The 2022 season of Formula Drift kicked off in Long Beach this past weekend. Ryan Tuerck won the Pro class in his new GR Corolla. He finished just ahead of Matt Field and Odi Bakchis. A lot of usual suspects and their wicked machines were on hand, but there was one car in particular that caught the attention of a lot of folks. Rookie to the series Darren Kelley traveled in from New Zealand and he came packing some street heat with his Aston Martin Vantage and its twin-supercharged V12 engine.
Friend of Hooniverse Kristen Lee has a great write-up on the car over at The Drive. And that’s her fantastic photo up top too, which we are using with permission. Go read her piece to learn a lot more about Kelley and the car as well.
But the basics of it all are that Kelley is a champion-winning drifter in New Zealand who also road races a Vantage GT3. His typical drift cars have been different versions of the Skyline, including the R35 GT-R. But Kelley is bringing something different to the FD field this year in his Vantage. The car started not as a road car converted to drift use but instead as a used GT4 racer, which helped a lot in turning it into a drifter.
You’ve got a platform that’s already caged up and ready to go. It then needed custom work on the steering kit and suspension geometry. And then of course there’s the engine. Instead of a V8, the team is going with an Aston Martin V12. And this one gets a pair of superchargers to up the power, keep that power available quickly on the low end, and of course, make crazy awesome noise. The car is only making around 700 horsepower at the moment. There’s a plan in place to get it up to 1,000 hp or so, however, and it involves a different bottom end to bring displacement to 6.8 liters instead of 5.9-liters.
Darren Kelley and his team have built an exciting and awesome entry for Formula Drift this year. Things didn’t go perfectly at the first event in Long Beach, but the more powerful engine should be ready to rock at the next event in Atlanta. And we hope to see this car sliding and screaming to better results.