Riding in Ryan Tuerck’s Toyota 86 Formula Drift Car was LEGENDARY
Formula Drift 2018 is kicking off in Long Beach this weekend, and you have to see this.
Formula Drift is gearing up for the beginning of it’s 2018 season. The opening event is happening this weekend in Long Beach, California, on Friday, April 6th. In preparation for the event, many teams arrived to Downtown Long Beach early to shake their cars down.
Toyota invited me out to this test day to get a behind the scenes look at what happens in the highest level of drifting in the United States. FD Long Beach takes place a week before the Toyota Long Beach Grand Prix, utilizing part of the GP track as it’s course. Specifically, they use a narrow two-lane stretch of pavement that leads right out to the stunning Shoreline Drive, right off the oceanfront. This particular test day was a blend of FD practice and Grand Prix racers also working out the kinks in their rides. In short, it’s a wonderful blend of noise and horsepower.
Toyota also brought me out to check out their all-new Formula Drift platform, based on the 2019 Toyota Corolla hatchback. Toyota Racing built this brand new FD ride quickly, the street car was only announced weeks ago, but Formula Drift champ Fredric Aasbo looks to have landed one seriously sweet ride.
The 2019 Corolla is a good looking ride, and injects some much needed personality and visual flare. We will have the full report on the new Corolla hatch when it comes out later this year.
Racecar-ifying the Corolla
While the basic platform is handsome, the Formula Drift race car takes those good looks and adds a big dollop of menace. Massive fender flares and customized body work hide a big surprise underneath. Much like the Scion tC and Toyota Corolla iM before it, the 2019 Corolla isn’t going to be much a drift machine with it’s front-wheel drive layout. As such, this little hatchback is now rear-wheel drive, and features a monster under the hood.
You’re looking at a Toyota 2AR inline-four cylinder engine. That 2AR has been brought out to 2.7-liters of displacement and features a massive Borg-Warner EFR turbocharger with twin Tial blow-off valves. And, yes, the wastegate shoots out the hood, and sounds vicious. Even with the bump in displacement that seems like an awfully big turbo, right? Well, worry not: the team at Papadakis Racing who helped prepare the engine also fitted it with nitrous oxide, to improve low-end response from that big turbo. Once it’s fully on boil, this humble Toyota 2AR makes over 1,000 horsepower. Check out the plaque stamped on the front.
Key structural areas received additional seam welding for reinforcement and chassis rigidity. Additionally, the suspension on this Toyota Corolla hatchback is next level engineering. The front coil-over suspension has had it’s upper mounting point relocated for better steering geometry. Those fancy shocks and springs are mated with an experimental steering angle kit. There aren’t exactly many off the shelf options for a normally-front-wheel drive 2019 Corolla out there yet. The solution is as you would expect: extended tie rods, and extended and reinforced control arms, mated into a gorgeous machined-billet steering knuckle.