Walker Wilkerson's 2012 Formula D Ride
By Mike Kojima
In 2011 Walker Wilkerson blasted out of the Pacific Northwest and took the Pro Drifting world by storm. The 21 year old college kid sponsored mainly by his family was able to make his mark as a privateer in the most competitive and hard fought Formula D season in history. With his spectacular reverse entry driving style, Walker clutch kicked his powerful but pipey SR20DET powered S13 through the season.
Walker was perhaps stung the hardest by bad luck drivetrain failures in his rookie year which robbed him of higher positions several times during the season. In the offseason Walker figured that a lot of the driveline failures were due to him always having to clutch kick the 2.2 liter turbo SR20 to keep it in its powerband. Although a large percentage of his fan base loved Walker for sticking to his SR20 and “keeping it real”, Walker knew he would have to change to be more competitive for the 2012 season.
This meant scrapping the SR20 and putting in 427 cubic inches or 7 liters of LS Chevy V8. Although cries of sellout and traitor are starting to well up from the peanut gallery. Walker's true fans are probably glad to see him with more competitive and reliable power.
There are many other changes to Walker's car for 2012 besides the engine that were done for better handling, better repairability and improved maintainability and we will take you through them. Walker will be joining Team Falken for 2012 as a support driver and we should see him with even better results for this year!
|Walker's S13 in its Fatlace livery. His car is pretty low and flush which appeals to many of his fans but it's all 100% functional. BN Sports makes the front and rear bumpers with side skirts.
|For this year Walker's car sports an S14 headlight conversion, a different Seibon carbon hood with more venting and super lightweight Seibon carbon doors. D-Max wide front fenders and rear overfenders allow for 40mm more front and 50mm more rear tire clearance.
|In the back, the large D-max rear wing that the car previously sported is gone. The 326 Power rear window spoiler from last year remains. A Seibon carbon rear trunk lid shaves weight.
|The interior sports a Nardi steering wheel, stock dash with a Stack Motorsports digital display.
|See it and weep JDM fanbois. The SR20DET that previously powered Walker's car has been replaced with a Chevy LS7 much to the dismay of some of his traditional drift car fans. Last year Walker was one of the few drivers that was competitive with a small turbo engine. A lot of the purists continue to hate on American V8 power but for Pro drifting, the LS engine has few peers with its compact size, light weight, reliability and wide powerband. The LS7 is a high tech engine even if it has pushrods. It has all aluminum construction, heads derived from Chevy's ALMS program with super flowing ports and fast burning chambers. It also has titanium rods and intake valves. Walker's LS7 is nearly stock with the exception of Fueled Racing stainless steel headers and a FAST intake manifold. The LS7 actually makes less peak power than the SR20 did but has a way wider powerband and is more reliable than the mega boosted SR could ever dream of being.
|The Fueled Racing headers extract exhaust gas from the big LS7. A Fueled Racing engine swap kit was used to bolt the LS7 right in place. An LS engine fits really well into a Nissan S chassis. The lightweight LS7 is only about 40 lbs more than the SR20DET and lighter than the stock KA24DE. The swap has little effect on the car's weight distribution.