Nerd's Eye View-a Look Inside Darren McNamara's Falken Tire Nissan S14
By Mike Kojima
Falken Tire's drift team consists of Justin Pawlak, Dai Yoshihara and Darren “DMac” McNamara. Hailing from Ireland Darren has been doing well this Formula D season in a Nissan S14 built by Scott Dodgion of SPD Motorsports. Darren had a tough 2012 season which started off badly with a hard crash at the season opening round at Long Beach, breaking his foot and totaling his beloved Saturn Sky which had been his trademark car for several years. Nicknamed the Bullet, the Sky had the reputation of being one of the fastest cars in Formula D.
When there was no time to build another car, Darren moved to the Nissan 350Z vacated by Tyler McQuarrie at the end of the 2011 season. The Z was not competitive and suffered from handling issues so Darren once again moved cars to Falken's old S15 demo car. The car was given a hasty once over from SPD and rushed into service. Although the car handled well, it simply did not have enough power to be competitive.
After the problematic 2012 season Falken decided to give Darren a fresh start with an all new S14 constructed from the ground up by SPD Motorsports. SPD, the builder of Dai Yoshihara's 2011 championship winning S13 is probably the constructor of some of the most advanced S chassis cars competing anywhere. A lot of MotoIQ readers build S chassis cars so we thought you might want to take a close look inside this very competitive machine.
Although it is a V8 and a Chevy, it is not an LS engine. Darren's motor is a 410 cubic inch Sprint Car engine that is roughly based on the venerable small block Chevy, well it sort of is. The block is not a Chevy part but cast by Dart, a maker of race Chevy based blocks and cylinder heads. The Dart block has a high cam location to clear a longer stroke, and allowing for shorter, lighter and stiffer pushrods. This is a feature of the NASCAR SB2 race engines. The block is made of aluminum alloy with iron liners. Amazingly the SBC is a much smaller and compact engine compared to the LS which has the rep for being a small and compact V8! If you are used to modern DOHC import V8's, the engine looks positively tiny. It is also 40 lbs less than the LS engine! Long live the Chevy small block in its latest incarnations!
The 410 motor is fueled by Kinsler ITB's. These are beautiful, sound amazing and give exceptional bottom end torque and throttle response. The carbon fiber airbox is a K&N part.
This view shows just how small the SBC is. An LS fills the area in between the shock towers nicely. With the 410 SBC motor you can see there is plenty of room to spare, more than with an LS.
A Daily Engineering five stage dry sump pump is incorporated to the billet CNC machined oil pan. The oil pan is partitioned to reduce windage losses and also serves to stiffen the bottom end of the engine as the SBC is a shallow skirt block, not a deep skirt block like most modern motors. The block only extends to the main cap parting line. The thick billet pan encloses this open area and give the base of the block more structural integrity.
The billet pan and the dry sump also give plenty of clearance allowing the engine to be set lower in the chassis to reduce the CG height. Formula D rules allow for only slight modification of the front crossmemeber so this is helpful.