For many young enthusiasts who dream of sliding sideways while converting rear tires into dancing plumes of smoke, the idea of joining the ranks of a professional drift series may seem utterly unattainable. How and where do you even get started? Do you have the means, patience and passion it takes to build a competitive car and develop your skills behind the wheel? Are you willing to eat nothing but noodle soup so you can afford to roast countless sets of tires? And the list goes on. So much so, in fact, that if you look at these questions all at once it would be pretty easy to be overwhelmed and give up before you even started.
For Dave Briggs, a 23-year-old from Toronto, his drift dreams started when he got hooked on Option and Best Motoring videos as well as the countless drifting videos online. His obsession with drifting grew deep enough that in 2005 he made his first trip to the "House of Drift," Irwindale Speedway, to watch the D1 madness up close and personal. Whether it was the smell of the tire smoke, the sound of the highly tuned engines bouncing off their rev limiters or the sight of the world's best professional drifters sliding past in a type of orchestrated violence, Briggs was officially hooked for life.
After watching from the sidelines for a few more years, Briggs decided it was time to get in the game and live his dream. He bought an S14 Nissan 240SX because it seemed like the best "starter" platform for drifting and proceeded to build it the only way he knew how. "I put it together more or less by looking at pictures of D1 cars, looking at the stickers for parts ideas and then going to those companies' websites and ordering what I thought looked best." Once the car was built, Briggs began renting track time so that he could start applying all the drifting techniques he'd been studying online. Later that same year, the Drift Mania Canadian Championship (Canada's FormulaD) held a drivers search and as Briggs put it, "I had a good day, managed to string together a couple really good runs and the next thing I knew DMCC was giving me my pro license!"
At the end of his first DMCC season in 2008, Briggs cracked the Top 16 a couple times and was developing quickly as a driver, but he knew that he'd need a pro-quality car to move up the ranks in 2009. That's when he bought this mint-condition '95 Nissan 240SX with just 40,000 original kilometers on it, completely gutted it and sent it to O'Brien Motorsports for a chromoly rollcage and front tube chassis. From there, it went to SG-Motorsport and the expert hands of Sasha Anis and crew. As a Canadian Touring Car GT Class champion who competed in an S14, Sasha and his team at SG know all about building professional-quality race cars. In fact, Briggs enlisted SG to build his dream drift machine because he was so impressed by Sasha's attention to detail when doing a wheel alignment on his "starter" car at the end of the '08 season. "Sasha literally went over every inch of the car pointing out where things could be fixed or improved, and that's when I knew this was the guy I wanted to build the new one."
According to Sasha, "Rather than building a regular 240 drift car like everybody else has, we wanted to build a really gangster race car that'll stand out from the rest. We're talking top-shelf build quality and race car-style aero and tuning." Arriving at the shop as a rolling chassis with a cage in it, Sasha and his crew at SG installed a fresh Mazworx big-bore SR20DET stuffed full of go-fast goodness, including Tomei 280 cams and forged internals designed to allow 8500 rpm while producing 465 ponies at 20 lbs of boost on the U2Ndyno.com DynaPack. But the real beauty is its broad powerband, allowing Briggs to make full use of the short gearing in the bulletproof 300ZX transmission and 4.3 final drive.
Big power and a bad-ass Vertex widebody kit wrapped in camo-theme vinyl is certainly a great start, but where the Briggs S14 build really separates itself from the S-chassis drift crowd is in the attention to detail in less obvious areas like the custom fuel, electrical and hydraulic systems SG-Motorsport's engineered. Crawl under the rear of Briggs' 240 and you'll spot the fuel swirl pot tucked in neatly next to the ATL fuel cell. The team likes to run with as little fuel in the cell as possible to keep the car light and agile, so the swirl pot system is kept full by the fuel return system, providing the necessary juice to protect against fuel starvation and the engine killing detonation that can come with it.
The electrical and wiring system is equally impressive, with 45 lbs of OEM wiring being completely removed from the chassis and replaced with a 6-lb Painless system that included a fusebox and all the lead wiring. SG then customized the harness by removing some circuits and adding others, building a dash switch panel for it, and integrating the three Chase cams and AiM digital dash. Deutsch DT connectors were used throughout, and the entire harness was wrapped in Raychem heat-shrink.
