With round 3 of the Driftwest series fast approaching, I sat down with Shawn Hawley to ask him about his set up this year and his thoughts about the coming round
Tony Koch : So the big change this year is the LS motor instead of the 1j, how is this setup working with your driving style?
Shawn Hawley: Yes the LS1, some people hate on it and others love it, I love it! Don’t get me wrong, I love the sound of my old 1JZ, even more than my LS1. But, in competition you just have so much more control of the car along with response. It is a lot easier to get close in tandem and stay close without having to worry about falling out of the power band. And the overall reliability of it, by this time last year I would of pulled my transmission out 4 maybe 5 times, all I’ve done to my Chaser so far this year is change the oil and fill it up with gas.
TK: What happened to you’re old car?
SH: Well last year I had an untimely incident at Race City on September 25th 2011 during a Sunday Funday. Matt Haase and I had a collision with speeds around 120km/h, but thanks to our proper safety gear we both walked away with minor injuries.
So my old Chaser ended up getting stripped for all useable parts to be swapped over to my new chassis, a 1993 Toyota Chaser Tourer S (n/a 1JZ auto) that I found on Kijiji the night after the accident.
Original plans were to swap the 1JZ into my new chassis but after doing some looking into it and finding a buyer for my 1JZ, I decided I would attempt the LS1 swap just shortly after Christmas. I sourced a LS1 from a 2004 Pontiac GTO from Cleveland Pick a Part.
This car was pretty well stripped all the way down, and built in my garage by myself with the help of all my friends. I couldn’t find anyone that had put a LS1 into a JZX90 anywhere. So that meant we needed to build almost everything for the car in my garage including motor mounts, however I did have the custom long tube headers built by Neil’s Power Pipes, as that was not an easy task to do.
Clarion Canada had a huge part in this car getting done for the season, because without their support I would of not been able to afford to build the car and compete this season.
TK: How has this season gone so far for you?
SH: The season is going great considering the car was only running less than 2 weeks before the first event and I didn’t get to shake down the car till the Wednesday before Round 1! That session went great except for the part when I forgot to put my hood pins in, other than that the car was great!
For Round 1 we were up till 4am finishing up last minute touches like the Vinyl graphics/sponsor logos, stereo and police strobe light kit, but we made it to the track in time and made top 16 easily.
TK :In the top 16 of round 1, you had a very intense chase run against Drift Farm’s Jesse Widney, can you walk us through it?
Jesse is a great driver and has been drifting longer than I have so I knew I had to give it my all, once we took off I realized that off the line I could keep much closer than previous years so I entered the first corner chasing him nearly making contact in corner one. Jesse had a great lead run but I kept up a great chase through the entire course, and at the end we nearly had some contact again! This gave me the advantage, so in my lead run I just keep up some good distance and laid down a clean solid run advancing me to top 16.
TK: In the top 8 you met Conroy Ganson, what’s it like running him?
SH: Conroy, it feels like in my 4 years of drifting I’ve battled him more than anyone else. I honestly love to drive against him because I feel I get better each time I run against him I learn from it and get a little better each time, unfortunately this battle I lost to Conroy after hitting the gravel trap on corner one at full speed. I ended up calling a 5 min rule and thanks to my team, Drift Farm’s team, and Conroy/4Kruzn’s team I was able to get out and battle him for my lead run but it just wasn’t enough to recover from the gravel trip I took.
TK: Round 2 you were putting the hurt on those Achilles tires, how do these tires stack up to what you have run on previously?
SH: Last year I was running on the Lexani tires they were good but these Achilles from Wheels Plus just have way more grip, and smoke a hell of a lot more! To be honest they are my favorite tire I have drifted on so far, if you need some give Todd at Wheels Plus a call 780 435 0404 and he will set you up
TK: How would you say round two went?
SH: I was struggling with the entry and the overall course at first but once qualifying came around I was able to land a 9th place position, pairing me up against Chris Meek from Drift Asslyum for top 16 who after our two runs I was able to eliminate and moved up to the great 8.
TK: In the top 8, you drew Conroy again, what was the battle plan this time out?
SH: Plan was to go all out and win! Conroy and I were laying down the most smoke all day so I knew this was a battle the crowd was waiting for. After two solid runs from the both of us and the crowd going crazy for a “ONE MORE TIME” I was eliminated by Conroy once again.
TK: Could you even see him in the smoke clouds?
SH: I could just barley see the front of his car through all the smoke, the rotary is a smoke machine much like my Chaser.
TK: Next round is in Penticton BC, you did very well there finishing fourth last year, are you excited? Have you made any changes to the car since Round 2?
SH: I am more than excited!!! I can’t wait to get to the Okanagan, do some boating, relaxing and of course some mountain side drifting!!! I have decided to go from a 245/40/18 up to a 265/35/18 rear tire to try and get a little more traction for the LS1, and then changing out the e-brake shoes. Other than that the car is the same as it would have been at round 2 besides one minor visual change you’ll have to be there to see.
TK: Who are you looking forward to drive with out there?
SH: I can’t wait to drive against Steve from Drift Union, I may have lost to him last year but those were some of my favorite runs I’ve had drifting! I also hope some of the Drift Safari boys come up from Vancouver to toss up the mix of things.
TK: Anyone you would like to thank?
Shawn Hawley: There are too many people to thank, without the help of my sponsors, friends, family, media, and co-workers there is no way I would have been able to get this new car ready at a competitive level in time.
Thanks to my Sponsors Clarion Canada Inc, Certified Radio, Wheels-Plus, Wirez, Kinetik, Vertex-USA, and Clutch Masters!
Here’s my huge shout out list: Darryl, Ryan, Gary, Ahmed, Handsome Rob, Jay, Matt, Kylee, Fugu, Jesse, Todd, Tony, Blair, Conroy, Kaleigh, Houdini, Andrew, Lee, Jared, Cody, Kevin, Kris, Spencer, Dean C, Dean S, Neil @ NPP, Trevor @ ABC Muffler, Aaron Ratz, Sask crew, DJ Kenny James, Marc @ MHSoundz, my mom, my sister and anyone else who I forgot to mention on this list!!! Thank you all!
I will have Shawn Hawley Racing T-shirts for sale at the next two events so come see the Clarion booth, we will also have no shortage of neon shades at the Penticton round. I’m also sending an open invite to everyone Friday the 30th to join us floating down the channel in Penticton, follow my http://www.facebook.com/shawnhawleyracing page what time and updates on the trip!!!