Forrest Wang's Get Nuts Lab! Nissan Silvia S15 Drift Car

by Mike Kojima

If you are a fan of drifting, then you know all about Forrest Wang, who is renowned for his spectacular high angle and smoky driving style. His car builds have a lot of style as well and we have been trying to catch up with him for a year to be able to capture one of his masterpieces in a story. 

The basis of Forrest's competition is a Japanese Model Nissan Silvia S15.  The S15 was never imported into the USA due to some boneheads in Nissan USA's product planning department not thinking that it was a viable car for our Market.  If you have ever driven an S15 you would know what a great car it was.  In fact all S chassis cars had great potential that was neutered out of them when they were imported into the USA by questionable choices like the installation of truck engines and such, but that's a different rant for a different day.

The S15 is a great looking and handling car but it's 2 liter SR20DET engine has no where near enough power for todays world of pro drifting even when modified to the limit. This was all resolved when Forrest's Get Nuts Lab got there hands on the car to transform it into the potent machine shown here.


We have always been enamored with the craftsmanship of Get Nuts Labs builds.  The builds are not just well executed technically but show a great taste in esthetics, blending form and function seamlessly. You can see the seam welding of the chassis unibody mixed with the tube chassis elements reinforced with beautiful dimple die plates finished with Forrest's signature green paint. 

The first order of business was to rip out the 2000cc SR20DET engine and replace it with a heavily modified Toyota 2JZ-GTE inline six cylinder.  The engine is no ordinary 2JZ. Displacing 3.4 liters up from the stock 3 liters it can produce more than 900 hp, easily equaling many of its V8 rivals.


The 2JZ's bottom end is fortified with a Brian Crower billet stroker crank and connecting rods.  CP pistons hold the considerable combustion pressure at bay. The crank and rods spin on Clevite tri metal bearings. The factory oil pump is maintained with Brian Crower billet gears.  The oil pump housing is ported on the suction side to reduce cavitation. Surprisingly the stock OEM Toyota head gasket is used. ARP fasteners are used exclusively throughout the engine. 

An RMR billet 90mm throttle body feeds the big plenum intake manifold. Get Nuts Labs crew chief Garret Nikolich also knows how to pet the engine and talk to it nicely which is credited for a lot of its reliability.


The Brian Crower stuffed 2JZ is fed by a Garrett GTX4294R Turbocharger.  The turbo features advanced GTX aero for great efficiency and a ball bearing center section for long life and fast response.  A huge V-band 1.08 AR exhaust housing is used.  This turbo is capable of producing over 1000 hp on this engine although the team does not push it that hard in competition. 
Boost pressure is controlled by a huge Tial 60mm external wastegate with an independent discharge pipe. Since drift cars are subject to brutal abuse and a ton of heat soak as they sit idling for long periods of time after a run while judges decide battle outcomes, the Turbo and downpipe are thermal wrapped to hold down temperatures in the engine bay. 

Many parts and lines in the engine bay including the entire firewall are protected from heat by gold kapton insulating film, the same stuff used on spacecraft.  Forrest Wang is not just a highly skilled driver but a gifted fabricator as well and he fabricated the 4" stainless tubing downpipe himself.

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Monday, April 25, 2016 12:02 AM
I'd say the tubs are closed so no debris destroys the engine by cutting/ jamming the very exposed timing belt ... I have a hard time understanding that trend.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, April 25, 2016 12:18 AM
It is so much easier to work on the suspension when it's all open. I can reach in and adjust the caster, toe or the shocks super fast and easy. Easier to fix in an accident as well. A few years ago, tubs were in fashion but no one runs them any more.
Yoshi Jeffery
Yoshi Jefferylink
Monday, April 25, 2016 4:21 AM
Mike, I was reading an article you wrote some 5 or so years ago advocating starting around 7 degrees of caster. It seems like drift cars now a days run less in order to keep contact patch at high angles. Forest looks like he is running less caster with the wisefab kit. Is this something you've changed your mind on or was it merely for beginners as a starting point? I'm also curious as to how trail has been modified. I'm not familiar with how that even works on cars.
Mike Driskell
Mike Driskelllink
Monday, April 25, 2016 8:21 AM
How are most FD cars setup as far as brake bias goes. I notice Forrest has (what seems like) a reservoir for the front and rear brakes. Do most cars run a stronger brake bias in the front (like 60% front and 40% rear)? I know late model dirt track cars usually have an adjustment in cabin for brake bias and generally run more towards the rear brakes.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, April 25, 2016 10:08 AM
Yoshi Jeffery- As a huge generalization, angle has increased caster has decreased, Ackerman has decreased, KPI has remained about the same or less and trail has increased. We do this to avoid big camber changes, to reduce corner weight jacking, to reduce front lift, to reduce stress on the power steering and to reduce a sticking moment in the steering. We give up some natural feel and live with some increased understeer on turn in for better handling at angle and the ability to run more angle.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, April 25, 2016 10:13 AM
Mike Driskell- It is common practice for most pro drift cars to run dual master cylinders with a balance bar to positively control brake bias, usually the foot brake has a front bias like most cars.
Monday, April 25, 2016 7:52 PM
Looks like the harness bar is too high for the holes in the seatback, no?
Monday, April 25, 2016 8:13 PM
It seems to me that the challenge of drift car suspension is related more to the driver than typical motorsport engineering theory allows. It seems hard for me to quantify what exactly makes a 'good' drift setup, unless the driver is telling you its good or bad. So, as an engineer, I find drifting to be a challenging environment in a very different context as compared to typical motorsport racing.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, April 25, 2016 10:55 PM
Data logging and lacking that radar speed and segment times help.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016 2:06 AM
Hi Mike. Increasing the rear polar moment should increase the 'dumbbell' effect and make the car more controllable, correct? Similar to what a tight-rope walker does by using a pole to balance himself.

I've seen some production cars with big metal/rubber mass dampers in the trunk, I assume used to quell some NVH. I wonder if such mass dampers would help a drift car?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, April 26, 2016 8:57 PM
Our driver doesn't like how a high PMI car feels.
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