Driver Profiles: Taka Aono


4. Competition Related 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?

V8 make it easier to drive,  less to make mistake.  Cost wise?  A winning V8 is not cheap.  LSX? LS7?  LS-3?  Initial cost plus labor or Fab is about $8-20K.  Modding engine to make a reliable 600hp and reving all day 6500-7000rpm cost $5K to 15K.  Nascar V8 engine? Motec? G-force transmission? Quick change rear end?  How many of these V8 wining engine never had an issue?  There is a lot of reliability issue with engine than we know.  Over heating V8 with S-chassis is a common problem for everybody,  but make it so easy to drive.

Ryan Kado
While he does acknowledge the advantages of the V8, you will probably never see Taka Aono in a V8 powered car, even if it was a Toyota V8!
  • 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?

Something has to be done. It has to be a combination of Weight / tire size / power. Some of my friends were saying that we should use more like treadwear 300 or more, and limit number of tires per event like 10 tires for the whole weekend.

  •  What are some of the ways you keep up, considering you’re in a 4-cylinder and you’re facing off against V6s and V8s? How do you keep a close tandem versus those bigger cars and engines?

I use whatever I got.  I use the clutch techniques (hard kick, soft kick, soft slip, hard slip, and so on) a lot.  Use of foot brake, E-bake for weight transfer and wheel speed control.


  • Do you think the small wheelbase of the AE86 can give you an advantage in certain tracks? Does it have a disadvantage anywhere?

It is more like torque is the issue with the AE86 than wheelbase.  It is a balance between wheelbase and width of the car that decides the difficulty of the car.

Flying 86


  • Does it worry you that some of these new cars coming out are twice the size of the AE86? How about their weight, if another car impacts you, do you feel safe in the AE86?

Not really.

Taka Tandem
Despite the size of a lot of the V8 powered field, Taka is not worried about the difference in size or weight!
  • What is the fastest entry speed that you have recorded in your Corolla?

As far as I know, I played at the El Toro marine base 2 years ago and initiated a drift at 120mph.

Taka Aono


  • Who was the best tandem you have ever run with? (Doesn’t even have to be current or with FD)

Hiro Sumida, Alex Pfieffer, John Russakoff, Yasu Kondo, Yoshie Shuyama, Cyrus Martinez. These are the people were we can tandem and have fun together.


  • Who is responsible for keeping your car going? Are you doing everything yourself or do you have anyone else that helps?


Taka Aono Self-Work
Even after the backing of Nexen Tire and Megan Racing, Taka Aono still turns his own wrenches!


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