Inside Get Nuts Laboratory:<br/> The Forrest Wang Way
Behind The Door

Formula Drift is a massive steamroller of a series, with cars, people and events now spanning the globe. All the pieces pinball around, converging on tracks to create a storm.

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And right in the middle of it all is a man called Forrest Wang. He’s a firm fan favourite and a privateer driver who pays his bills by running Get Nuts Laboratory in Las Vegas.

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That’s why when I was in town for the 2014 SEMA Show with Bryn Alban from Need for Speed, we wanted to go and see Forrest at his workshop. He’s a rarity at the top end of motorsport these days as he runs his own program from top to bottom with only a two-person support crew of his partner Arianna Courte, and Garret Nikolich.

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We didn’t want to run the story until now, because as you’ll see in these shots Forrest was deep into his 2015 S15 build, which at the time very few people knew existed. That said, we felt pretty privileged to be allowed through the door.

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The thing that really struck both of us was just how ordered and composed the shop is. It’s compact in size compared to the old Get Nuts Lab, but everywhere you looked there was an important piece of kit ready to be picked up and put to use.

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The order is important too. With such a small team, if something is used, broken or left dirty it’s generally going to be Forrest who has to put it back, fix or clean it. And that takes time, so he obviously looks after everything as he goes along.

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It doesn’t mean the place is clinically clean or devoid of character though. Instead, it’s organically decorated with all the cool stuff you’d expect from somebody living like Forrest does.

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The walls, benches and cabinets are peppered with tools, hardware, parts and mementos of his fast rise to the top of the sport.

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So is he living the dream? On the surface, yes. He competes across the country and supports himself mainly through competition. But it can’t be easy holding it all together. So if you want to know how he does it, or what he thinks is important, this article will hopefully give you an insight.

Hardware
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The real fun of looking around anybody else’s workshop is seeing what things they value and what they create.

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All I knew of Forrest before I met him was probably what a lot of you guys will know – he’s a very stylish driver and one of the few who still runs a non-V8 engine in Formula Drift. His Nissan S-chassis builds have always been immaculate and run in his signature green.

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Given how much competition time his S14 has seen, it still looks incredible up close. Larry got the scoop on the 2015 S15 build and you can get the low-down on that by clicking here.

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‘The Purist’s Formula D Car’ title that Mike chose for the story was very fitting, as for me Forrest seems to have a very Japanese approach to drifting.

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Obviously we can all see how well the completely stripped shell turned out as a finished car, but seeing the attention to detail at this very early stage is clearly indicative of how much work goes into a top-flight competition car.

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Especially as they’re built to battle so hard that quite often they end up looking like this after an outing!

One On One
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Forrest was very generous with his time, so I figured it would be best to lay out his answers to my questions in their entirety.

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BM: What’s your most valued piece of equipment?

FW: That’s our own two hands! It’s hard to pick just one piece to be the most important, but the lifts, MIG and TIG welders, plasma cutter, tube bender, band saw, belt sander, shear, Rotex punch, Bridgeport mill and South Bend lathe are some of the more important pieces that we use. I’ve always been hands on with my builds and try to learn as much as possible everyday. There are always new things and techniques to learn.

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BM: Did you have a mechanical upbringing or any inspiration as a kid?

FW: I did go to an auto tech program back in Hawaii at the Leeward Community College, but it wasn’t until I moved off the islands to the States that I was taken into full race motorsports and really began to learn about higher end welding and fabrication. Sadly I didn’t have any parental guidance for my love of motorsport.

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BM: You used to have a much larger shop for Get Nuts Lab, why did you downsize?

FW: After the first year campaigning my own Formula Drift program in 2013 I realized that it was becoming very hard to manage a shop and go racing at the same time while only having a very small crew, who also left to go to the events. So we were shutting down the shop while we were out racing. Moving to a smaller shop was tough on the space we have, but cutting the rent from $2500 to $1400 was a big relief financially.

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BM: What do you do in an average week?

