Written by Christian Niezgoda ( @kaizokuchristian )
Drift Week has become a huge name and part of drifting in North America, but some folks are still learning what it is. Drift Week is a cross-state adventure where you street drive your drift car to multiple tracks and then drift those tracks. For Drift Week 7, there were nine track days. You are not allowed a trailer or support vehicle once the adventure has started. You are, however, allowed to trailer to the first track and home from the last track. We opted to street drive the entire trip.
A group of friends and I built a 1997 BMW M3 for the trip in a matter of weeks. The build was full of parts I felt were necessary to make the car reliable enough to do nine track days and over 4000 miles of street driving.
One of the most important things to having a reliable car is keeping all the fluids maintained and sealed up, such as engine oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid and coolant/water. While thinking of what this car would need to be ready for the trip, I immediately thought of Chase Bays. I knew I needed reliable and high-quality products to manage my fluids and make it through this trip. These products included:
• Chase Bays Dual Piston Brake Booster Delete
• Chase Bays Power Steering Kit with Cooler
• Chase Bays Raised Inline Filler Neck (to delete that pesky expansion tank)
• Chase Bays Clutch Line
• Chase Bays Handbrake
• Chase Bays Handbrake Brake Line Kit
• Chase Bays Coolant Overflow
• Chase Bays Windshield Washer Reservoir
• Chase Bays Engine Oil Cooler
• Chase Bays Oil Catch Can
All of these products were super straightforward to install, which was great given our timeline of three weeks to complete the car and hit the road.
Our Drift Week trip started in Boise, Idaho, with our first destination being Tucson, Arizona. After two successful days at Musselman Honda Circuit, we headed to Southern California. There, we had five total track days at three different tracks. The last leg took us to Tooele, Utah, for the final two track days at Utah Motorsports Campus. Then, it was time to return home. Sounds simple enough, right?
Well, you can prep a car as much as possible, but that is a lot of driving and track days piled up next to each other. As anticipated, my fluid systems were flawless, and the brakes were insanely consistent on the track and the thousands of miles spent street driving. I could hardly remember what the boosted setup felt like because I loved the manual brakes so much. The power steering system stayed cool and consistent while pushing the car to its limits.
Thanks to the Chase Bays Oil Cooler, the engine oil temperature was easily managed throughout the trip. Removing that troublesome BMW expansion tank was helpful. We remedied this by using the Chase Bays Upper Water Neck and welding it to the thermostat housing. Then we installed the overflow tank for the venting side of the system. We still were struck with a challenge as the 225k mile head gasket decided it had finally had enough. The compression ring between cylinders 5 and 6 had failed and caused a misfire.
This is where another aspect of Drift Week came into play—community. We were in an Airbnb with some great folks, including Kevin and Ryan from Canada. We hardly knew them before the trip, but this adventure was not only track days and drifting but meeting new friends and building awesome relationships with those people through drifting! We hitched a ride with them and gathered all the parts to perform a head gasket repair in the garage of our Victorville Airbnb. We saw some amazing places such as Pelican Parts, Hoonigan, and Moon Eyes. Ultimately, we fixed the car. We missed a few track days due to it, but we were back at it before long.
Another thing that helped this repair be so much simpler was the simplicity of the Chase Bays parts we had installed. The Motorsport Dual Piston Manual Brake made pulling the intake manifold a breeze since the brake booster was no longer there. The cooling system was nice and simple since the expansion tank was now gone. So many aspects of the engine bay had been simplified thanks to the Chase Bays products, which made working in the bay much easier.
Once we completed the Southern California tracks, we headed up north to Utah. There, we hit a bunch of snow on the final track days. The brakes shined here as they worked just as well in the frigid cold as in the warmer southern weather (we missed the California snow track day). I could control the car consistently with left foot braking thanks to the easy-to-manage manual brakes provided by the DBBE. I could throw big entries in the wet and use the foot brake to slow the car without just locking up the brakes or jabbing them as inconsistently as you can with a vacuum-assisted brake setup.
In conclusion, we built an amazing car that was an absolute joy to drive, even with some really old high-mile bones. The parts from Chase Bays helped keep the car cool and consistent throughout the entire 4000+ road miles and 7 track days. Not a bad way to spend a week, if I do say so myself.