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Papadakis Racing Debuts Unconventional Toyota Corolla iM Drift Car for 2017

Photo by Larry Chen / Toyota Racing

Papadakis Racing and Rockstar Energy Drink filmed "Rockstar D" to debut the Toyota Corolla iM

Papadakis Racing has never been shy about building unconventional drift cars. From the first NASCAR-powered V8 Scion tC that was piloted by Tanner Foust back in 2009 to the latest Toyota Corolla iM hatchback that Fredric Aasbo is piloting in 2017, Papadakis Racing has a way of turning obscure and unconventional cars into competitive drift vehicles. Foust would pilot that crazy Scion tC to a podium in the debut event for the car, with a win coming just three events later. Overall, Foust won three Formula Drift events and took home seven carbon fiber podium trophies in two full seasons of the Scion tC. Foust decided to pursue other driving opportunities after the 2010 season, and a replacement would be needed on the Papadakis Racing team. At the same time, Scion had moved from the original Scion tC to the tC2 chassis, which gave Papadakis Racing a new challenge.

Photo by Larry Chen / Toyota Racing

The Toyota Corolla iM drift car is powered by a 2AR-FE engine that pushes nearly 1,000 hp

After success with the original tC build, Papadakis added the challenge of reverting back to the Toyota 2AR motor instead of the Phase 9 TRD NASCAR motor that powered the original drift tC chassis. Moving from a TRD NASCAR motor that puts out 500+ whp to the rear wheels to a 2AR motor that was rated for 180 whp from the factory meant a full overhaul was coming. The 2AR motor was longitudinally mounted, stroked to 2.7L, paired with a Borg-Warner turbocharger, built with a host of aftermarket and custom drivetrain parts, and pushed to 23 pounds of boost.

Photo by Larry Chen / Toyota Racing

A Papadakis Racing crew member works on the Toyota Corolla iM drift car at a Formula D event

In the first season of competition, the car pushed just under 450 whp to the rear wheels. In the second season, a host of parts were upgraded and the boost was upped to 30PSI, which cranked the horsepower up to around 600 whp. Over the following five seasons, the engine package would continue to be refined, hitting a peak of 900 wheel horsepower in 2016 on nearly 45 pounds of boost. However, with the sunsetting of the Scion brand at the end of 2016, a new challenge would be pushed in front of the team.

Photo by Larry Chen / Toyota Racing

Fredric Aasbo's Toyota Corolla iM has turned heads all season for the unconventional platform

After several discussions, a Toyota Corolla iM was selected as the new drift chassis for the 2017 season. With a wheelbase of 102.4” which puts it just barely longer than the 100.4” wheelbase of the MkIV Toyota Supra and the 101.2” wheelbase of the Toyota GT86 / Scion FR-S, the car was selected specifically for the suspension geometry and initial measurements that pointed to the potential of the chassis. Luckily, the same 2AR engine could be fabricated to fit inside the Corolla iM engine bay, which would give the team a jumpstart on the chassis development knowing that they had plenty of horsepower to push to the rear wheels. While an AEM 21-776C intake would typically fit your typical Toyota Corolla iM that rolls off of your local Toyota dealership lot, this Corolla iM would require a custom intake setup from the turbocharger along with custom piping for the intercooler and intake manifold.

To debut the car, the team filmed a brief viral video that emulated the title screen from the famed Initial D cartoon in Japan. The video was filmed on the famed Mulholland Highway outside of Los Angeles, California, and debuted the new Toyota Corolla iM chassis to the world. The debut was a huge hit as fans had no idea what car Fredric Aasbo would pilot since the Scion brand had been retired. Aasbo would drive the car competitively just a few weeks after the video was released at the first event of the 2017 Formula Drift season in Long Beach. The Long Beach course is laid out on actual city streets that are closed to the public for the competition weekend, further playing on the Initial D concept that helped launch the car.

Photo by Larry Chen / Toyota Racing

The Toyota Corolla iM was debuted via a viral video that was filmed on the famed Mulholland Dr

While Aasbo wouldn’t duplicate Foust’s success of debuting the car to a podium finish, Aasbo would find the top step of the podium in the second event of the season in Orlando. The win was Aasbo’s 9th of his career, which tied him with Samuel Hubinette and Vaughn Gittin Jr. for the most all-time in Formula Drift history. Aasbo would break the record just three events later in Montreal, becoming the first driver to win 10 events in Formula Drift history. Aasbo has won all 10 events while piloting Scion or Toyota cars, with both of those cars utilizing the 2AR-FE engine. Aasbo also won the 2015 season championship in the Scion tC2 by a record 99 point margin, and is currently sitting in second place in the 2017 season championship standings.

Photo by Larry Chen / Toyota Racing

Fredric Aasbo won in the Toyota Corolla iM in only the second event at Orlando Speedworld


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