A’PEXi/Nitto Mazda RX7 converted to Right Hand Drive!

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Despite the hardships that occurred at Formula D’s Round 4 event in Las Vegas, Nevada, the A’PEX/Nitto Mazda Drift Team regrouped back at A’PEX Integration with pure intensity. Winners of the Formula D UTI Best Crew award in Englishtown, the A’PEXi/Nitto Drift Team fought back and repaired the Mazda RX7 in even better condition. “We got started right away when we got back. We had done a lot of brainstorming after the heart wrenching crash and formulated a plan to win. Our team wants to win really bad and we’re not going to give up at all costs. All the damage was repaired and improved and on top of that, there are even more upgrades that we did to increase reliability and performance. The team has not had any sleep in the past two weeks but we want that podium” Said Ron Bergenholtz Team Manager of Bergenholtz Racing.

In addition to the repairs, the A’PEXi/Nitto Mazda Drift Team decided to convert the Mazda RX7 to right hand drive. A complete Japanese front clip was purchased. Parts from the clip were implemented into the A’PEXi/Nitto Mazda RX7. “The conversion was quite labor intensive. Ron Bergenholtz must have soldered over 200 wires to accommodate the conversion. Amazingly enough we completed the conversion in five days. The only thing left is all cosmetic. All mechanical work is done. We are so excited because we know this will make Ryuji’s drifting more comfortable. Seattle here we come!” Said Chuck Grifface Assistant car chief to the A’PEX/Nitto Mazda Drift Team.

The A’PEXi/Nitto Drift Team discussed in depth strategies to win after the set-back in Las Vegas. The common conclusion was to make Ryuji Miki more comfortable in the drift. Ryuji Miki championship talented driving in Japan had occurred in vehicles that were right hand drive. The team made the decision to convert the A’PEX/Nitto Mazda RX7 to right hand drive. “We knew we had to do something……….something really drastic. We knew we wanted to win….. and that it would require a major change. So right hand drive was it. I guess extreme winning results require extreme changes. I know this could be the podium finish, if not better…………the win.” Said Masaki Nakayama chief of communications for the A’PEXi/Nitto Drift Team.

Q&A with Super Autobac’s Michihiro Takatori

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Do you enjoy the challenge of Formula DRIFT?
Yes, this year I'm the rookie. I was really excited to test my skills in Formula D
and I'm having a lot of fun this year so far.

What are your goals for Formula DRIFT 2008? Or the years to come?
I believe first impressions are very important and this is my first year to make
an impact in Formula D. Of course my main goal is and always will remain to become
series champion.

How do you enjoy the competition here in US as a Formula DRIFT driver vs 
competing in Japan?
Winning is difficult, regardless of series. If I drive well, I feel I can be
successful no matter where I am.

Second place at Round 02 Atlanta, first time in Atlanta, how does it feel
to join the podium after just the 2nd round?
I was really happy to find success so quickly. After making it to the great 8,
I was already satisfied...I believed the next round would be nothing but
practice...but I took each of the next rounds one at a time and did my best.
I was really surprised to make it that far that fast!

What's your exercise regime over a race weekend? Does it vary according to the race
location, demands of the circuit etc?
Unfortunately I've got nothing impressive going on here. I smoke too much, drink
beer every night, and in a place like Vegas, the only exercise I'm getting is pushing
buttons on the slot machines.

Do you have a lucky charm?
I don't have a lucky charm but the larger and louder the crowd is, the more likely
you are to see some amazing runs from me.

What do you do to stay calm as you're sat on the grid awaiting the formation?
At this point in my Formula D career I'm not worried about small details as much as
I am about just driving. Because I can't speak English, usually the only thing going
through my head is, "I wish I knew what all these people were saying to me!"

On Round 03 (Englishtown Raceway) You went off track while tandem drifting behind
Grunewald, can you tell us what went wrong?
That V8 is fast!! Going into that run I was already down by 2 points so I knew I had
to be right on him to tie or push it to a one more time. Conrad was only going to be
caught on the corners and the straightway in front of the judges stand was what concerned
me. I basically decided to go 150% and not even brake coming out of the first
corner...unfortunately this was too much and the speed and angle took me for an off course rally.

Can you tell us about your ride? ER34 Skyline specs?
Approx. 600hp Tomei 2.8L RB Engine, OS Giken T88 Sequential Transmission, OS Giken
Super Lock Rear Differential, Koyo Radiator, Koyo Intercooler, Kakimoto Titanium Muffler,
Work S1 Meister Wheels, Toyo Proxy Tires

Is there any track that you are looking forward to? Why?
I've never driven any of the tracks other than Irwindale but I'm looking forward to
driving all of them. I like challenging my skills on new tracks.

Who do you think is your biggest competition in Formula D? (Drivers?)
I don't try to make any assumptions about any drivers. Sometimes the least expected
drivers come out an dominate. I think it's best to take the approach of one run at a time.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
I am going to do my best to show this series the extent of my talent and skills.

Team Manager: Roo Arebalo
Team Mechanic: Satoru Kawamura

Blake Fuller Unveils New G35

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Blake Fuller and Braille Battery has recently unveiled his new Infiniti G35 that will be ready for competition by the end of the season according to Fuller. An official press release will be sent out shortly by Fuller and will be posted on the Formula DRIFT website. Stay tuned for more.

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