FIGHT ON, SC – Building Formula D Driver Robbie Nishida's Bridges Racing Achilles Tire Lexus, Part 1
By Bob Hernandez
Entering its ninth season, the competitive ranks of the Formula DRIFT pro series are pretty top heavy when it comes to talent, and we're not just talking about the rock stars in the driver's seat. Many accomplished fabricators, engine builders, and all manner of car constructor have gravitated to the sport as it's grown in popularity. A team lines up the right elements – that is, an adaptable ace driver in a well-built, well-prepared car under savvy team management – and they put themselves in a favorable position to nab podiums, victories, even championships.
|Alex Pfeifer in his SC goes against Matt Powers at the Ken Block Gymkhana Grid Invitational in December, 2010 at Irwindale Speedway.|
|Takahiro Ueno's Toyota Soarer in practice at D1 GP USA Anaheim in 2009.|
This is not to suggest we have any idea where Bridges Racing is going in 2012 with its potentially explosive mix of talent. Bryan Bridges' team in years past fielded entries piloted by lethal Japanese hot-shoes Michihiro Takatori and Robbie Nishida, and the raw ingredients for 2012 – backed largely by Indonesian tire company Achilles – set our imaginations blazing: a three-car team featuring 2008 D1 Grand Prix champion Daigo Saito in a 2JZ-powered JDM Lexus SC 430, Nishida in a right hand drive-converted U.S.-spec Lexus SC 300, also with 2JZ power, and Emmanuel Adwitya “Dio” Amandio in the Nissan 350Z that once carried Chris Forsberg to the championship in 2009 (some may recall the Indonesian driver ran the Z33 in the last two FD rounds of 2011).
|Clean slate: gutted, stripped, and sans paint, seam sealer and sound deadening, the chassis is easier to work on but will need some supplemental rigidity.|
We're especially piqued by the J drivers' preference for two generations of a rarely-used Lexus. There are SC drift cars around, sure, we just don't see that many; Alex Pfeiffer pilots one (in gymkhana as well), so too does D1 GP's Takahiro Ueno (though we believe they call the car a “Soarer” in Japan). Nishida reportedly loves the first-generation chassis (1992-2000), a car that from the factory came with an optional three liter inline-six 2JZ-GE, rocked nearly 106 inches of
wheelbase, and weighed in at just over 3,500 pounds.
|The weight game is just as important in drifting as it is in other forms of motorsport, and wherever it made sense Design Craft cut away unnecessary sheet metal, like these panels beneath the rear quarter glass.|