We all have that one friend who loves drifting as much as we do, but does not spend any time actually driving their car; it either lives on jack stands, or it is being upgraded…again. The same friend who always says they will make it to events, so they can ‘be on your door’, but never actually makes it out of the front door of their house.
This seems to be a huge problem, especially in the US (I will touch more on this later): over-building your car for your needs. Now, I get it, trust me. It is awesome to have a 600hp JZ with wild angle…with a crazy over-built cage…with every possible part being brand new. I understand. We all want that ‘race spec’, or in this case, ‘Formula Drift Spec’ car. But is it really necessary? No, not at all.
You have just wasted thousands, probably tens of thousands, of dollars on a car that you are unlikely to use to its full potential. That is not to say you are not a capable driver, but the more you build a car, the more consumable parts it will go through, and the more maintenance it is going to need. And, since you have been living off ramen and pop tarts for the last two months, you will not have any spare funds to fix it. So, why bother? Why not just build something within your means, and leave some funds for parts in case something happens? Oh right, saving money for a rainy day is stupid. /sarcasm
Well, congratulations, now you have a $20k paperweight sitting in your garage, and you are still missing events. Meanwhile, your buddy, with his stock SR S-chassis on basic coilovers, extended LCAs, modded knuckles, and a two-way LSD, is out putting in lap after lap and developing critical skills as a driver. That is everyone’s goal, right? To be a better driver? Yes? So stop over-building!
You will learn far more from a basic car than you ever will crab-walking into the first corner with your Wisefab angle kit and stomping the gas pedal through the floor mid-corner. Sorry if I hit a sore spot for some people…well, actually, I am not sorry at all. There is nothing worse than wheeling a pretty standard car and coming up on a big-entry corner, with 20mph more entry speed, and being jammed up by a higher power car that is just waiting to bury the throttle MID-corner. Excuse me, sir, but I need some entry speed to drift INTO the corner, so could you please get out of my way? Thanks. (I’m sure this would involve a lot harsher words in the moment).
This all became too clear after a trip, or two, to Japan; a place where the drivers use the bare minimum to get things done. Heaps of stock SRs being wheeled around better than most can only hope to drive. It was inspiring, and eye-opening, to say the least. It really makes you step back and wonder why you have just spent so much money ‘developing a car’ when these guys are driving so hard with just basic street cars, and even thrown together practice cars, in some cases. It really shows you how unnecessary it is to dump thousands and thousands into a car you haven’t even driven yet, just to get bored with it and part it out, or sell it, because you cannot simply enjoy it.
Seat time is too crucial, and developing yourself, as a driver, should always be the main goal. Of course, make your car your own: fancy kit, nice wheels, whatever you choose, but do not let that sacrifice your driving time. Now, this article is not for everyone, and I understand that. To some, having a nicely-styled car is more important than driving as much as possible. To some, spending all their time and money building a garage queen is what they’re after.
Cool! I get that, and it is you guys who make the community so diverse. But, do not complain when you have no money, or time, to drive. Do not complain when your car is down because you just finished putting it together the night before or have not had a shakedown day to work out all the kinks. Shit happens, and the chance of your insane build working 100% right the first time out on track is pretty slim. Be prepared to be sitting on the sidelines, watching your friends enjoy lap after lap in their basic “street” cars.
As always, do what makes you happy, and do not listen to a damn thing anyone else says. Whatever you want to do is what you should do, because it is what you want! So, if wasting money is your thing, go over-build that car! If developing your skills as a driver is what you are after, then keep it simple, stupid. 🙂
Take care, guys!