Chapter 40: Tokyo Drift X
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“4WD racecars rarely have oversteer problems, but to drift around corners with rear-wheel drive, you’ll have to upgrade the suspension system of the front and rear axle. At the same time, you have to calculate the factors that help maintain trackability when turning in,” informed Takeda Tetsuya as he blew a cloud of smoke from the passenger seat.
“This problem can be easily solved—you just need to adjust the spring and the damping coefficient. Soften the rear suspension, reduce the compression rate of the shock absorber’s damping force, increase the ductility, reduce the rigidity of the rear anti-roll bar, and perhaps, even increase the rear track width. Official competitions typically have rear track width restrictions, but underground tournaments are not particular about that.
“Also, if you notice any turbulence after the configuration, you can consider increasing the rake angle of the spoiler. Doing that will increase downforce on the rear of the vehicle. Of course, that will mean sacrificing your top speed. All things considered, there is no such thing as the perfect racecar; tuning a racecar is finding the right balance between performance parameters…”
Zhang Heng committed everything to memory as he drove in silence, and as slowly as he could so that they would only arrive at Tsukiji Market ten minutes later.
Once the L300 pulled up in front of the seafood market, Takeda Tetsuya’s mouth clamped shut instinctively. This guy was really sticking to their agreement—not saying another word as he pushed the door open and exited the van.
He took two steps forward and then halted abruptly. He turned around and said, “Come earlier this Sunday.”
Zhang Heng stared after the man quizzically for a moment, and then it dawned on him—he might have triggered a new storyline as he just received a new update 4 seconds ago that his driving skills had gone from level 0 to level 1. At the same time, after a month of learning, he even attained another skill—car tuning and maintenance (level 0).
So, on the third night, after his taking a stroll around Shinjuku with Ameko, Zhang Heng took the bus to the seafood store, three hours earlier than usual. When Takeda Tetsuya saw him coming, he turned around and locked the door behind him and then tossed the key to Zhang Heng. “The shop’s having a day off today.”
“Where are we going?”
“The beach. Starting from today, I will be teaching you how to drift.”
Zhang Heng was a little taken aback by this short announcement.
Even though Takeda Tetsuya had been instructing him on how to race, and had taught him quite a few techniques, he had never once revealed his best secrets. Zhang Heng had asked a few times before, but he was always dismissed with ‘You’re not qualified yet!’, which was a clear and direct way of telling him that he needed to meet a certain standard.
Under normal circumstances, this would have been unattainable for an inexperienced fledgling with zero foundation like Zhang Heng. He had been learning how to drive for four months now, which was already way past the deadline. He managed to fulfill the criteria only yesterday.
It went without saying that Zhang Heng was not going to let this precious opportunity slip away. Who knew why Takeda Tetsuya, the scrooge, suddenly had a change of mind? If it were not because he had been the champion of D1 Grand Prix tsuisou format in Tokyo or the man who nearly bagged the Drift King title, Zhang Heng would already have looked for someone else to consult, like that racer workshop senior.
Not only did he have the right attitude, but to benefit the next generation, and to pave the way for those who desire to become a racing driver like him, he shared his views and experience generously with the members of his group.
Zhang Heng believed that if he continued to work hard, he might be able to set himself to the path of success. After all, compared to Takeda Tetsuya, the seafood store owner, this senior guy was the more authentic racing driver. After much deliberation, Zhang Heng decided to give up that plan.
The GT300 was a sanctioned racing competition. The race track and the driving skills requirements are very different from underground drift racing. As the name GT300 implies, the maximum horsepower output is capped at 300ps. On the other end of the spectrum, the only rules in underground racing were that there were no rules. No one cared what kind of cars you drove, or what type of technique you used. Whoever crossed the finishing line first was the winner. In fact, if you were ballsy enough, you could even use nitrous oxide.
Zhang Heng had already read through all the workshop guy’s notes and videos more than once. His vigorous and hawkish driving style was more suited to professional track facing. In a complicated environment, he would be no match for Takeda Tetsuya, the former champion of D1 Grand Prix.
The seafood store owner brought Zhang Heng to a private pier that was close to being abandoned and created a drift course with tires and cardboard boxes lined as the apexes.
“Drifting is a driving technique by deliberately oversteering the car, forcing it to slide sideways through a turn. Young people nowadays love to show off their skills by drifting, but in reality, drifting on the normal road would only slow the car down and wear out the tires. This technique was designed to cope with complex road conditions.”
Zhang Heng looked at the massive pile of tightly packed boxes and tires. “Isn’t… a little too complex?”
“As long as someone can do it, it’s not complex!” Takeda Tetsuya retorted imposingly.
Zhang Heng thought after that uttering such heroic statements; the guy would at least give him some sort of live demonstration. To his disappointment, however, Tetsuya only showed him a video, and from the looks of which looked like a really old one. After that, the guy removed a folding stool and a fishing rod from the back of the van.
“Don’t look at me. I swore that I would never touch another steering wheel in this life. But, don’t you worry. The obstacles I’ve set up for you is not impossible to complete.” said Takeda Tetsuya as he baited the hook. Zhang Heng skimmed through the video and quickly realized that he had misjudged the guy. He was probably trying to make up for the fact that he could not show Zhang Heng the technique himself, but instead, with the surprisingly de4tailed tutorial. Except for the demonstration at the beginning, the rest of the video contained new materials that Takeda Tetsuya had recorded.
Zhang Heng played the video over and over again nearly seven times. In between, he even played the video in slow motion twice.
Once he was satisfied, he tucked his phone away into his pocket and began his practice.
The result… as expected, was a tragic sight. The ear-piercing screeching sounds of tires scraping the ground echoed on the pier. The cardboard boxes and tires were strewn about and had all been knocked over! Zhang Heng initially thought his driving skills had improved so much that he even thought about acquiring a car and completing the primary mission.
But this new training felt like someone had just poured ice-cold water on him. Even though Takeda Tetsuya had not been very reliable all this while, he would not lie to him about such a trivial matter. Since he said that completing the training was attainable, it meant that Zhang Heng was the problem.
On that account, the boy wrestled with the heap of tires and boxes until the next morning until the sun had started peering out from the horizon. The seafood store owner packed his fishing rod, stretched his body and then looked at Zhang Heng. “You’ll continue to deliver the goods after today. When you have free time, you can come here to practice drifting. So, how soon you complete your training is up entirely up to you. You can start modifying the L300. I will give you suggestions, but you will have to take care of the parts yourself!”