Drifting is all about style. Unlike other motorsports where a person is graded on a timed course, drifting is graded through how a driver stands out with his driving abilities through maximizing his speed, angle and driving line. However, drivers also choose to stand out in any way possible, even in the car selection. This was proven by Team Orange leader Nobushige Kumakubo, when he decided to be the first in professional drifting to use an all wheel drive Subaru WRX. When asked why, Kumakubo stated that he wanted to bring more all wheel drive owners to his track back in Japan.
An all-wheel-drive car is a completely different platform than what we are used to seeing, and to properly drift one in it’s awd setting, you would have to grade the car differently than you would others. To prevent all of this confusion, the sanctioning bodies hosting professional drifting events have made regulations limiting the competitions for rear-wheel-drive cars only. So there you have it: the first drift spec, rear-wheel-drive Subaru WRX.
By now it’s clear this car is nothing like any other. And quite honestly you could not even go to the automotive shopping mall to build yourself one of these. There are many other modifications to show that, and almost every single one of them is custom made.. To convert the car to rear wheel drive, a custom bell housing had to be designed to mate it with a custom 6-speed sequential transmission. Even more, a custom driveshaft had to be fabricated to connect the transmission to the rear differential. But that’s not even the best part. Looking closely on both sides of the car you can begin to see openings on the rear doors.
Greater openings can be seen in the trunk of the car. Clearly, one would assume this is some effort at weight savings, but you’d be wrong, very wrong. Those are actually air openings for the car’s, and I kid you not, radiator. Kumakubo explains that it was relocated to the trunk to make a better use of the empty space in the back and free up some of the space in the front. The car was also retrofitted with a set of air-jacks like the Super GT and Formula 1 cars, so the car can be lifted quickly and the tires changed in a more efficient manner.
Building the car
Thanks to JUN Automotive, one of the greatest specialists in the industry, Kumakubo was able to put this whole project together in six months. JUN helped in fabricating all the required pieces to put the car together, also working with Kumakubo to modify the engine to achieve the required power to get the job done. Power figures are undisclosed, but Kumakubo did say that the motor is using a Trust Airinx air filter was used, a JUN TD06 turbine adapter, bolted to a TD06 SH25G turbo, using a E-01 boost controller and Type R wastegate from Trust. All these crazy codename model numbers might sound confusing, but there’s no mistake that this setup gives Kumakubo up to 1.76 bar of boost, or 26lbs of boost.
Also, when converting to rear-wheel-drive, considerations have to be taken into the suspension. And since suspension is the most important component in drifting, Kumakubo went with Kei Office, who custom made a set of coilovers to match his spring rate and dampening specifications, using Swift springs and DG5 dampers. Beyond that, all of the WRX’s suspension components are Cusco, from reinforcement bars, to bushings, to suspension links. The only suspension piece that remains factory is the standard strut tower bar, where the tow hook is located. For wheels and tires, Kumakubo is using Enkei RPF-1s in staggered sides (17x9.5 and 18x10.5) wrapped around with Advan Neova tires, the best Yokohama has to offer.
When it’s all said and done, a picture of Kumakubo’s car can be found in the dictionary under the definition of "unique". After so much work put into the car, it debuts in 2007 with a great start, currently holding second place in the D1 Grand Prix, only a single point shy of first place. Keep your eyes open as this car shows more oversteer madness on pavement than it’s dirt road WRC siblings.