Seremban, Malaysia – The first of it’s kind, a random trailer car park turns into a make shift drift circuit with the help of hundreds of cones! Drifting is by far one of the more popular growing motorsport in Singapore. Being in the South East Asian region, we have a massive influx of Japanese cars, straight from the Land of the Rising Sun itself. However, I cannot write an article about the Singapore drift scene without first explaining the Certificate of Entitlement (COE). Google it and you will be dumbfounded. I guarantee you.
Singapore is 5 times the size of the state of Rhode Island, with 5 times as many people. So we are basically 5 million people squeezed onto an island that is 18 miles from North to South, and 31 miles from East to West. As such, the Singaporean government discourages the use of private transport, by implementing the COE, which has two extreme effects, 1. Any car bought brand new, rolled out of the showroom floor has 10 years to live! After which, you have to renew the COE again! 2. The COE starts at SGD$77,201 or USD$60,744 for a car with an engine capacity under 1,600CC (Refer to latest COE bidding results) The COE isn’t a price tag you just pay once every 10 years. It is a closed bidding system that closes fortnightly!
As such, with land scarcity and expensive road car prices, Singaporean drifters turn to our neighboring country, Malaysia and track cars available there. Seremban is a new location for the drifters. It is a 3 hour drive away from Singapore. It was also a sweltering 35 degrees Celsius, or 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Being right at the equator, we do get 365 days of Summer. However, the heat just destroys tyres instantly! One pair of tyres literally last a couple of laps. On top of that, engine overheating issues were constantly plaguing the cars!
This is Harold Chau changing his wheels. It might seem to be a common thing in most drift events. With land being so scarce, no one really has the space, tools, and time to learn how to work on cars. As such, most cars at the event are towed straight from the shop on a flat bed and with a rented pit crew! When the tyres are done shredding, pull it into the tents and a bunch of Malaysian mechanics will scurry to change the wheels for you!
A random chunk of tyre that flew and hit me on my leg! It felt like someone tossed a beer bottle at me! The burning temperatures naturally destroyed the tyres! It was a game of who had the most tyres to go through that day. Some did not bring enough tyres and had to ration their runs!
The drivers meeting with everyone who could not wait to jump into their cars to whip it sideways!
Geoveen Hi, one of the organizers of the event, explaining to the drivers where the outside clipping zones were and not to forget that everyone was here to have a ton of fun!
First one out on the track was Jason Kwong. This is the second time I have seen him out there and he has improved tremendously, linking every corner and dori’ing it as much as his 280hp SR20DET track car could. He believes in a reliable engine approach, running his setup at just 0.8bar. He tries to keep his car as stock as possible.
In reality, the last drift event that I was at, everyone had engine problems except for him. He recounted to me that he felt it was because the others had a lot more engine work done. Yes, they push out a lot more power, but it could result in more downtime when mechanical problems arise. His motto was to go out and have a ball of time. He is not aiming to get into Formula Drift Asia.
Next we had Drift Ninja (Dninja) Heng, at the wheel of Smith Foo’s S15. With a Wisefab angle kit, it has the most angle of the lot of track cars.
Don’t let the white haired Dninja fool you. He is a veteran when it comes to this sport. He was giving us kiddos a lesson on how drifting should be done! I have not met this super energetic driver since I left for the US 3 years ago, and nothing has changed. He is still just as energetic to jump into a Silvia and bang it off the rev-limiter. I bet everyone wishes their daddy was this cool!
Smith himself was going all out, flicking the car sideways. Gotta love his custom overfenders!
Winston Ang, a member of Team West Lake tyres, recently replaced his SR20DET with a VH45DE. Drifting with a V8 is not a common sight when we have plentiful cars that came with stock with SR20DETs and many other 4-6 cylinder Japanese engines. The V8 engine was definitely a relatively new sound to hear with the rest of the cars roaring down the event in SR20s, RBs, 1JZs and 2JZs.
He was having overheating issues, and so like many other racecars, he took the bonnet off and kept at it! I managed to catch a ride in his car before he quickly ran out of tyres! He’s had several steering issues in the past, and this was actually the first time he could take the car to the limit.
(Winston definitely had a blast and I look forward to see what he has planned for this car in the future!
Add Winston on facebook to get more updates on him and his green monster at https://www.facebook.com/petrolheadsg
Sya Hir, a relatively newer kid on the block, was having power steering issues and the pump was pretty much on its way out. He managed to stoke it out and still had an awesome time whipping his SR20DET powered 200sx. I cannot wait till he drops in a CA18DET with forged internals that is going to be a lot tougher and powerful than his current stock SR20DET.
Sya Hir and his buddy Fique Zainudin showing us how happy they are shredding tyres!
Do not let the looks of this S14 fool you. It’s got pretty much full interior, it even has working AC! It’s Harold Chau’s daily driver. He drives all around Singapore in this Silvia and whips it sideways on weekends like today. All in one machine. Freshly rebuilt 3,000km ago, it has a ton oomph to keep it going and going and going! He definitely did not anticipate that one set of tyres could only last a couple of laps.
The extreme heat was taking a toll on the tyres. I had the chance to ride with him, and boy oh boy! His leather interior, the door panel was burning as I put my hands on it to close the door. Next thing I knew, my buttocks were cooking from his stock leather seat. Ouchie! I was not expecting that. Stock leather seats are definitely a rare find in the US, but not here in Singapore where cars are so expensive.
This is the part where I’d go “DAT ASS!”
Harold smirking and hoping his tyres could last one more lap before exploding!
Andre Goh, who strongly believes in hooning it on a day like this, was killing tyres with his 400hp SR20DET. With better airflow from the Tomei Pon cams and upgraded turbo, he is known as our very own Singaporean Hoonigan.
He even spray painted the definition of “Hoonigan” on his door!
Side by side, we have Winston Ang’s and Andre Goh’s S15 Silvias.
Oh yes! That iconic Silvia S15 rear end belongs to Jo Goh. A completely stock S15 turned track car.
Jo asked me to take a picture of him and his car, and you have no idea how many times he kept changing his poses and I had to retake the shot from different directions. I was like, Wow! It’s so much easier to take pictures of cars going sideways at high speeds than it is to take a picture of a man and a stationary car.
Jo and his buddy Bryan Liu took turns taking his 11 year old girl sideways. They struggled to keep a completely stock Silvia sideways through the outside clipping points, but they still managed to deplete their entire stock pile of tyres! Good job guys.
Other than melting in the sun for 6 hours, it was a great turnout and everyone had extensive seat time to drift and get better at their lines. Truly outstanding performance from everyone. Singapore has yet to start it’s own drift events for the year, and many are turning to Thailand or Japan to satisfy their desire to throw a car sideways though the corners! I do hope that in the future, Singapore will have our own place in our own country to have fun like we do in other countries.
Thank you to all the organizers of the event who have made this event possible. Big shot out to WESTLAKE TYRES for their continuous support for amateur drifting in Singapore and Malaysia.