While front-wheel-drive drifting was a thing, it really takes a rear-wheel-drive car to do it. However, Chris Forsberg Racing decided that a 2021 Nissan Altima would make for a great drift car. While it required an intensive RWD swap and a VR38DETT under the hood, we can’t argue against the end result.
“Chris is no stranger to builds that push the limits and boundaries of both technology and creativity,” said the three-time Formula Drift Championship winning Chris Forsberg Racing team, “and the Altimaniac is perhaps the culmination of all the lessons learned over such a decorated professional career—one that has been dedicated to the Nissan brand exclusively for the past 18 years.” Not much of the original Altima is left. Everything was stripped off the chassis (and we mean everything). The fenders, body panels, and every last nut and bolt was removed and replaced with something made for this wild drift car.
Once everything was torn away from its mother chassis, the Altima was 3D scanned to create a CAD design the team could design and build it in a virtual space. The suspension, wheels, tires, engine and even its tube frame chassis were all designed and fitted on the computer. This process not only saves money, but time as well. Fitting these virtual parts that are made exactly in the real world for this chassis only requiree minor fit and finish adjustments.
Yes, we did say tube frame in that paragraph. This isn’t a Formula Drift competitor, it’s not even going to any prize-winning event at any level. Surrounded by its integrated double halo cage in the tube frame, Forsberg and his three lucky—depending on who you ask—passengers ride in a quartet of custom Recaro carbon fiber seats. The Altimaniac is the ultimate, no rules drift car where its chassis can be as wild as its engine—and that VR38DETT is as wild as it gets.
Wait, How Much Horsepower?
Utilizing the T1 Race Development parts department and basically an unlimited budget, the VR38DETT is nowhere close to what it originally was, either. Just like the Altima chassis, this race-bred engine was stripped down and replaced with enough parts to hit the 2,000 hp mark. Two-thousand horsepower. That much power also requires that much more in cooling, and C&R and PWR came up with the best cooling solution a slideways car can use. With 2,000 hp being sent from the crankshaft of the engine, the Altimaniac needed a drivetrain that could handle that and the clutch kicking, tire locking, and rev limiter banging abuse a drift car sees. Hanging off the back of the VR38 is a RTS 6XD sequential transmission.
No Spec Chassis
The Parts Shop Max custom drift spec suspension on the Altimaniac is one-of-a-kind. Again, considering it’s a RWD full-tube chassis made from a FWD sedan, that makes sense. It also makes sense to use suspension pickup points on the chassis that work best for drifting and this tube frame was designed with that in mind. It also needed matching dampers in which his Formula Drift suspension partner, BC Racing, stepped up with a set of racing spec coilovers just for this unlimited Altima drift car.
3D Printed Body
The problem, however, with the design of the chassis, suspension, and custom Rotiform WGR-M wheels on GT Radial Champiro 2SX RS tires is that it is far wider than the original Altima. In keeping with the theme of 3D designing, Tekk Consulting and their 3D printer were used to create the massive body panels required for the low, aggressive, Nissan SuperGT GT-R-like body that Forsberg had in mind for the Altimaniac. This also means that, despite being one-off, if any extra panels are required all one needs to do is load up the program into their printer. Then, you let the machine do its work in the hours required to make each canard, fender, splitter, and front lip that needs replacing.
Despite not being in regular competition, you can see the Altimaniac in action during most any Gridlife event Forsberg can attend. You can also catch it in action on YouTube, Instagram, or anywhere else he posts content to. It’s just too wild to miss.
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