If you’ve been following the Drift AllStars championship then you will no doubt be aware of Low-Brain Drifters monster of a PS13, affectionately know as “Armageddon”. This visceral cluster bomb powered by a 600HP Corvette LS derived Mosler engine is a brand-new set up for the 2012 season and the wrinkles are still being ironed out. To that end, Low-Brain decided to take the car up to the Northeast Motorfest show held at the Nissan factory in Sunderland. I was invited along for the ride.
Arriving at Low-Brain’s Lydney based workshop at at around midday, the first job was to get the newly fitted Wisefab front suspension set up properly. A local company with a Hawk-eye laser alignment center was called upon and bombarded with various units of measurement for castor, toe, and camber.
With the car set up and everyone happy it was back to the unit to wait for the hire van to arrive.
With all that hard work out of the way, the van arrived and was promptly stuffed full with tyres, tools, merchandise and everything else needed a few days on the road.
Leaving at around 6pm it was going to be a long drive to the Nissan factory in Sunderland (7 hours all told) The saving grace being that we had some eye candy in front of us.
Arriving at the car park set aside for the event long after all the other teams had left for the hotel, we quickly unloaded the show tent and set it up over the car.
With heavy eye lids we headed to the hotel, sank a few beers and turned in for the night. The alarm clocks going off FAR too early for my liking. I clumsily gathered my camera gear together and we headed back to Nissan. With most teams already set up we hastily unloaded the car and set the stand up. The driver, Dan Chapman, was there waiting for us having left London at some ungodly hour and eager to get some more seat time behind the wheel.
The car was constantly surrounded by a throng of aghast on-lookers, more so when the starter motor kicked the incredibly eager V8 into life. The Kinsler ITB’s doing battle with the exhaust to rupture peoples ear drums and make small children run for their mothers.
With the morning disappearing it was time to get the car on track. The Hockey stick shaped course was brilliant for the crowds allowing fast entries and a tight hairpin right in front of the spectators who were atop a bank, allowing them almost stadium style views.
With two runs done, Chapman was headed back to the pits reporting a worsening slipping clutch. James Bull, the chief mechanic, quickly had the car up in the air and bled the clutch to try and get the car back out for rest of the session. Unfortunately the car made it a few meters and refused to go any further. The problem was evidently more serious.
With it still being early in the day, it was decided to get the car up in air and remove the Jericho dog-box to see if the problem could be remedied.
With everyone getting stuck in, the exhaust, prop and gearbox cross member were removed and the gearbox itself was on the floor within 20 minutes. Even after this amount of time the clutch was still too hot to handle. A tea break seemed like a logical next step. When the clutch was finally removed it was quickly apparent there was an issue. The car uses a triple plate clutch pack, this increases the friction area whilst keeping the diameter smaller than a conventional clutch, thus reducing it’s rotational mass. It was later concluded that the pressure plate had failed and wasn’t clamping the clutch plates together with enough force, this resulted in the slipping reported by Chapman. It also created a lot of heat. So much so that the plates had welded themselves together.
All in all, a long weekend and not very long on the track. Big Ju (Team Owner) was quick to put a positive spin on the situation and pointed out that it was better that it happened at a demonstration event rather than at one of the Drift Allstars rounds. A new clutch has already been sent out and fitted ready for Round 3 in Punchestown, Ireland this coming weekend (27th – 29th July 2012) I hope to see you there cheering on all the teams and drivers who are competing this year. I personally can’t wait!
Head over to Low-Brain’s Facebook page to stay updated on the teams progress – CLICK HERE