Like we said, AEM built this car to showcase their products, and that’s exactly what its done. This 350Z rocks AEM’s best, including a universal AEM EMS, an AEM fuel-pressure regulator, and an AEM Gauge-type UEGO controller (wideband O2 sensor). The EMS works in conjunction with a set of six APS/Bosch 500cc/min fuel injectors, an AEM adjustable fuel-pressure regulator, and a tank full of 110 octane fuel to make sure the engine gets enough gas to match the massive quantities of air the Garrett huffers blow into the VQ’s stock intake manifold. AEM’s contributions to the Nissan’s electronics didn’t stop there, though. The car rocks an AIM dash that communicates with the AEM ECU, and an AEM Serial Datastream Gauge. Pretty sweet, huh? We think so.
The 350’s stock transmission has held up to the torture of 450 hp and the rigors of drifting so far, with only mods to the drivetrain being the addition of an ACT 6-puck, single-plate clutch, a lightened OEM flywheel and a Nismo 1.5-way clutch-type LSD. The workhorse clutch and strong LSD have proven their ability to get those horses to the ground without any fanfare. Good news for boosted 350Z owners who like to abuse their toys.
A race car with gobs of horsepower and fitted with a good drivetrain is useless without a good suspension. This holds true even to racing in a straight line (check out the suspension on a full-blown drag car), and is even more important in drifting. The 350Z’s OEM suspension setup is good enough for a daily driver, but this racecar needed a little more. In search of the perfectly balanced Z, AEM fitted theirs with what they dubbed the “AEM Racing/Tokico” suspension kit. Up front, the bastard suspension consists of Tokico dampers/springs and JIC tie-rod ends, while out back, the same spring/damper combo was used. Stillen adjustable anti-roll bars were added front and back to keep the car flat and stable while sliding across the racetrack.
Brakes are important, too. If you doubt that, try driving your car down a steep mountain road without using the brakes or downshifting. AEM didn’t need us to tell them that, though. They must have gotten the memo, because they went ahead and made a few mods to the stock brakes to help keep the car out of the tire wall. The OEM braking system was good enough that with the addition of Axxis brake pads and Motul fluid, the braking system was deemed sufficient. And if you think you see a linelock on the brake lines, you are correct. Now pat yourself on the back. We guess Foust likes to do big, smokey burnouts.
Good brakes may be able to help Foust avoid any stationary objects, but collisions are inevitable, and Foust is no stranger to crashing. As a teenager, he rolled his Honda Civic end-over-end seven times. So it’s no surprise he wears a ton of safety gear. In addition to the three-layer fire suit, fire-resistant nomex socks, shoes, gloves and helmet he wears, the 350Z has its own accessories to keep the driver in one piece. A rollcage, fire suppression and countless other pieces of safety equipment are requisite items on a racecar. The rollcage was custom-built by Steen Chassis, and Foust can now strap himself tightly into his Sparco seat and harness. Safety first!
With the interior and drivetrain finished, AEM got to work on the exterior. The bodywork was tackled by MOB Works in Orange, Calif. MOB installed the front Seibon fenders, Versus body kit, Seibon hatch, Rotora wing, custom MOB Works rear fenders and covered the whole shebang in Lambo yellow in less than 3 weeks. Not bad, considering we’ve waited longer at the DMV. Finally, AEM picked a set of Motegi Touge wheels to fill out the fenderwells of the Z, measuring 18×9 up front and 18×10 in the rear. Shod in 235/40/18 and 285/40/18 Toyo T1-R rubber, the 350 is sitting pretty.
Teaching people to drive on ice may be an uncommon way to learn to drive race cars, but as we can see by Foust’s huge success in drifting, rally, and stunt-driving, it may be one of the best ways to learn. Expect to see Foust behind the wheel of this killer machine in the winner’s circle at a drift event near you