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Oct 10

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Drift What Ya Brung At Santa Pod Raceway

So more and more recently I’ve been thinking of doing a few drift what ya brung days, especially since my old Volvo is more or less to where I want it to be now, I’ve got the wheels- plenty of them, the suspensions all done and I generally feel very comfortable in the car now.

Funny how things work out, I had the opportunity to go to one with a friend recently; the bonus is that this friend happened to compete in the British Drift Championship last year for Launch motorsport. He actually did really well in a drift prepped four door Skyline, and ended up third overall.

This is a little overlook at that day.

We went to a “drift what ya brung” at Santa pod raceway, Santa pod is quite far from Swindon so it was an early start! An early night for me and lots of coffee next morning! I was so worried about not getting up on time, I was actually up extra early…Thought I might as well have a fry up since I had some time to kill and a lonnng day ahead!

There was a couple of us going down and we trailered one of the cars just in case something would have happened to either of the cars on the day. It seemed like quite a long drive down but the route down was nice and varied with lots of A-roads and B-roads so it didn’t seem that monotonous.

s13 drift car
The last stop before Santa pod was to get some of shell’s finest opti-max fuel in the cars for the day ahead.

S14a Ryo Drift Car
To be honest I didn’t know what to expect of the day, but when we finally arrived I was surprised at how many people were there-which wasn’t that many! A few more came later on in the day but this was nice because we could go out as much as we wanted pretty much.

The first task was stacking up the days tires, which to be fair, was a slightly ridiculous amount! We had tires in the back of the truck, tires in the passenger’s seat behind us in the truck and then some more in the back of tom’s s13, in other words we were pretty well sorted!.

Santa Pod Drift What Ya BrungThe next step was the driver’s briefing which was nice and simple, and basically a short-course on common sense, the tag line being “don’t be twats”. But he explained all the tracks for the day, and how people would be about for help and guidance.

The layout was simple and covered every aspect of drifting and car control. From the basic controlled donuts, to learning transitions on figure 8 style setups and a proper drift track as well, this is where we spent most of the day. I don’t remember exactly what it was but the proper drift track was based on one of the EDC tracks or BDC tracks, so it was a good combination of high speed corners and very technical tight bits. This really helped to show the characteristics and capabilities of of the car.

Nissan 200sx S13Before the first session I had a wonderful nervousness and feeling of butterflies in my stomach, I knew it was going to be epic but still wasn’t expecting quite what was to come!
First time we just took a stroll round to get an idea of the course and layout, this way tom could go balls out drifting on the next lap. It was a steady course with a very high speed right which allowed you to flick the car to the left for a nice massive slide into a tight left hander which then went round a small section of s corners before sweeping back round to the start again. A very tidy course indeed.


Mazda Mx5 Mk1First session out then consisted of a rapid acceleration through first and second gear, quickly heading into third for the high speed right to left, the problem with third was the car kept going off boost and bogging down, there wasn’t enough torque in the engine  to counter it and second gear was a bit too short, but lots of work with the handbrake and clutch cured this problem.

The S section though was perfect and the modifications tom had done to the steering lock really shined through, the angles we were taking through the S curves were ridiculous, we were literally looking out of each others side windows and occasionally the rear window to get a glance at what’s to come. Tom’s skill was incredible, he was very smooth and the transitions between the corners were perfect; add to that the ridiculous angle and smoke and it was a site to behold.

If you’ve been sideways in a car before there’s a point where you know you can’t recover from the angle of the slide and you sort of accept the fact you’re going to spin, I know what this is in mine and I’ve got so used to it, I never let it happen. But this is why tom’s car was so brilliant because he’d get it beyond that “spin point” im used to and then just hold it there…while still flat on the throttle, the car was set up perfectly, no other way to describe it.

Slide Motorsport R33 SkylinesSlide Motorsport Demo CarsSlide Motorsport

The sound of the engine on the limiter, crackling and popping and tires screaming under the stress  while looking out of the side windows, was nothing short of intoxicating; add to that the smoke from the tires filling the cabin, it wouldn’t surprise me if we were getting slightly high!

Tom was probably one of the fastest people out on the track that day, but something that I couldn’t get used to was how bumpy santa pod is! As the car was going flat out sideways on that flat out left hander the back was just bouncing from bump to bump, this definitely added to alot of the drama and experience but it can’t of been too good on the car! The banging was also louder than the car on the limiter with whaling tires!.

Slide Motorsport Mazda RX7 Drift CarSurprisingly one of the big problems on the day though was how amazing the weather was, while it was perfect drift conditions and very sunny, it got to a point where the car was getting so hot, we could only go out for a couple of laps at a time. And the amount of oil the s13 was burning through was also pretty stupendous, but this is where another part of the drift day shines through altogether.

Everyone there was so helpful and friendly, you could just ask for something and you’d usually get it! It’s a good community of people sharing a passion, so you could happily talk to everyone and anyone and learn something new straightaway, people are also happy to share their techniques and knowledge of drifting so much so, that i reckon you could take a complete newbie to about 5-10 drift days down there and they’d be on the main track keeping up with the others by the tenth.

I also believe it’s just the very nature of the sport that brings out the good in people, it’s not competitive, power isn’t an issue, its an extreme sport which you do for the adrenaline rush more than anything, so everyone has lots of good stories and times to share. It also brings out some incredibly unique cars and ideas.

Toyota Tourer Chaser Drift CarNissan Silvia S15 Spec R Aero Drift CarOne car that really had everyone’s attention that day was an old skool escort, it was a bit battered, a bit rusty and still had all the escort 1.3l badges on it….under the bonnet though was a cosworths engine running on throttle bodies..absolute beast! The smoke pouring off the back of this car was nothing short of impressive!

Ford escort mk1 1 Cosworth engine conversionCosworth engine throttle bodiesOverall, it was a fantastic day, being able to get a passenger ride pretty much all day was also pretty damn lush, but you could easily just go to watch it all and have a good time. I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in the sport or anyone that just loves seeing cars getting ragged and pushed to their limits!

Slide Motorsport Mazda RX-7

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Drift What Ya Brung At Santa Pod Raceway

Onboard footage drift practice at Santa Pod

Permanent link to this article: http://carsandcoolstuff.com/2011/10/drift-what-ya-brung-at-santa-pod-raceway/

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  1. JZX100 JDM Toyota Chaser 1jz-GTE Drift And Fast Road Car | Cars And Cool Stuff-Japanese Performance Cars, Drifting And Touge In The UK....And Other Cool Stuff Of Course!

    […] this be sure to check out the owners previous Nissan 180sx Sil-80 and check out the previous Drift What Ya Brung event. It’s surprising to see how similar it is to when I first went there a few years ago […]

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