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Build blog: Darren Kelly’s R35 drifter, part three

24 June 2016

Like any big build, it’s never going to be as easy as one would hope. Hold ups, delays with parts, or simply deciding on where to mount a particular component can soak up days, weeks, and even months. But when a deadline has been set, there is a special kind of fire that gets lit, and progress happens one way or another. Darren Kelly has set a deadline — one very close — and the build has been clicked into high gear.

Since we last caught up, the R35 has made the trip across town to TTT Auto Engineering, where Tim and Dan will complete the fab work needed to get the R35 on track. The roll cage needed finishing, the seats mounting, the Woodward steering column modified, the rack shifted, the engine mounts built … just to name a few jobs on TTT’s list. 

As with any race car, driver comfort and safety is paramount. Darren is a rather tall fellow, so — having such a large space to play with — the OMP FIA containment seat has been set as far back as possible. Getting the Woodward column and Wilwood swing-mount pedal box to sit in the correct spots was somewhat of a headache.  

The result is something that Darren should find to be super comfortable and, above all else, safe. As the car is more than likely to be used in overseas events, there have been a few more rule books other than the Demon Energy D1NZ Schedule DA to consider. Tim and Dan have mounted the seats on two roll-cage bars, as per FD rules. As the car will run an FRP roof, there is also an extra cross in the roof. 

Here is the side shot of the side intrusion, which serves a dual purpose. One purpose is maximum protection to the driver, because, as we all know, in drifting the door is regularly hit, and the last thing you want is another car landing on your lap. The second plus is that it gives Darren’s long arms room for swinging on the back of the OMP steering wheel.

The decision has been made to run a rear-mounted radiator to aid in keeping the RB cooler, a bit of weight distribution, and also — in the event of a frontal — the car will be easier to repair inside that small five-minute window that the teams are often forced to work within. Running a rear mount is a complicated exercise — getting fresh air streams into the cooler is a challenge, especially with a car that is sitting sideways for most of its power runs. 

The boys think that they have a solid solution, and have shoehorned in the biggest Fenix radiator that they could fit between the struts.

Here you can see the high-spec masking tape mock-up design for the Lexan rear window / intake. If you follow professional drifting you will have noted many rear-mount rad cars have added small ducts at the rear of the opening to force air in, as this part of the car is typically a low-pressure zone, so the air needs a little help to pass through, and not just bounce over the top. 

The 10.5-inch Winter Quick change has arrived from the USA and is bolted in. The unit comes complete from Sikky, so it’s been one of the easier jobs to tick off the list. 

Darren has also decided on wheels for the R35, settling on 18-inch Work Meister S1s. 

I will leave you all with a photo of the lock that the TDP gives the R35. There really is no other word to describe this other than insane.