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Keep Drifting Serious: ProAm Competitor Andrew Attalla

by Rathyna Gomer

 

The editorial series, Keep Drifting Serious is intended to shine some light on what it takes to build a competitive drift car (some of you may have read the first Keep Drifting Serious article featuring Vaughn Gittin Jr. a little while ago). 

If you've been following Formula Drift (FD) for the last few years, I'm sure you've made note of how quickly the cars have been evolving. The competitiveness has trickled down into many ProAm series as well. Nowadays, ProAm cars are what FD cars used to be 8+ years ago. 

So as we continue looking at what it takes to build a professional drift car, we take a look inside ProAm driver, Andrew Attalla and his LS1 E46:

 

Andrew at DAI Driving Academy in 2009.

What introduced you to drifting?

I was asked to work an event back in 09. They didn’t give me much information- just that it was a driving academy and that they needed people to help coordinate the event. The event was known as DAI Driving Academy. It featured both grip and drift driving and hundreds of people would show up. Back then I didn’t even know what drifting was, people still called going around a corner sideways, fishtailing. So when I was working at the event and I saw a huge cloud of smoke, I thought a car had caught on fire. I then went over to take a look, and it was Mr. Ross Petty in his S15 back when it was still SR powered, smoking tires like I have never seen before. I instantly fell in love! In fact, my first ever ride along was with the one and only Hiro Sumida in his 1j powered Cressida. I was so scared, I swear I thought we were going to flip as he put the car in fourth and threw it completely sideways at nearly 100mph; it was the best feeling I had ever experienced. These events took place at El Toro in Irvine, CA, which is an abandoned airport, and if you were lucky enough to drive here you know exactly how amazing that place was. It was drifting nirvana, but unfortunately, they no longer allow drifters there due to a few incidents that happened a while back.

 

The E46 definitely showcases professionalism, even on the ProAm level. Many ProAm series have now required vehicles to have all body panels intact and one color for competition, in an attempt to raise the professionalism of the sport. It appears to be working!

How long have you been drifting?

So, I wanted to begin drifting as soon as I got home from the track event in '09, but my parents weren’t having it. So, it went on the back burner for a few years, until I bought my 240sx in 2011 from the sweetest old lady in Woodland Hills, California. She said that she had parked it for 2 years because she was getting too old to drive stick. It was a black 1990 S13 hatch, original 5-speed car and she was the original owner. As we left, she said take care of my baby. Little did she know that I bought it for the soul purpose of making it into a drift car. If she saw the car now, I promise she would have a heart attack. I slowly built the car up and drifted it for about 3 years until it caught on fire in early 2014, but that’s a story for another time…

Why did you choose the E46 chassis?

Well the E46 body style was, is and always be one of my favorite body styles of all time. After my 240 caught on fire, I was planning on rebuilding it and throwing an LS in it like everyone else. Two weeks later, I had an LS in my garage that was supposed to end up in the 240, but I came across an '01 BMW 330ci that had a blown motor, and I knew that this was the opportunity to step into a newer, better platform. Before I went to go look at the car, I stopped by Essa Autosport and talked with Mike getting his take on whole idea. Keep in mind that he had just won the 2013 FD championship, so I knew he was the best person to ask. After picking his brain a little I looked over and saw his car sitting there and it looked amazing. After staring at it for a few minutes I knew that I had to build an E46, and boy I am I glad that I did. I don’t regret it for a second, so thank you Mike Essa!

 

The E46 has a 5.7L mostly stock LS1, making around 410 whp, has Brian Tooley 660 lift titanium dual valve springs, and Isky Racing cams with 233 duration, 595 lift intake, 243 duration, and 610 lift exhaust with split lope separation + advanced timing. Also keeping the engine safe is a Canton Accusump.
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Comments
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Haplink
Sunday, April 16, 2017 10:54 AM
I am surprised at his comment that he wants to be a "professional racecar driver". It seems to me that he has chosen the wrong venue for that goal. In road racing, you want to find the limit of adhesion of the tires and exceed it only slightly and very rarely. Once you get the tire sliding you're just going slower for several very obvious reasons. Finding the limit and keeping the car at it but not over it are totally different skills than smoking the crap out of the tires and driving with a ton of opposite lock. Not saying there's no skill in drifting, for sure there is but he should really look into autocross or Time Attack as stepping stones to road racing.
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