Last seen at Formula Drift Singapore 2010, Singaporean Jansen Tan is back with a bang this season as he aims to take part in the entire Formula Drift Asia 2012 season with his newly-built V8-powered Nissan Silvia S15. A first in Singapore and Malaysia, the Falken Tires-Stamford Tyres S15 V8 did not put up too good a performance at the opening round in Malaysia. It has been a challenging comeback experience for the newlywed so far, but Jansen is eager to go at it again when the Series comes to Singapore later this month…
Q: Why did you stop participating in Formula Drift for so long? What have you been up to since?
A: Drifting has always been a part of my life ever since I got my driving licence. However, for the past few years, work commitments and marriage preparations have kept me busy. I was also channeling funds to building my new machine, the Nissan Silvia S15 with a V8 engine, instead. Now that I am happily married and the car is ready, it’s time to drift again!
Q: Will you be taking part in all rounds of the Formula Drift Asia series?
A: Previously, I could only participate in the Singapore leg of the Formula Drift Asia series due to my hectic work schedule and the huge financial commitment required for competing overseas. Now that my new car is ready and I have saved up some money for this, I am ready to participate in as many competitions possible.
Q: Tell us more about your V8-powered S15.
A: It took me a mighty long time to prepare the V8 Silvia. As no cars in Singapore and Malaysia are running this engine, it has been a real challenge sourcing for parts and information to get the project going. Fitting the engine is the easy bit, but getting it work with the rest of the parts was a real headache. It also didn’t help that the engine was designed mainly for left-hand drive cars, so the engine could not clear most of the right-hand drive components in my Silvia. However, thanks to Chester, my mechanic from Applied Performance, he was able to work his magic and make everything fit in accordance to Formula Drift rules.
Q: How did the debut of your V8-powered S15 at Formula Drift Malaysia go?
A: Prior to Formula Drift Malaysia 2012, we only had 2 testing sessions in Singapore at private drift clinics. Both times I experienced major overheating issues with the car. For Formula Drift Malaysia, I had to air freight many different parts and fit them into the car, but I didn’t get a chance to test because we had to ship the car out to make it for the technical inspection on Friday. Thankfully our gamble paid off and the car wasn’t overheating anymore.
Unfortunately, during my first qualifying run, my power steering pump failed! I had to do my second qualifying run without power steering and managed to scrape through! Driving without the pump is very difficult but I’m glad I got through that. A huge thank you to Malaysian drifter Ivan Lau for lending us his workshop space and staying with us till 3am in the morning so Chester could modify a Toyota power steering to work with an American engine! What a great friend and competitor Ivan is! Then during my Top 32 tandem battle with Saranon of Thailand, I basically messed up – lack of seat time and competition experience really showed up this time. Much more room for improvement as a driver!
Q: Since the last you competed in Formula Drift in 2010, how different is it now?
A: The game has really moved on since I last competed. The cars are becoming much more powerful and drivers are getting better. There is plenty of room for improvement on my end, both in terms of car power and driver skills. I am just grateful that Stamford Tyres (Falken Tires) are still backing me even though I have not been competitive for so long.
Q: Will you be participating for all four rounds of Formula Drift Asia this year?
A: So long as my schedule permits, I will compete in all rounds.
Q: How are you preparing for Formula Drift Singapore where home is?
A: Having taken the car competitively at Formula Drift Malaysia, we are going to make quite a number of changes to the setup of my car and hopefully it will work. Our only testing opportunity will be the Westlake Tyres drift clinic on 17 June, hopefully everything works out then!
Q: How is the comeback experience so far?
A: On the whole, I feel good to be back in the competition and surprisingly I am enjoying every bit of it, even though I got slaughtered by Saranon at Formula Drift Malaysia. To me, it is about me and my car now. I am focused on setting up the car to my liking and adapting to the various conditions as a driver. I am trying to get my fundamentals right first… looking forward to Formula Drift Singapore!
Q: What do you look forward to most on your comeback to Formula Drift?
A: I am looking forward to having a great time and learning along the way. I take it like a shakedown session to get back into the groove!