4. Competition Questions
– Why do you think there is a jump to V8s? Is it really as simple as the car becomes easier to drift, or costs, or do you think it’s something else?
I think the basis of American car culture and hot rodding is based around V8s. It’s amazing and great that drifting crossed and brought together the import industry and American hotrod culture. I think it’s the progression and blending of different racing backgrounds. As far as easier or cheaper… I don’t really think so. If you look at any of the top cars there is a ton of race engineering and tuning going on. Performance costs no matter what you start with so start and build what you are into. I love Mazda Rotaries so that’s my weapon of choice.
|Sorry, Mike, after overhearing him talk to a fan, Kyle Mohan does not think an LS7 will fit in a RX-8!|
– Do you think a that something has to be put in place besides tires to level the playing field? (Like Weight Restrictions, Power Restrictions, Engine Modification Restrictions, etc.) Or, do you feel like the “run what you brung” status of Formula Drift is perfect?
I love being able to run whatever I can dream up so I don’t think it needs to change. The new tire rule seems to keep power, weight and traction all relative so I am happy with how that has worked out.
– What got you into Rotary powered Mazdas? What advantage is there to a Rotary when compared to another “simple” engine, the LS-series GM V8s?
Rotaries have a lot higher RPM band available to them. My Mazdatrix 13B makes good power from 4000rpm to 10,000RPM. It may not have the same torque off the line but a rotary on boost is an amazing thing. It is also a very lightweight engine and we can achieve a near perfect weight balance in our RX-8.
|Kyle Mohan, Rotary Expert. Quick, Kyle, I tore it apart and don’t know how to put it back together!|
– What are some of the ways you keep up, considering you’re in a 2-rotor 13B-REW Wankel and you’re facing off against V6s and V8s? How do you keep a close tandem versus those bigger cars and engines?
With the help of Mazdatrix, Turbonetics, and Haltech we are running some serious boost. Around 28psi and 500hp depending on the track. But we are also making very good torque numbers, pay close attention to our gearing, and have worked very hard on the responsiveness of the engine which is key for tandem competition.
– Is the RX-8 a difficult chassis to drift versus the RX-7? If you’ve had a chance to run the RX-8 in a Time Attack or track day, how does it compare to the RX-7?
The RX-8 is really an amazing car, I’ve had the opportunity to drift and race stock and modified RX-8s and I really feel they make a great performance chassis. It’s not the same light weight coupe as the RX-7, but it was a definitely step up from our FC RX-7 that I used in Formula Drift.
|Time Attack in a Drift Car, Kyle Mohan can do quite a bit with any Rotary Powered car!|
– Who are some of the competitors you look forward to facing?
Fredric Aasbo, he’s a great driver to tandem against, flat out all the time, always having a good time and in a good mood. He and I competed together in the Ultimate Drifting demo at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this year and went OMT, it was really fun!
|Fredric Aasbo and Kyle Mohan at the Ultimate Drifting demo.|
– Who was the best tandem you’re ever run with? (Doesn’t even have to be current or with FD)
Rhys Millen, twice this year (Palm Beach and Seattle) they were both great battles. Seattle was great I ended up having a gearbox problem but up to that point it was a fantastic run. He’s the master, and you always learn something from competing against guys like him.
|Rhys Millen showing Kyle why he’s called “Mad Skills!”|
– Who is responsible for keeping your car going? Do you have to work on the RX-8 at any point?
I do all the engine work and a lot of the maintenance. I’ve got a great group of friends and co workers that help me out a bunch as well, both on and off the track. TJ Hanrihar engineers the car, Kenny Edwards, Royce Mohler, Mark Tora, Ash Nair, Smokey, and my dad Joe Mohan also do a lot of work to keep our RX-8 going. Dave Lemon and John Kelper at Mazdatrix help out a lot as well.
– How much influence is your dad while at the track or drift event?
He’s my Dad he’s always looking out for me. He’s been my biggest supporter from the very beginning. As the team has grown from just he and I to having a crew and sponsors, we’ve developed our own way of operating at the events that has more of a structure, but he is still always there to help out.
|Joe Mohan and your official Drift Corespondent, Justin Banner!|