Toyota Corolla GT-S: Drift-style Sep 26, 2002
After serving us faithfully as a parts chaser- lunch getter, daily driver for the last few weeks, we decided the Corolla deserved a little exercise. We weren’t really sure how we wanted to work the Toyota out until we heard NASA was holding a drift competition at their Hyperfest 2 event. We had seen the crazy Japanese drift contest videos featuring the AE86 chassis Corolla, so we knew the hachi-roku had potential as a serious drifter. Besides, it looked like more fun than a barrel full of monkeys!
The Corolla as it sat probably would have been a decent drifter, but we couldn’t help but tweak it a little to get the most out of it. Our first stop was the local boneyard, which yielded a set of 13X5 inch rims off an early rear-drive Corolla wagon. We cleaned them up, and painted them with remarkably good results using a two-stage dark anthracite urethane. Next, a call was made to our friends at the local Discount tire requesting the crappiest, baldest, 13 inch tires they had in their dumpster. Lucky for us they had four 165/80/13 tires in really bad shape to choose from. They even mounted them for no charge, thanks guys!
Now being new to this whole drifting thing, we weren’t really sure of the rules, or lack there of. To find out what our boundaries were we e-mailed the Hyperfest website. Within a couple of days we received a reply stating that there were ” NO modification restrictions” this information got the wheels in our heads spinning.
Considering the goal of the drift contest was to be spinning the tires continuously thoughout the run, we came to the conclusion that the only thing better than skinny bald tires was wet, skinny bald tires. Ken Gearin (Joe’s brother) at Flounder Pounder Marine Surplus in Port Canaveral, FLA. was nice enough to donate materials, and his own blend of twisted expertise in developing our tire lubricator system.
Our system used a 6 gallon water tank, mounted under the hatch, connected to a marine bilge pump which forced water though twin tubes exiting out of holes in the chassis and onto each rear tire. The whole setup was activated by a toggle switch mounted in the center console under the radio. We ran a few test runs in an abandoned parking lot and achieved the desired mega-ridiculous oversteer. By midnight the system was installed, Ken’s wife was mad, and we were off to North Carolina!
We arrived at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Saturday full of confidence in our modified drift car. That is until NASA Virginia region director Chris Cobetto saw it and outlawed us. He mentioned something about insurance liability, and making the track dangerous for the other drivers. Oh well we’d just have to run without the “lubrication system”.
We had a chance at a few practice runs during the day, as the actual event came that night under the lights. After practice, while changing tires, the Corolla shed a wheel stud. The whole adventure might have been scrapped if it weren’t for the help of fellow drifters, Micah Williams, Jose Santiago,and Nathan Brasz, who came to our aid, driving us to the local auto parts store for a replacement.
We got the car back together in time for the main event which took place around 10:30 PM. Even without our system the car drifted well, and despite an off course adventure, and a spin, we managed a fourth out of 13 or so cars. Presently our “Outlaw” drift car still has its sprayers intact, waiting for the next event.
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Considering the goal of the drift contest was to be spinning the tires continuously thoughout the run, we came to the conclusion that the only thing better than skinny bald tires was wet, skinny bald tires