Nitto Tire to drift Hollywood Boulevard
As part of its continued effort, Nitto plans to showcase two of its drifting teams at the IZOD IndyCar Pit Stop Challenge’s Drift Car Exhibition. The event will be held this Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 6 p.m. outside the historic Kodak Theater in downtown Los Angeles. The drifting exhibition will be held on the famous Hollywood Boulevard, which will be closed for this special event.
Nitto’s sponsored drivers, Joon Maeng of Bergenholtz Racing and Michael Essa of GSR Autosports, will attend the exhibition and give spectators a taste of what professional drifting entails. Maeng campaigns a Mazda RX-8 that is powered by a custom tri-rotor 20B engine, which was built by Mazdatrix. The engine was fully ported and tuned before being powered by a custom-matched turbocharger. The end result is a 600 whp RWD powerhouse with a rotary engine scream. Essa campaigns a brand-new BMW 335i, which received a major upgrade during the off-season. Replacing the stock in-line six motor is a more powerful V10 powerplant pulled from the BMW M5. The motor was specifically built for drifting and required Essa to reroute piping and parts throughout the engine bay. As a result of the swap, Essa has dubbed his vehicle a BMW 350R.
Both teams will use Nitto’s NT05 max-performance radial. The NT05 was created using advanced computer simulation and extensive on-track testing. The result is a tire that provides precise and responsive handling and performance, which are needed for the grueling demands of drifting. When asked about the tire’s performance in drift Maeng replied, “In drifting it is crucial to have tires that can handle harsh driving conditions. The NT05s provide plenty of traction and predictability.” Essa added, “The Nitto NT05 is a great tire; it’s incredibly consistent and has tons of grip. They give me the confidence to drive the car at the limit, sideways, next to walls.”