After three long-awaited years by U.S. drift fans, the world's first professional drifting sanction returned JDM-themed drifting competition to our shores with its first of four nation-wide stops for '09, beginning in Anaheim, CA. To say the event went off exactly as planned wouldn't exactly be accurate, but what was brought to the table, as promised, was some badass "U.S. vs. Japan" drifting action! Japan's Saito, Kumakubo, Ueno, and Yoshioka emerged in practice as the giants to beat, but U.S. drifters Quoc Ly, Ross Petty and Forest Wang looked more than up to the task to do it. Petty knocked out Yoshioka in the Super 16, but fell to Kumakubo in the Elite 8 (not without swapping some paint in the process). Forest bye-ran through the Super 16, bested Tanaka in the Elite 8, and eventually fell to Kumakubo in the Final 4 after four runs, despite his in-car DriftBox (Racelogic's telemetry and data-acquisition system that was affixed to each car to determine 60 percent of the judging criteria) signifying that he had indeed out-driven his JDM foe in their first bout. Kumakubo met Saito in the finals for four too-close-to-call runs, before decidedly falling to Saito behind the wheel of the baddest four-door family sedan to ever go sideways.
With these early bugs worked out, D1GP promises to bring the heat to Miami, Philly and Chicago in each of their remaining rounds, and to continue to expose the nation's most talented, unheard-of drifting hitmen. Make sure to log onto www.ImportTuner.com for complete coverage. www.D1GP.com
Returning to Long Beach, CA's Queen Mary Park for its fourteenth consecutive year, the Toyota Owners' and Restorers' Club (T.O.R.C.) dropped jaws once again with hundreds of the cleanest Toyota/Lexus/Scion rides to showcase not only the dedication of its enthusiasts, but just how damn far-reaching the Toyota family of vehicles is. Flared and outboard-oil-cooled Cressidas sat next to turbo/widebody Scion show-winners; bagged and dubbed LS and GS VIP rides next to vintage RHD Crown and Century reclamations; race-prepped, upgraded twin- and single-turbo converted MKIII and IV Supra street cars next to all-motor ITB'd Hachi, Celica and Starlet road racers. A few OG Land Cruisers prompted double-takes from the Jeep community, and even a slammed, ITB'd '95 Corolla (no, not '85) proved performance can be found in the brand's most unsuspecting platforms.
Most impressive to us were Milton Salamanca's murdered-out SC400, every car in the Autofashion booth, Lamont White and Peter Yap's side-by-side ridiculously clean Hachi Rokus, Kenny3TC's drag Starlet, the 5Axis Design Yaris concept car, and Kirk Hubbard's RHD '74 Century . . . so cool, we're willing to overlook its blasphemous Hemi swap. Click www.ImportTuner.com for the outtakes.
Eibach Honda Meet
Also in its umpteenth year is the nation's premier Honda gathering--again, proving that it's only growing in size. Eibach welcomed owners/enthusiasts of everyone's favorite H- and A-badged vehicles to their Corona, CA, headquarters, to relish in all the sunny, free-pizza-filled and model-laden glory of just how cutting edge the Honda community continues to be. Pick any of these three mods: K-series swap, wire tuck (a la Rywire.com or ChaseBays.com for best results), and fender-flush, high-dollar alloys. If your car was at the Eibach meet and not flossin' one or more, it was probably parked in the next lot over, while your girl was droolin' over Ryan Basseri's CRX, Sheepy's DC 'Teg, any of the Fast Autowerks rides, or Project Car's ground-up CRX reclamation. 2NR's own Project DC2 was in attendance, but was most memorably seen after the meet, pulled over outside the venue by Corona P.D. sting officers, on one count of "being an import". Entrapment! Visit www.ImportTuner.com for details.
Dai's Driving Academy
No, not that Dai. We're talking about Daijiro Inada: front-man of the D1GP and JDM Option. And in case any of you thought this Dai only comes to town for In-N-Out burgers and D1 opening ceremonies, guess again. Not only did Dai himself drive in the Anaheim D1GP, he also rented El Toro airfield in Irvine, CA, the very next day for a come-one, come-all grip/slip instructional track day. With help from Shogun Style Performance (course management), Garage Boso (rental and demo cars), Ross Petty (driving instructor/translator), and Taka Aono (driving instructor/translator), Dai invited any and everyone to learn the tricks of high-performance driving on a drift skid pad, intermediate and advanced drift courses (that offered triple digit speeds, for the brave), a Gymkhana course, and an autocross course. The event also served as an official D1 Underground event, meaning Daijiro was able to select up to four promising U.S. drivers to skip sanctioned D1 drivers' searches, and run D1 Pro qualifying events. Without spoiling any surprises, let's just say the AZ crew (Forrest Wang's bros) led the pack.
Universal Technical Institute invited budding gearheads and their financial guardians to its Rancho Cucamonga, CA, campus for its annual open house, with over 200 slammed, high-horsepower, Kandy-clad examples of how a proper education could be put to use. Although more of a show for the Lowrider and Hot Rod crowd (there is something to be said for a 1,200hp, supercharged big-block engine that weighs more than our entire project Miata . . . even though we'd still kick its ass around a track!), the UTI cause brought out more than enough import/sport compacts to crash the party. Best of all, UTI's guided tours (read: free A/C) were so cool (literally) that we found ourselves strangely attracted to their race-inspired curriculum. Again and again.
By The Numbers
In miles, the length of snow, gravel, tarmac, and dirt that make up the official Rally America competition driving surfaces of the 2009 season.
Tricks Of The Trade
Helping You Wrench
Jelly Donut Anyone?
Building a high performance engine takes skill, knowledge, and the right components to get the job done. If there's one item every engine builder should have in their toolbox, it's engine assembly lube. Unlike motor oils, assembly lube has a thick molasses-like consistency that will adhere to any pre-lubricated engine parts such as bearings, valve train components, pistons, and transmission parts. Running an engine dry during the initial break-in process can cause micro-welding of piston ring-lands, or premature wear of friction surfaces. Merely soaking or dousing your engine components in motor oil prior to assembly will only leave a light coating of protection that can still be easily scuffed or galled beyond repair. Torco MPZ assembly lube is just one of many popular lubes sold over the counter and is advertised as an anti-wear, anti-friction lubricant with a natural attraction to metal. We like that Torco's MPZ lube is soluble in synthetic or petroleum oils, and kept all our internal components well-lubed and protected with its thick, red, jelly-like lubricant when assembling our EJ20 power plant.