A Look Inside Team Nichiei’s D1 Silvia S15

In my previous post on an AE86 Trueno that I discovered down a side street in Yokohama last week, I said that it was a breath of fresh air finding something that didn’t have over-the-top exterior mods and a gazillion horsepower under the hood.

As refreshing as it was, I’m all for the opposite too, hence why after finishing up grabbing a few shots of the Hachiroku, I ran back around the corner to where Dino was shooting. and pointed my camera at Nichiei Racing’s wide and powerful D1-spec Silvia.


After recent battles at Tsukuba Circuit during the third round of the 2017 D1 Grand Prix Series, the Nissan S15 had undergone extensive surgery in preparation for round four. The Nichiei Racing team had finished putting the car back together the day before we arrived, so it was the perfect opportunity to take a few photos for a quick spotlight feature.


The Rocket Bunny wide-body kit might disrupt the original lines of the Silvia, but in this car the over-fenders serve real purpose, allowing wide wheels and tires to be fitted.


Besides being aesthetically pleasing, the ducktail spoiler adds a bit of extra down force which helps the car move forward while it turns rubber to smoke.


Speaking of tires, they’re wrapped around 18-inch RAYS Gram Lights 57FXX wheels, which provide a strong and light solution required for the team, while opening up the room to fit massive Endless calipers and rotors.


The SR20DET is a bit of a rarity in pro drift circles these days, so it’s cool to see Nissan’s four-cylinder retained under the S15’s hood. Of course, some serious work was required in order to generate the sort of power levels needed to be competitive at the top tier of Japanese drifting, hence the SR being fully built and fitted with a large JP Turbo turbocharger. However, the setup may not stay in the car too much longer; there’s talk of a different combo altogether for the 2018 D1GP series.

The interior is exactly as one would expect in a car prepped for D1 – completely gutted and fitted with a custom roll cage. The carbon fiber dash is a cool touch, and in true Japanese fashion there’s a bunch of individual gauges, but also a Racepak IQ3 digital display.


While shooting the S15, I couldn’t help but think about professional drifting and wonder how, now that it’s entered the realm of the FIA, things will change. On that subject, which type of drifting does everyone prefer? The one that’s all about high power and smoke, or the more humble, grass-roots approach?

Ron Celestine
Instagram: celestinephotography



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Grass roots x1000000000000
Formula D and the like do precisely Zero for me, its a shame that due to the scale of FD / the size of the US market that their influence has rubbed off on the majority of other competitions world wide (v8 everything, shit ride heights / 0 style, minimum 700 hp)
Id rather watch amateurs bang about in 300hp S13s and 150 hp ae86s any day of the week.

Ron Celestine

I def can get with that.. As much fun as a smoke show is, it is much more fun watching watching amateurs go at it in 'low' power cars


1) I can totally dig this nissan.
2) Humble grassroots approach! Makes for a better read if nothing else.


who's to say that FD and D1GP drivers aren't humble? Sponsored or not, every racer has to sing for their supper.

Ron Celestine

1) Right?!
2) Also right! haha Some may make the same correlation between the NBA and College Hoops (if anyone watches basketball still lol)


It's definitely like that in my circle of friends. It's funny you mentioned it really.

Ron Celestine

Haha its kind of the same for mines as well (State side at any rate lol)


I haven't enjoyed watching drifting in years. The hobby going professional has ruined it for me. Once it became the realm of rich teams throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars at a car it became too much.

I'd watch newbies doing practice laps at a car park practice day any day over watching formula d.

Ron Celestine

I can get with that. Wonder how the FIA will effect this as well..


Grassroots all the way plus early 2000s style is cool, none of this v8 everything bs. Also how to pronounce Nichiei pls.

Ron Celestine

Indeed! and Ne-Che-A


Is the front clip twisted or is it an optical illusion? And how does the spoiler add down force when it is sideways? Aero on a drift car is only for style. I vote for grass roots. Keep the low bucks crowd off the street.

Brett Williams

If you want a high speed initiation you need downforce to get up to speed. Conversely, a larger GT style wing can be built with large end plates which assist with yaw control when you are sideways.
Aero and mechanical grip are a drifters best friends. wings and spoilers aid in this.


@Brett Williams "grip are a drifters best friends."
I have never got this bit of drifting. Why not run 300hp on skinnier tyres for the same result?

Brett Williams

In the name of cheap(ish) fun drifting by all means. But the more competitive it gets, the faster it gets. The more grip you have the more car control you have at high speeds.


Interesting, thanks!


Probably for when the car is not going sideways, and harder to control (I'd imagine)?

Christian Clark

As much as I love me some grassroots events, I don't get my panties in a wad and bemoan the downfall of drifting over the pros. They are there for a reason, and as much as it's nice to see underpowered cars, I also want to see drifting done at a top freaking level, car and driver. So many of you tossers are crying about this pro car but damnit as soon as two cars are on a track, the question is asked, "who's better?" and off we go, upgrading bits and pieces.