FW: A typical work week involves working on my FD car, Alec’s FD car, maybe my street car or demo car. Selling some parts like Stance coilovers, Wisefab kits, our Super Doof aero kits, STR wheels with tires, mounting tires, maybe some fab work for some friends here and there. We also ship our Get Nuts Lab gear all over the world, which Arianna takes care of along with posting up some social media.

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BM: Any special advice you can give people who are thinking of turning their passion into a business?

FW: I would say try and keep things clean and organized, and make considered use of your space and assets. Make good investments as much as possible. It’s okay to spend money on tools – they make you money back, but don’t expand beyond your means. Try and keep as low of an overhead as possible to get the job done.

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BM: What’s the hardest part of keeping it all together?

FW: Staying focused while juggling so many different tasks.

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BM: You’re quite well hidden in Las Vegas, is this intentional?

FW: I do like to be a little off the radar as it’s easier to get things done when people aren’t bothering you. After downsizing the shop I try to stay busy with my own projects and am picky about what cars come in for work. It’s usually a friend or someone we already know that wants something done to their car.

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That’s obviously a small look at how Forrest does it, but there is so much more from the cross-country missions to the constant need to succeed in competition to fund it all.

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Because where other drivers might be able to rely more heavily on sponsors or maybe a separate business interest, Forrest is out there putting his equipment and skills on the line every chance he has.

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And he has to put it all on the line. In fact, he may well just be the living embodiment of the saying, ‘You have to be in it to win it.’

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And is Forrest winning? I think so. If you like his style, why not show your support and grab a sticker, a hoodie or some product?

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At the very least take a look at the mega Bonus Image chapter below and spare a thought for the many other small teams fighting to keep their hard-earned place on the grids all over the world. We salute them all.

Bryn Musselwhite
bryn@speedhunters.com
Instagram: Twospeedbryn

Cutting Room Floor
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37 comments

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1

Heckkkkkk yeahhhh! This is a classic speed-hunters article. Even if it's a drift car, it is awesome. It's aways good to see behind the scenes.

I literally have the same lathe in a Logan variant, great little machine if you have the time for small DOC's. -_-

2

Horray for momy and dady providing their kid with something to do.

3

AlexAQ peanut butter and jealous

4

That would be fucking sweet I bet our shop would be huge and we could just hire people to do our biddings

5
daphotosmedia

@Garret nuts I was hoping one of you would respond to this lol

6

I love this shop feature. Always thought they seemed like well organized bunch ! Ignore the unnecessary comments from the JUVENILE named Alex. nice work SH

7

I didn't realize how small of a shop this was! Gives me inspiration for the future. If these guys and can run an awesome operation out of this small space, why can't i?

8

Go forrest! You're me and my girlfriends favorite drifter! We don't care if you win we'll always support you! We paint our drift cars in forza on xbox one to look like yours and tandem with other people on our drift team, organizing battles with other teams, tuning to your cars specs from what we can find on the net and more! Keep it up forrest and take tuerck down bro! Add me onxbox one and We can drift sometime -grayfoxxd1

9

I didn't even manage to do a photobomb. #ifail

10
Speedhunters_Bryn

AirLift_Lucas He cut the size down as he explained, it makes a lot of sense. You can still get five or six cars in here though with a yard for a load more outside.

11
Speedhunters_Bryn

Bryn Alban We didn't even get any stickers! #bothfail

12

Speedhunters_Bryn Bryn Alban I blame the tiredness and it being our last day in Vegas trying to cram two shop visits in in one day and doing a bit of intersection car spotting before flying home!

13

Seriously Forrest Wang's S15 to me is probably the best, or one of the best looking rides in Formula D.

