so to showcase his company and to have some fun in, rather than being a competitive competition spec drift car.
However, the Trueno didn’t survive too long. Whilst driving as a guest competitor at the first round of the 2010 Prodrift Series, Darren had an encounter with a concrete block on the edge of the course and seemingly putting an end to the life of his rotary powered Trueno.
During the aftermath, a plan was hatched – Take his Trueno back to bare metal and rebuild it as the ultimate AE86. This build was to be a no holds barred, rule bending and no expense spared creation and to bring the world an AE86 the likes of which has never been seen before.
Any AE86 owner will tell you that weight saving is one of the best performance modifications you can make to the almost legendary chassis. Taking this to the Nth degree, Darren and the MCNSport crew removed anything that would serve no purpose or that could be replaced with a lighter and stronger alternative. Quite ingeniously, the front and rear bumpers are supported by collapsible and replaceable tubing so should this new car have any racing ‘incidents’ the weakest point will collapse and can be bolted off and replaced in minutes. This system also helps to protect the chassis by absorbing an impact rather than transferring it back along the chassis.
By removing an extreme amount of weight you must ensure the chassis doesn’t lose any rigidity. To counteract the car’s diet, a full rollcage has been welded in along with seam welding the chassis so the car not only sits as a much lighter car but also much stronger.
Obviously you can’t remove all of the weight but by positioning the remaining weight in the right place can be an enormous advantage to the handling and balance of the car. Darren’s aim was to try and keep as much weight in the middle of the car as possible and by shifting some of the weight at the front to the back of the car.
This is just one reason for the rear mounted radiator setup. Instead of the radiator hanging out at the very front of the car, by moving it to the back you help balance the front / rear weight distribution. Weight over the rear wheels of a drift car also helps increase traction along with any cooling benefits the rear mounted setup provides.
The Hayward Rotary built 13B-REW bridge ported engine has also been moved back into the bulkhead to centralise the weight.
The engine which features a custom secondary fuel rail with Bosch 1680cc injectors, an Owen Development GT3582HA turbocharger with a custom Martelius exhaust manifold leading into a custom MCNSport / Martelius 90mm exhaust should give you an idea of the potency of this rotary motor.
Helping the turbocharger to breath is a custom made K&N air filter.
Sticking with Toyota, Darren has chose to run a R154 gearbox, originally found in a Supra. Although heavy, the Supra gearboxes are renowned for their strength and reliability, especially when dealing with big power figures. To mate the gearbox to the engine, MCNSport had to create a custom bell housing. Transferring the power from the engine to the gearbox is a Carbonetic twin plate carbon clutch with power to the wheels being fed through a custom rear axle with a locked differential.
There were no real options available to Darren when deciding on a look for the car which pushed him towards creating his own kit and aero package.
The exterior is almost entirely covered with fibreglass panels. Although carbon fibre would be lighter, the fibreglass option allows damaged panels to be replaced easier and cheaper. Being a drift car, one can expect Darren to go through a fair share of panels throughout the year.
The kit is comprised of TRD N2 inspired items but modified and enlarged to suit the extreme concept behind the car. When asked about his inspiration for the overall look of the car, Darren responded that he wanted to replicate the infamous Group B rally cars of the 1980s. That is, wide arches and lots of venting and ducting with some added aggression.
The resulting effort has been titled the ‘D-Mac N3’ kit and comprises of overfenders, bonnet, doors, wings, quarter panels, front and rear bumpers, rear diffuser, tailgate, headlight covers, GT wing and a rear tail light shell completes the impressive list of modifications.
There is also a specially designed roof skin which features a series of small vents at the front to draw air into the cabin and a large scoop at the rear to pull air into the rear mounted radiator.
The interior itself is a relatively simple affair, as to be expected from a competition spec car.
A pair of Cobra Suzuka bucket seats complete with green TRS harnesses, an MCNSport carbon fibre dashboard which houses Defi gauges and an Apexi AVC-R are the highlights along with a TRD gear knob and a custom ASD upright hydraulic handbrake lever.
In the brake department Darren has retained the standard AE86 items but for Black Diamond discs and Mintex pads. A full Wilwood conversion is on the cards in the near future but as drift cars don’t require the stopping power of a grip circuit car, the standard items will be more than suitable for the time being.
Hiding the brakes are some beautiful powder coated Work Meister S1s in 16×9.5 on the front with an offset of +4 and 17×10 with a mega offset of -35 on the rear.
The white pin striping and branding on the satin black finish really is sublime. The front wheels are wrapped in 225/40/16 Falken ZE912s and the rears will utilise Falken FK452s and RT615s depending on the event and weather conditions.
Stance seems to be the buzzword these days but any stance this car has come about from extensive testing and suspension setup. As good as it is to have good looks, it’s paramount to ensure that everything is working to its full potential first. The car is sat on MCNSport / AVO coilovers at the rear with MCNSport / AVO inserts at the front with modified Cusco camber tops. Fully custom MCNSport items have also been used for the front lower control arms, outer tie rods and front anti-roll bar.
Darren needed to fabricate up his own extra steering lock kit, careful to avoid any clearance issues and stopping the wheels travelling over centre.
Impressively, he has used the steering rack from an RX7 for turning duties.
Out the rear he has used an SP-Tec adjustable panhard rod with custom MCNSport axle links.
This car is certain to divide opinions.
On one side you will have diehard AE86 fans who may be upset at how little AE86 remains, not to mention using a Mazda engine but on the other side you will have other diehard AE86 fans who will love how much Darren has pushed the envelope with this car.
Either way, no one can deny just how special this car is.
Hayward Rotary Bridgeported 13B-REW
Custom Secondary Fuel Rail with Bosch 1680cc Injectors
Custom Martelius Exhaust Manifold
Owen Development GT3582HA Turbo
Tial 60mm External Wastegate
Apexi Power FC
Custom MCNSPORT Intercooler and Radiator
Custom MCNSPORT/Martelius 90mm Exhaust
Toyota Supra R154 Gearbox
Custom MCNSPORT R154>13B Bellhousing
Carbonetic Twin Plate Carbon Clutch
Custom Rear Axle With Locked Diff
MCNSPORT Alu Fuel Cell with built in Swirl Pot
Bosch 044 Fuel Pump
Sytec Bullet Filter
Aeromotive Fuel Pressure Regulator
MCNSPORT/AVO Adjustable Front Inserts
MCNSPORT/AVO Adjustable Rear Coilovers
Modified Cusco Camber Tops
Custom MCNSPORT Front Lower Control Arms
Mazda RX7 Steering Rack
Custom MCNSPORT Extra Steering Angle Kit
Custom MCNSPORT Outer Tie Rods
Custom MCNSPORT Axle Links
SP-Tec Adjustable Panhard Rod
Custom MCNSPORT Front Anti Roll Bar
D-Mac N3 Overfenders
D-Mac FRP Bonnet/Hood
D-Mac FRP Doors
D-Mac FRP Wings/Fenders
D-Mac FRP Quarters
D-Mac FRP Roof Skin (modified with Radiator vent and cockpit air intakes)
D-Mac FRP Rear Tail Light Shell
D-Mac FRP Trueno Front Bumper Type 2
D-Mac FRP Rear Bumper
D-Mac FRP Rear Diffuser
D-Mac FRP Rear Wing
D-Mac FRP GT Wing
D-Mac FRP Headlight Covers
D-Mac FRP Tailgate
MCNSPORT Carbon Dash
Defi Gauges and Control Unit
Cobra Suzuka Bucket Seats