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Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

Staff
Aug 19, 2011

If you were like us, growing up consisted of going fast—whether it was racing your friends downhill on a Tonka toy, skateboard, or BMX bike—and it was done with reckless abandonment. Fast-forward to the present day. Sure, we’re a bit older, questionably wiser, but one thing for sure is that we’re still as passionate about going fast as we were 20 years ago.

Impp 1109 02 o+project import tuner+red bull Photo 2/20   |   Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

When Red Bull announced their second annual Los Angeles Soapbox Race, we quickly sprang into action and submitted our application. Within a week, we received the news we had been patiently awaiting: We were one of 40 teams selected to compete in this year’s race.

Although soapbox racing sounds like a kiddy sport, it has progressed to a whole new level, thanks to events like the Red Bull Soapbox Race. While the underlying goal of this event is to have fun while building the craziest contraptions known to man, competitors have continually pushed the envelope, bringing new and exciting soapbox racers year after year. Representing Import Tuner and the community of sport compact enthusiasts, we had a ton of pressure hanging on our shoulders.

Team Import Tuner

Fabricator

Impp 1109 03 o+project import tuner+fabricator Photo 3/20   |   Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

Gary Castillo, of Design Craft Fabrication, is best known for building a variety of race cars, from drift and time attack to his involvement with the Scion xD rally car. Gary’s creative ingenuity and fabrication skills are an asset to the team. Although, he has a tendency to over-engineer anything he touches—our soapbox included!

Concept Designer

Impp 1109 04 o+project import tuner+concept designer Photo 4/20   |   Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

Troy Sumitomo, of Five Axis in Huntington Beach, is the man when it comes to building concept vehicles, including the infamous Scion xB DJ car and the recently debuted Scion FR-S concept car. Luckily for us, Troy was all too familiar with the Red Bull Soapbox race, as he told us, “I wanted to be part of the Red Bull Soapbox Derby after attending the L.A. event last year. I promised myself I would do this once in my lifetime and the opportunity finally came! Besides, I want to smoke Geoff, my employee competing this year and his Wayne’s World team!”

Suspension Specialist

Impp 1109 05 o+project import tuner+suspension specialist Photo 5/20   |   Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

Philip Chase, the man behind Tein USA, offered his assistance in helping to build our soapbox from the ground up. Phil’s vast knowledge of suspension played a major part in bringing our soapbox to reality.

Driver

Impp 1109 06 o+project import tuner+driver Photo 6/20   |   Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

Just when we had given up finding someone crazy enough to fly down a hill in our creation, Gary came up with the ingenious idea to call Dai. Who better to pilot this engine-less drift car than Formula D competitor Daijiro Yoshihara, fresh-off a First Place podium finish at Round 2 of Formula D at Atlanta. If any individual were qualified to handle this beast, hands down, it would have to be Dai.

With the groundwork laid, we knew the upcoming weeks would be quite busy as we put together this car. Look for recaps in the weeks to come on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/importtunermag, as we divulge our progress, and be sure to check out the next issue as we wrap up our build and bring you exclusive event coverage of our soapbox competing for the win.

Red bull soapbox car competition rules:

Impp 1109 01 o+project import tuner+chassis Photo 7/20   |   Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

    • The craft must be entirely human powered and cannot use any stored energy (no external energy sources). Forget about slingshots, catapults, or anything besides your own burliness and gravity.

    • The craft must have operational brakes, steering, and a horn.

    •The craft must weigh less than 176 pounds (not including the driver).

    •The driver must be at least 18 years old.

    •The craft can be a maximum of 20 feet long by 6 feet wide by 7 feet tall, and no more than 7 inches from the ground.

The concept of our soapbox was to build a shrunken-down version of a real car, similar to a ChoroQ (Japan) or Penny Racer . . . but bigger.

Impp 1109 07 o+project import tuner+penny racer Photo 8/20   |   Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

The initial chassis design, laid down at Design Craft Fabrication.

Impp 1109 08 o+project import tuner+design craft Photo 9/20   |   Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

Summit Racing rod ends, tube inserts, and mild-steel tubing of various sizes, supplied for our chassis.

Impp 1109 09 o+project import tuner+tube inserts Photo 10/20   |   Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

Gary, behind the drill press as he preps the tube end for the chassis. Look at that determined face!

Impp 1109 10 o+project import tuner+drill press Photo 11/20   |   Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

Control arms welded up and ready for fitment.

Impp 1109 11 o+project import tuner+control arms Photo 12/20   |   Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

Our fearless driver, Dai Yoshihara, paying a visit to the shop to spec the chassis according to his body dimensions.

Impp 1109 12 o+project import tuner+driver Photo 13/20   |   Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

The set of Jr. Dragster brake calipers, pads, and a universal master cylinder kit Wilwood sent us for our brake setup.

Impp 1109 13 o+project import tuner+wilwoods Photo 14/20   |   Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

Check out the size of those brake pads!

Impp 1109 14 o+project import tuner+pads Photo 15/20   |   Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

What keeps us working through the late nights.

Impp 1109 15 o+project import tuner+beer Photo 16/20   |   Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

Five Axis shaping the body, using the five-axis mill.

Impp 1109 16 o+project import tuner+five axis mill Photo 17/20   |   Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

The fiberglass mold of the rearend and roofline of the soapbox.

Impp 1109 17 o+project import tuner+fiber glass Photo 18/20   |   Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

Scooter wheels to help propel our soapbox through the competition.

Impp 1109 18 o+project import tuner+scooter wheels Photo 19/20   |   Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

We leave you with a rearview shot of our soapbox shell. Care to take a guess on which vehicle we based our designs?

IMPP_2011_07_RBULL_021 Photo 20/20   |   Red Bull Soapbox Challenge - Project Import Tuner: Part 1

Sources

Summit Racing
Akron, OH
800-230-3030
SummitRacing.com
Red Bull Racing
Santa Monica, CA
http://www.redbullusa.com
Design Craft Fabrication
Westminster, CA 92683
714- 884-6566
http://www.designcraftfab.com
Five Axis
714-842-9677
http://fiveaxis.net
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