15

Speedhunters_Bryn AirLift_Lucas  If we try really hard we can get10 in :) Great job you guys, this is awesome! <3

16

Amazing job as usual. Thank you guys so much for coming and taking a tour of the shop and seeing how our daily "shop life" is <3

17

Good ol' uncle benny :)

18

Hate to be the nit-pick guy, but,
"One of a few none V8...."
After a quick look at the FD Pro1 standings, off the top of my head, 21/39 Pro1 cars are V8. 21 V8 over 18 non-V8 is hardly an overwhelming majority.
According to current standings, 5 of the top 10 are V8. 10 of the top 20 are V8.
Seems much more like 50/50 split to me.
Saying "one of the few" seems sensational at the least, getting into misleading journalism at the extreme.
Next, and this is just personal opinion...
Before I start, I'm a huge Foresr Wang fan
...but I disagree with the statement that Forest best embodies the JDM drift style. His car is JDM style...his technique is amazing, smooth, and one might say JDM-esque. But his overall approach to drifting a given section is about as American as it gets. Forest is currently the king of the "max angle, slow-as-fuck-rolling-burnout", which is basically the opposite of JDM style (which is more based around the snappiest, gnarliest, highest speed initiation/entry as possible, and then hanging on for dear life. Side note, I'm not saying one is better than the other, they're just different, and byproducts of the available terrain/tracks/facilities).
To me, the American in FD who best embodies the JDM style is Chelsea Denofa. No one from this side of the Pacific is willing to throw their car at an obstacle as hard and as aggressively as Chelsea. SH needs to do a feature on him!!

19
bluestreaksti

Don't know about him but if i was in that shop with a car it would be a dream.  Big money in racing tends to make it hard to relate to.  It's amazing to see an operation like this competitive.  Seems so much more real than multi million dollar organizations and clone cars. Suddenly i know who I'm rooting for in FD! :D

20

Bryn Alban Speedhunters_Bryn http://www.getnutslab.bigcartel.com/ here U Go, get some stickers

21

I remember watching him in an ancient drift tengoku video eons ago. His drifting and interview skills have definitely improved since haha.

22

most of us love forrest because he is an underdog....he doesn't have the crew, nor the big energy drink sponsors...but he has the heart and instead of stretching himself thin (thinner cuz he his on the lean side lol), he doesn't cut corners. His style has developed onto itself; his cars are meticulously presented. It may be a shoe string budget but its a professional shoe string

23
Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

That's cool! Pitty I haven't got a 10x35" screen! Lol

24
Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

@AlexAQ
Dude you are soooooo far from the truth.

25
Speedhunters_Bryn

DevBizkit Very well put!

26
Speedhunters_Bryn

Twitch_6 Thanks for the comment, the V8 line wasn't meant to be sensationalist, and yes your stats do stack up. Good point well made. 

"max angle, slow-as-fuck-rolling-burnout" - I think that's a little over the top though, he's hardly slow. Which for me is where the Japanese reference came in. The overall feel has an authenticity to with Forrest, from the hardware to the style, whereas some other cars don't look quite right and it seems like a drag race to the finish with a few angles thrown in. 



I'll pay more attention to Chelsea next time on on the livestream :)

27
Speedhunters_Bryn

2JZGRL Thanks for letting us look around, I know it was all last minute but really, thank you!

28
Speedhunters_Bryn

jcali Yup, I'd agree with that.

29
Speedhunters_Bryn

Bryn Alban Buying trainers, beef jerky and cowboy boots too huh?

30

Ok maybe I was a little sensational >.<
I didn't mean that to come across as a shot at Forest either. It's just my take on the Japan vs American style.
For me, a perfect example of this is the "No Daigo, No Party" vid. There's a couple times in the vid where he has two consecutive corners in the same direction. If he can't quite smoothly link the two, he actually grips up, gains max speed, and re-initiates (very smoothly though). The American style would be to Manji the short straight. Both are stylish, but one is a lot faster than the other.
Also don't forget that with Forest, until the middle of last year, even Jarod was basically calling him out during broadcasts that, while is style was immaculate, he was lacking in the speed department (correct me if I'm wrong, but this was part of the motivation for Forest to ditch his deep-dish wheels).
But like I said, at the end of the day, I'm a huge fan, wish him nothing but the best, and cheer for him every round!!

31

@Grayfoxxd1 "and take tuerck down bro" hahaha

32

Love these garage/shop features!

33

Does Forrest still sell jz to s chassis mounts? My wife needs a set for her upcoming build.

34

Definitely an inspiration for all the diy car guys out there.

35

Definitely an inspiration for all the diy car guys out there.

36

DevBizkit amen!

37

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