Other examples of clever engineering abound on the Briggs S14. There's a reversed electronic line lock on the main brake channel that allows Briggs to flip a switch on the dash panel and lock out the rear brake signal so that he can easily do standing burn outs to get the DMCC crowds revved up. The intercooler was custom built by SG so that it's tucked back closer to the engine bay, reducing the likelihood of it being destroyed during a hit to the front end. Similarly, the oil and power steering coolers are mounted on collapsing brackets so that they're less likely to be damaged in a collision. And, of course, the suspension features spherical bearings throughout, along with MA-Motorsports front knuckles and steering arms that allow for some serious steering angle.
The proof, as they say, is in the pudding, and Briggs' results are beginning to prove the potential of his awesome S14. He's cracked the Top 8 during both of the previous two DMCC events with a career best seventh overall finish at Riverside Speedway, and with his hometown event at Downview Park in Toronto up next he's stoked by the possibility of making his first podium appearance. "The car just does what I want it to. It's beautiful. Power is there when you need it and the steering angle is phenomenal." With new sponsors Fast Wheels and Falken Tire on board for the rest of the season, things are definitely looking up for this rising northern star who hopes to find a ride with a FormulaD team in the future, all because he was willing to take the plunge and live the dream rather than sitting by the sidelines and watching others live theirs.
SR20DET 2-liter turbocharged inline-4
Mazworx sleeved 90mm block, 0.5" head stud kit, and polished/balanced crankshaft; Darton sleeves, CP Racing 9:1 pistons, Manley Turbo Tuff rods, Calico bearings, ARP mains, Power Enterprise head gasket, Supertech dual valvesprings, Ti retainers, +1mm valves, and valve guides; Tomei 280 camshafts, solid pivot lifters, and exhaust cam gear; Garrett GT3071R T3 turbo, Peak Boost turbo manifold, TiAL 38mm wastegate, SG-Motorsport intercooler and piping, screamer pipe, custom stainless exhaust system, custom oil and water lines, fuel swirl pot, -6 AN fuel and brake lines, custom oil and power steering cooler systems, heater core block off, and custom wiring system; ATL fuel cell, Weldon 600A fuel pump, SARD fpr and 850cc fuel injectors; GReddy pulleys, oil pan, and intake manifold; ATI Super Damper, Stance oil block adapter, Koyo radiator, SPAL rad fans, Samco rad hoses, Odyssey PC680 battery
ViPEC V44 stand-alone ECU
300ZX Mazworx transmission conversion and steel driveshaft; SG modified shifter bracket, Exedy Hyper Single clutch and flywheel, ATS 2-way Deft Force LSD
Wheels, Tires and Brakes
Fast Wheels Mistral 17x9" (f) and 18x9.5" (r) wheels, Falken RT615 245/45ZR17 (f) and 275/40ZR18 (r) tires, K-Sport BBK (f/r), SG-Motorsport braided brake lines, CNC rear hydro staging e-brake, electronic rear channel line lock, Wilwood proportioning valve
DG-5 coilovers, Cusco rear toe rods, camber rods, traction rods, and sway bars; SPL solid subframe bushings and front outer tie rod w/ bumpsteer spacers; Tein inner tie rods and front TC rods; MA-Motorsport front modified steering knuckles and boxed front lower control arms
Vertex widebody aero, wide fenders, front bumper, side skirts, rear over fenders, rear bumper, taillights and headlights; Seibon carbon hood and trunk; Voltex GT Type-3 rear wing
O'Brien Motorsports chromoly rollcage, Bride Zeta III driver and passenger seats, Takata 6-point harnesses, KEY!S Racing steering wheel, Nismo shift knob, AIM MXL dash, SG-Motorsport carbon switch panel w/ MIL-spec switches, Lifeline electronic fire suppressant system, three onboard Chase cam video systems
465 whp, 8500-rpm rev limit, 2,350-lb dry weight
Fast Wheels, Falken Tire, VERTEX USA, SG-Motorsport, U2NDyno.com, Vibrant Performance, SPL Parts, Brightside Coatings, Extreme Wheel & Tire