2008 Scion TC

The World Premier Of A Drift Scion

writer: Carter Jung
photographer: Aaron Powell

Ever since I’ve known Ben Chong, he’s been into cars. To call him an enthusiast would be like calling Jessica Simpson a blonde–a severe understatement. Like a handful of us lucky enough to transition a hobby into a career, Ben started with RS-R in 2002. Now the director of business development, Ben has taken development seriously for the past five years.

Before Formula D and D1 ever smoked up the now infamous Irwindale Speedway, RS-R was the first to hold a drift competition on the infield with D1 judge Orido. In July 2003, 2NR featured their D1 exhibition 350Z on our cover. More recently, Ben helped develop and run the S2000 Formula D drift program–launching Alex Pfeiffer and Tyler McQuarrie into the spotlight. Now Ben and RS-R are back in drifting with a whole new car, the Scion tC; 2NR got the inside scoop on what it took to make it happen.

From the mouth of Ben Chong:
To get a car to drift is not as hard as some people may say it is. Some basic modifications, hours of seat time, and a whole lot of tires will get you on your way to smoking sideways in no time. Of course, today your daily driven street drifter wouldn’t cut it in the professional circuit. The ante, as they say, has gone up. Professional drifters battle ferociously and are always on the lookout for that extra edge.

After four massive years into Formula D, the roster of seeded and un-seeded cars is diverse: from Toyota Corollas to Dodge Vipers, and Nissan 240SXs to Ford Mustangs, domestics and imports now compete at a professional level. But a few years back, not all of these makes made for the typical drift car. One example of a ride that seemed unorthodox at the time was our RS-R Honda S2000. This was a vehicle that upon its very conception was something that everyone thought would fail on its quest to become a competitive vehicle. But here at RS-R we took this roadster and modified it to not only break traction, but to maintain a slide in any given direction, have the ability to change its line and angle at will, and also equipped it with sufficient horsepower-to-weight ratio to work the competition. What most said could not be done, was done.

After pulling out of Formula D in 2007, all seemed quiet. Many wondered where the first Honda that competed professionally went. Well now it’s 2008, a new season of Formula Drift is upon us, and RS-R is back with a completely new ride. When RS-R premiered the S2000, it gave Honda fans something to cheer for at drifting events. Now, after two long years in the making, RS-R will give a new generation of fans a new drum to march to: the Scion tC.

“Naturally, the first question that pops into your mind is, `Hold up, this is a front-wheel-drive car, how can it compete in Formula D?’ With a little research, we found out that the tC shares its chassis origins from an all-wheel-drive vehicle not sold in the U.S. But it wasn’t as easy as swapping in a sub frame, engine and transmission, and splitting the transfer case to power the rear wheels. If the S2000 was a difficult build, the tC was exponentially more complicated.

“A simple solution would have been to remove the front output shafts, diverting all the power to the rear wheels, but that can only handle so much energy before breakage. The stock transfer case wouldn’t handle the power levels we needed to be competitive. Plus, we saw it as an opportunity for RS-R to showcase our experience and knowledge of making a non-driftable car drift.


~ by bestbooter on March 27, 2009.

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