You do know that 99% of you would never have ever known what drifting was if not for the attention the pros generated?


But then it isn't 'who's better?' is it, it's 'who has the better car?'

And, to be honest, I couldn't name any current professional drifters, aside from the ones speedhunters feature. I got hooked on watching poor quality videos downloaded of dodgy file sharing services (KaZaA anyone?).

Brett Williams

hahaha Man i'd almost forgotten Kazaa!

There's always better cars, but a car doesn't make a driver. A driver makes a car.

I know I personally couldn't get in a 900hp drift car and expect to steer the fuckin thing like I can steer a 400hp car


I echo your comment.

I know it's a question of preference and is meant to open discussion/controversy by design, But why can't people like both?

Are these same people pissy because there are 10,000HP top fuel cars with million dollar teams racing at the same track as a father son team with a low HP budget car?

Everything evolves.


Opening this I was expecting yet another LS swapped Nissan (which I would of stopped reading at that point), how refreshing to see the SR20det still in it. Awesome ride


Hahaha right! But lets see how long that sr20 will last...

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Oh dear they might not like what's coming.... or wait, they will LOL


Con artist.....


how comes the left hand side of the car seems higher than the right?

Ron Celestine

Because the road wasn't completely flat o.O?


Grassroots over everything. I´m sorry to say that, but the grassroots drift event coverages in the early days of Speedhunters were THE reason for me to visit this site daily. Nowadays, I´m still here on a daily basis, but miss those coverages a bit.

Ron Celestine

Hmmm noted on the part of missing some grassroots drifting ^^


Thanks alot Ron! Don't get me wrong, I don't want to critisize the work of you guys. You do an amazing job in bringing the best car stuff together from every part of the world. But the roots of Speedhunters were mostly articles of the Japanese car culture and I kinda miss it!

Christian Clark

ANKRacing....care to link those posts? I've been here since day 1 and SH has always covered the pros, much more than the grasssroots.

Man, you guys and your rose-tinted glasses. Guess you forgot what drifting was actually like pre-2006.


Hey Christian,

yepp sure they did. Maybe I framed it wrong. In the early days SH covered much more of Japanese car culture in general and grassroots drift events is one part. But well, I still love, how this site has grown and evolved. The SH guys do a great job. If they wouldn´t, this would not be the first site every day to read on.

Haha no, I haven´t forgot. I LOVE late 90s/early 00s drifting and the style of the cars. :)


Early 2000's Grassroots. Big entry's and Proximity is everything


We need both!
As to Pro's - Finally this year after European invasion to Formula D, itis starting to be watchable again - tandem quality has improved.


With FD on YouTube this year I've got back into drifting and while I'm enjoying the tire shredding there is definitely room for improvement on the pro circuit. For my 2 cents they need to:
- cap/control max power to stop it being solely a pay-to-win formula. It's evident you need NOS, anti-lag and other trick bits simply to be competitive in the top 16.
- Fewer OMTs. There is too much dead time and being able to do this endlessly removes the necessity for drivers to commit to a winning run and the judges to make a proper decision. I like the sound of the changes proposed for the Irish and British championships. Anyone have opinions on whether they have worked?
- Explain/illustrate better what has won the run for a driver. The tech exists to measure proximity, angle and speed so why not use it? Yes, D1 gets hate for the DriftBox but a combination of technical data and style based judging must be possible. At a minimum, showing us some of the data would help de-mystify how a decision could be made (avg proximity in chase, max speed/angles in each clipping zone, proximity to clipping points etc)

On the style front, bring back wings. The mid-2000s D1 cars were awesome to look at as it balances the look of a wide body. Fat, flat and ducktailed doesn't do it for me.....

Brett Williams

I think a power cap would be very interesting but it does take away from the showmanship and freedom to build what you want (to a point) on the topic of power, if your driving skill is up there you can follow just fine with 300hp less and when you're leading, you control the run... there's balance there. Having less power is an excuse for a poor follow run, not a valid reason.

FD publicly addressed the OMT debate before the season started, check their press releases and interviews done with online, print and podcast publications. They're aware this detracts from the smooth running and their judges are working hard to limit OMT's.

I agree more explanation would be great, I think that ties into the smooth running though. Post event judge wrap ups would be fanstastic though.

I agree on the wing front. I fucking LOVE me a big wing. However, with all the advances in mechanical grip and cutting edge modern aero, wings are almost a thing of the past. Props to the guys still running them though, again.... I love that style.


Grass roots for sure. I honestly think professional drifting has kinda wrecked grass roots, at least in north america. People are getting way to serious about hooning around in cheap nissans and mazdas.