Drift Cars: Built Like a Tank, 940 WHP, 2JZ-Swapped BMW Aims for Domination!

2JZ BMW E92 20 photos
Photo: Turbo Mafia
If you're considering the idea of building a drift car, there are two different paths you can choose. You can either learn from the people who have already been doing this for years, and opt for a proven solution, or you can choose to walk your own path and build something just the way you've envisioned it. While the second option does have a sort of romantic feel to it, if you're planning on reducing costs and headaches, just go with the first idea.
Now, the two main components one tends to think about when building a drift car are the chassis and the engine. Talking about the engine, most people would agree that either a turbocharged Inline-6 unit or a naturally aspirated V8 would do the job. Sure, the actual make and model of that engine will influence its availability depending on your location.

If you should go for a turbocharged Inline-6 unit, you can either go down the Toyota 2JZ route, and aim for a comfortable and somewhat reliable 600 horsepower package, or you can have a look at BMW's S54 unit, which does need turbocharging for competitive results, but will ultimately prove to be quite capable. But considering the popularity of the 2JZ engine, most people would probably be inclined to go down this road.

The range of V8 engines that are capable for drifting is not to be taken lightly, even though most drivers will be looking at anything with the letters "L" and "S" stamped on the unit. If you're living in Europe, you can just as easily access several kinds of BMW V8 engines, but Mercedes options are also interesting, especially if considering the supercharged ones.

Silvias and Mustangs are some of the more desired chassis in the United States when it comes to drifting, but in Europe you can find a 3 Series bare shell for as low as $1,000. And seeing that the driver of the car we are reviewing today is based in Hungary, Europe, choosing a BMW chassis makes perfect sense. The owner, Robert Petri has been racing for four years now, and for some time has started Turbo Mafia Racing with former European Drift Champion Adam Kerenyi.

Although the BMW E46 could been a very good choice too, it was decided that a newer, E92 would be the starting point instead. The vehicle has been totally rebuilt for the 2020 pro drifting season, and features a stroked, 3.4-liter 2JZ engine, which is more than capable of sending 940 horsepower to the rear wheels, bringing the total power output to about 1,000, if measured at the crank. Having a big Garret GT42 turbo does come in handy.

Believe it or not, before the 2JZ engine, the car first made use of a Mitsubishi Evo stroked 2.2-liter engine. Although not a very popular engine for drift cars, this kind of unit has been used before, by Dakar competitor, and pro drifter, Jakub Przygonski from Poland, on his Toyota Corolla AE86. But back to the BMW at hand, with so much horsepower on tap, a G-Force sequential gearbox was required to make everything click.

If you've got so much power and torque - 885 lb-ft (1,200 Nm), and the gearbox is almost unbreakable, and you've also got a triple plate carbon fiber clutch, that means the next components that have to deal with that power are the ones that will take the hit. Which lead to the use of Driveshaft Shop axles, which are also built in the United States. To further add to the driveability of the vehicle, a Winters Quick Change differential was also used.

So far the highest initiation speed was 100 mph (160 kph) on the Kielce race track in Poland, but given the performances of this vehicle, hitting more than 124 mph (200 kph) at initiation only seems to be a matter of the size of the track. Talking about the downsides of the vehicle, Adam Kerenyi mentioned that "sometimes it's too fast and grippy, so if you have a slower opponent, it can be quite hard to handle".

With 2020 being a difficult year for motorsports, the current plan is to have this car challenging opponents on a continental scale, as it will be taking part in an European series, with the clear aim of having it become the dominant vehicle and driver within the next 2 to 3 years. Considering the people involved in the project - with Adam Kerenyi being one of the most succesful European pro drifters ever - and the huge spec sheet, we think these guys stand a good chance at actually achieving that goal.

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About the author: Dragos Chitulescu
Dragos Chitulescu profile photo

The things Dragos enjoys the most in life are, in no particular order: cars, motorcycles, diecast cars, and drifting. He's seen (and driven) many vehicles since he started his writing career back in 2009, but his garage currently houses a 1991 Mazda RX-7 FC3S Turbo II and a 1999 Suzuki SV650-S.
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