How Can A 4-Cylinder Compete<br /> With The V8s In Formula D?

It doesn’t matter what kind of engine configuration you’re running – the reality of Formula D Pro competition is that if it’s not making north of 800hp, it’s hard to compete. With the latest generation of tires and chassis setups, top level drift cars need huge power to keep the wheel speed up due to the high levels of grip.

So how is Fredric Aasbø’s four-cylinder Scion tC able to not just compete, but regularly beat its V8 peers in a world that swears black and blue that eight cylinders are the only way to go? This very cool video should give you a good indication about what goes into the tC’s screaming 1000hp engine, but we also asked its builder, Stephan Papadakis of Papadakis Racing, to give us a brief run down:


“We start with the 2014 Scion tC 2AR-FE engine, which in stock form makes 180hp at the flywheel from 2.5 liters. Our engine build consists of JE forged pistons, custom rods and a stroked crank, which pushes capacity out to 2.7 liters. Portflow Design, who builds and ports our cylinder heads, replaces the entire valvetrain with Supertech valves, springs and retainers. Stock, the engine redline is 6700, but with the upgrades it’s good for 8200rpm-plus.”


“The E85 fuel is delivered through four Injector Dynamics ID2000cc injectors controlled by an AEM Infinity ECU. The extra fuel for the nitrous is also injected through the ID2000s and controlled by the nitrous function in the AEM Infinity software.”


“The big power maker is the 30psi [2bar] of boost from the BorgWarner EFR 8374 turbocharger bolted to a Full-Race exhaust manifold.”


“For most tracks we use the nitrous for low RPM and low boost response. Typically it’s only active for less than a second before boost comes up since turbo response is actually quite good. On big tracks where total horsepower is important we can choose to leave the nitrous on with the 30psi boost netting 1000hp.”


In a competition where the grid is absolutely dominated by V8s, there’s certainly something just a little satisfying to see and hear the Papadakis Racing 2AR-FE four-banger screaming its way to the podium – sure proof that it is entirely possible to do something that goes against the grain and still come out on top.

Peter Kelly
Instagram: speedhunters_pedey

Photos by Larry Chen & Stephan Papadakis



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That crazy motor and the fact that Fredric is a super cool guy makes it awesome. Even after getting out of what had to be a hot oven on the grid he still gave me a minute to chat, but maybe that's just because he thought my drifting volvo wagon shirt was cool.

Link below for a video I took of this motor slaying the banking in Orlando.


I don't race, and I don't try to. When I read about stuff I like diversity. I don't think that "tried and true" yields excitement as much as diversity and true competition. "Who's gonna win?" is the question, and it makes for more excitement when it's apples vs oranges; not red apples vs green apples. IMO

Scion Tc 1000hp ftw! I wanna see it win just on principle alone. This is the type of story I like to read.

Pete the perfect pilot

And all credit to mad mikes crew for putting together the 4 rotor screamer. The boys from PPRE have built an amazing engineering achievement in wanganui and brought it to the world stage. Formula drift is all the richer for this diversity.


errr cause its a 2.5lt stroked to 2.7lt


If the person positioned behind this prodigious project is papadakis I have little doubt that Aasbo will be properly powersliding on the pavement passed the v8's posthaste!

Gianluca FairladyZ

Can't you guys from Papadakis not make some deals with Bernie Ecclestone in bring these engines in the current F1 cars?

That would be very ice, thank you!


Gianluca FairladyZ  And they will be a lot cheaper. Wanna bet that Bernie will follow Sepp Blatter on the FBI investigators cases?


Gianluca FairladyZ  F1 runs 1.6 engines, V6 configuration and a redline of 15.000. Papadakis knows KERS? Oh, all is good then...


2.7l 4 banger with a 6700rpm redline making 800 - 1000hp?!? Damn that thing must be a torque monster.


Genius with a 4-cylinder. The man is a living legend and that motor is simply amazing


greenroadster Gianluca FairladyZ nah he will be dead before that happens. I mean how old is Bernie, 89 years?


Stock RPM is 6700. After the upgrades this baby spins at 8200 plus

Gianluca FairladyZ

F1 needs reanimation! as promitive as it sounds, but they need violent engines, car's that are difficult to drive and more emotions! and listen to what a lot of F1 drivers say, exactly that.. F1 does not need Kers,Drs, fuel restriction, etc.. F1 needs to bene racing again! Ansmd sorry... but my Dyson vacuum cleaner sounds nicer than the current F1 cars! Real men drove F1 cars of yesterday, teenys drive what we call F1 cars today. i hope you get what i am all about mate?


That team is a group of wizards to produce so much power and be competitive. I shouldn't be surprised though considering Papadakis was doing crazy stuff back in the import drag days.


"It doesn’t matter what kind of engine configuration you’re running – the reality of Formula D Pro competition is that if it’s not making north of 800hp, it’s hard to compete. With the latest generation of tires and chassis setups, top level drift cars need huge power to keep the wheel speed up due to the high levels of grip."

I think Odi Bakchis would disagree with you.


ScottBrady The term was "hard", not impossible. 

How many competitors are running less than 800hp that are currently in the top 10 in Formula D:

Answer: 2. Bakchis and Mourdant.

But hey, 2 out of 10 ain't bad right? I'd say it's hard to be competitive with less than 800hp based off the stats alone. Hardly hyperbole.


Its good to see people can still make this kind of power, its not seen very often, considering F1 were attaining a reliable 800hp and over 1000 for qualifying from 1500cc engines in the '80s with no nitrous. BMW even used a stock block.


