Formula Drift has some pretty insane competition cars, with high level builds all over the place. After watching the Formula D New Jersey event, I was pretty shocked when I saw Scion Racing driver Fredric Aasbo win top honors, standing atop the podium with a First Place trophy. The first time I ever saw Aasbo driving at Formula Drift, my honest impression had me thinking, “he drives a Scion tC. Isn’t a tC supposed to be a front wheel drive car?! That thing wasn’t even designed with drifting in mind! How the hell did he manage to compete in Formula D against other top drivers with six figure drift car builds… and he was driving a Scion tC?!”
I guess it all boils down to the strength of the engineering team behind the build. As a new member of the MotorMavens Crew, there were many people in the Formula Drift paddock that I had seen before, but never officially met. When I was first introduced to Stephan Papadakis, the builder of the RWD Scion tC in question, I found myself in the company of an import industry legend, with a long history in motorsports. This dude has been featured in magazines since I was a kid. As the myth of Vin Diesel’s character in the Fast & Furious being based of Stephan lingered in my head, we started shooting. From his street racing background, he developed himself into full blown racing engineer, not to mention record breaking drag times, Papa is the epitome of being a Motor Maven.
It was definitely fun to meet up with Steph at his shop so we could check out the crazy rear wheel drive converted tC he built. Check out the video below!
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the answer is money. exploiting a loophole to make that turd RWD and thus capable of running a drift series is no big deal if you’re the face of a massive corporate effort to promote a completely lackluster product like the tC. Toyota needs to promote their corolla coupe and the Scion branding means that it has to appeal to the type of people who like FD (the same type of people who think pro wrestling is real) and wear flat billed caps and treat Speedhunters like a pinnacle of motorsport coverage and auto journalism.
the justification (simplified for Scion fans) is something along the lines of the Corolla that the tC is based on comes with an optional AWD in Japan, which somehow means that it’s acceptable to drive the rear wheels of said tC here in an American drift series… whatever slim margin of reasonableness that explanation may have held was completely tossed out the window when you consider that the RWD tC in this case was pretty much built with a completely different drivetrain (right down to the layout) and stuffed under the Scion shell. The marketing interests behind the tC (Toyota and EA cum Speedhunters to name a couple) must have had an awful lot of cash to be able to bribe the organizers into allowing the car to run in the series.
but just you try to run a solid rear axle from the same model year Cressida wagon in your sedan – they will DQ that shit before you touch tire to tarmac.