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An empty race track, a 600BHP purpose-built machine and a professional drift racer; these were the only things needed to keep us car guys occupied on Friday while everyone else was probably stuck at the office, wrapping up unfinished business before the weekend.

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We were invited by Malaysia’s Prince of Drift, Tengku Djan Ley, to come down to the Malacca International Motorsport Circuit (MIMC) for a shakedown of his reincarnated Smoke Machine, a 180SX (now termed as the 700SX, due to its current engine size) with an LS7 swapped engine. This particular shakedown was to test and tune the setup of the car which now comes with an all new 4-speed gearbox, and a totally redone differential.

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The 7.0 V8 engine’s ‘bite’ is really as bad as its bark and hearing the car at idle would leave you with a tingling sensation, making you itch to hear it at full throttle out on the track. Djan highlighted that he put in the engine back in 2012 and originally had plans to supercharge it. But due to the engine block’s minimal thickness, he decided against it because he would only be able to run 0.4 bar at the most to prevent a compromised engine. Djan also intended to put in a Nitrous Oxide System (NOS), but Thai regulations don’t permit such mods for their drifting comps.

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The new G-Force gearbox and quick-change Winters Performance differential were the latest additions to the Smoke Machine. The 4-speed straight-cut dog engagement gearbox now allows him to row through the gears very swiftly. The differential on the other hand is a totally new set brought in from the US. Normally built for hot rods, stadium trucks and oval racers, this particular diff allows for a quick change of two gearing components within the diff that ultimately alter the final drive of the car, rather than having to put in a totally different diff, which is perfect for varying track setups. Djan also noted that this new diff weighs three times more than the stock Skyline diff they were running prior to this, which results in better weight distribution to counter the heavy 7-liter power plant upfront. Hence the reason for today’s shakedown.

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Out on the track, the 700SX really does display its true power and handling prowess as Djan quickly accelerates and initiates his drifting maneuvers. Djan doing what he does best, will throw the car into the corner, before flipping it the other direction to anticipate the next approaching corner. His line is always on point, and he never falters. There were other drifters on the track towards the end of the afternoon, but none could match Djan’s perfectly executed lines. The car, driver and the track are all in perfect sync.

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We calculated 6 pairs (twelve!) of rear tires that were spent that day, each having a life span of 6-7 laps in total before turning into white smoke. At the end of the day, Djan was quite satisfied with the progress of his Smoke Machine. He looks forward to returning to the drift scene and to compete in future drift events. We are confident that the Prince of Drift will retain his title for a much longer period.

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