AceAndrew2 Properly posted per perfect parlance.


Gianluca FairladyZ the sport has been castrated by too many rules, but I sometimes take a different view to yours.
If the sport needs changing (not sure it does sometimes but anyway...) change it up properly.
open the rule book and tear that Sh-- up, enclosed cockpits/life saver cells to be made the rule, let every team go crazy with their money, aero tech, full traction control and self righting suspension, nitrous on tap, lexann impact resistant plasti-glass around the tracks so as to save the spectators, let the sport become the bleeding edge again, jet engines and air breaks... explosions and implosions but without the risk to lives.

sure, williams, mannor, sauber and force india might disappear but the viewing figures would be up, then again, perhaps VJ would spend less on cricketers and more on development for his F1 team if there was a greater interest... 

personally I feel KRS and DRS are relevant tech to motorsport, look how its been implemented in the WEC, you just have to get some of the investors in F1 teams to dig deeper and invest at a greater rate, but thats never going to happen while the rule book keeps changing every couple of years...


Two of the greatest 4 cylinders have got to be the 4G63 (obviously) and the Cosworth YB. Those things are absolute monsters at producing horsepower


Not sure if Formula Drift allows it; toluene is one way for this little four cylinder to crank out even more power, possibly even close to 1500hp.


LukeEVOVIII I think its more down to those engines being very popular, I think with the right knowledge you could get any engine to perform faultless with alot of power. But indeed the 4g63 and YB is a very popular, therefore there is alot of info and knowledge about it.


LukeEVOVIII I'd put the BD over the YB, though the BD won't last too long under big boost, it will make ridiculous power until it pops.


Hydrolastic and how much with nitromethane?

I don't believe the exotic fuels are allowed, just nitrous and race gas.

Robert Sothmann

alex jonson LukeEVOVIII
Which is down to the design and ready availability of HP. Mitsubishi made an awesome engine that even in stock form can take serious RPM without dropping a lifter (yes Nissan SR 20 we are looking at you), can take a lot of trial and error tuning and knock etc without spitting a rod out the block (Honda Bxx)...
Once you throw money at the problem, you can get power from almost any engine. In my opinion the greater the engine design, the less money must be thrown at it to achieve the results.


D1RGE Not sure if toluene would be considered an exotic fuel, its most common use is making benzene and as a paint thinner. Now with nitro, it being a semi-monopropellant, power is only limited by how much fuel a motor can physically ingest into the cylinders.  With Papadakis's 164ci motor 2000-3000HP would not be out of his reach.


Hydrolastic D1RGE  It is also the main octane agent in normal pump fuel, used to control summer / winter blends and make up most 'super' unleaded (Tesco Momentum aside).
Funny stuff though, hard to vaporise and burns quite slowly :D


James_Turbo Hydrolastic D1RGE Plus you have to be careful with the amount of oil the engine needs, as, unlike petrol, it doesn't have any lubricating properties.

Gianluca FairladyZ

TarmacTerrorist Gianluca FairladyZ  In some facts i agree with you, in others not.  I think, if you want to push systems like KERS or similar it is not neccessary to do it in motorsport. Because in motorsport it has a controversal effect, it makes the cars heavier and it is not an actual powersource that the engine itself produces. Back then Toyota has lanced the Prius with hybrid system as well, without really celebrating any big win in motorsport. Honda as well with the Insight. And it worked.

So for the holy name of god, let the pilots be real pilots again, and the cars be real racing cars without too much electronical gadgets again.......

Yeah, but you know the truth about the chaning the rules in F1 don't you? In F1 you change the rules because certain cars or teams always win.. And not really due to the pressure of going innovative. I think this is due to the pressure of the opponents that weren't able to do the same homework as the rivals. Who knows what amounts of money are flowing as well..


To sad descendant left the game, my xB its still pulling 330whp with their 4 year old turbo kit. No issues what so ever.


Gianluca FairladyZ F1 needs no reanimation. If you follow F1 for 20 years you'll notice that today a lot of things are better than it was in the V10, V8 era. The sound is the only problem but for the rest of it, its great how it is now, but people continue complaining about everything. Its getting old. 

A lot of these people even dont know F1 really. They just repeat what others say. In fact with 100 kg more weight the 2016 F1 cars are sometimes even faster than the record cars from 2003/2004.

In Monza the top speed record which is about 370 kmh is maybe going to be reached this year. 

Todays F1 cars can follow each other through corners. There were nice wheel 2 wheel battles last Sunday in Austria. All these things wasnt barely possible in the golden era. We should not forget that the V10 and V8 NA engines were at their peak after 10-15 years. It was the pinnacle of engineering. Now we have the 2nd year of Turbo V6 and they already are pretty close to the best NA engines. 

I love V8's and V10's. Nothing comes close to a NA F1 V10 to me and never will. But people should start watch the races and study the facts instead of whining about things which are not true.


@Runfrcover they were also doing things like welding heads onto blocks to crank boost to stupid levels and basically making 3-lap missiles on marshmallow tires. Sponsors were spending tens of millions per race


Thanks Stephan for giving my Supra some of your time a few years ago! Speedhunters putting out another great story!


Soooo i dont like TC's....buuuuuuut i cant deny the awesomeness of this car, i can only give respect because the easy route was not taken.


albajadlamed dude thats incredible out of an xB! bolt on kit or did you have to touch internals to boost? im curous


the car was very good 
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