Next up in the “Drivers Spotlight” section is 2011 XDC East Coast Champion Chelsea Denofa. We sit down and have a quick Q&A session about this current drift season and whats in store for the future.
CS@Apex: How/and what age did you get into drifting?
Chelsea Denofa: I was 15 and bought a 91 240sx coupe. Started out street drifting like many others, only difference was I had to have someone licensed with me because I only had a learners permit. My first drift event was a D1 Licensing event at Homestead Miami Speedway in 2004.
CS@Apex: In the start of your career who did you most look up to? Any in particular you followed closely?
C.D. We were doing a lot of street drifting down in South Florida and watching drifting videos from overseas. So guys like Tanaguchi and Ueno were boss back then.
CS@Apex: How would you describe your current driving style ?
C.D. It really depends on the situation. Like many, in qualifying Ill make a solid first pass, then get gnarly on the second pass. I basically go flat into the first turn instead of adjusting speed, Ill just adjust my angle and entry point. So every time I hit the first turn its as early and baller as possible. In tandem I really have no regard for the competitor and I’s cars, shit is going to get rambo. Especially if you followed close on my lead run… You better be ready to go across the line on your roof. Be afraid… I plan on using my safety equipment.
CS@Apex: Tell us about your car. Your current model, engine setup, suspension etc..
C.D.- 98 BMW M3 Sedan – 500whp/500wtq on pump – 2497lbs – 64 Degrees of angle.
-Technica Motorsports built S52
-Stock Rods and Bolts
-ARP 2000 Head Studs
-Cometic .70 Head Gasket
-Precision 6262 Ball Bearing Billet Wheel Turbo. T3 .86 a/r exhaust housing
-Precision 46mm compact wastegate
-SPA Turbo Manifold
-Technica Motorsports Factory ECU Tuning
-Technica Motorsports Blow-Through MAF
-Technica Motorsports Injectors
-Technica Motorsports Oil Feed adaptor
-S-Max Performance 22x12x3.5 mid mounted Intercooler
-Secret Services Auto custom 3 inch aluminum intercooler piping
-Secret Services Auto aluminum coolant expansion tank and coolant catch can
-NonStopTuning Alternator and Aux pulley system
-Toxic Fabrication oil catch can with -10an lines.
-Toxic Fabrication 4″ Vibrant Stainless oval exhaust
-Level7TUNE aluminum radiator
Chassis, Suspension, and Brakes
-Toxic Fabrication stitch welding and reinforcement.
-Toxic Fabrication roll cage
-BC Racing ER-Type Double Adjustable External Reservoir Coilover System
-UUC rear camber arms
-UUC rear trailing arm bushings
-VAC Engine Mounts
-Technica Motorsports chassis harness and fuse box
-Technica Motorsports rear subframe bushings
-Stock M3 brake calipers with brass guides and Technica Motorsports Stainless lines
-Level7TUNE Drift Spec Ebrake pads
-Brembo drilled and slotted rotors
-Secret Services Auto bash bar
-Sparco Circuit Pro Hans (Driver)
-Cobra Suzuka Pro Kevlar (Passenger)
-Safety Racing sfi belts. Purple and black
-Secret Services Auto ultra low seat brackets
-Level7TUNE Ebrake handle
-Circle track 14″ aluminum steering wheel
-Speedway quick release and splined steering shaft
-Autometer water temp, K’s 60mm boost, AEM UEGO wideband
-Technica Motorsports Modified dash
-Level7TUNE Battery Box
-Sony Xplode deck, speakers, amp and CV 12″ sub
-GM Plum Crazy Purple on every inch inside and out. (Sponsored by Nevrslo)
-OEM M3 sideskirts as well as front and rear bumpers.
-China Special r-iced out taillights
-Level7TUNE big BRO flares front and rear
-Nevrslo carbon roundels
-Long acre power cut off switch
-Level7TUNE lexan windows
Steering, Rollers, Tires
-Level7TUNE SMAK (super mad angle kit)
-Level7TUNE steering knuckles
-Level7TUNE front lower control arms
-Level7TUNE delrin front control arm bushings
-Level7TUNE tie rods
-BC Racing RA01 17×8.5 -7 18×9.5 -15
-Nexen N9000 235-40-17 front and 275-35-18 rear
CS@Apex: Are there any major changes in the plans for your car next season?
C.D- We will take another 40lbs out of it, add a few things to conform with FD’s tech, and change up the presentation a bit.
CS@Apex: Now that you have scored the East Coast Championship, are there any main goals for the last event ?
C.D.- I am super pumped up after the East Coast XDC win, as well as our 2nd place West Coast XDC finish. We just need to go to Texas and take another win! Easier said then done, There is some stiff competition, but my team and I are fully capable.
CS@Apex: Briefly describe your car set-up and how it benefits your driving style?
C.D.-My car is well suited for my driving style. Simply put, you drive the car by the rear wheels, point and shoot technique.
CS@Apex: Who are you current sponsors?
C.D.-Nexen Tires, NonStopTuning, Technica Motorsports, BC Racing, Nevrslo, Toxic Fabrication, Level7TUNE, Import Image Racing, Sideways Vinyl, The Right Step
CS@Apex: What sponsors are you trying to obtain? Any particular brands or products?
C.D.-We are working with a few new companies and continuing with many of our great sponsors for 2012′s Formula Drift season. We are excited to have the car in a booth for the SEMA show. So if anyone wants to join my attempt at “rookie of the year” in 2012 hit me up!
CS@Apex: During the past two years of XDC, which track is your favorite and why?
C.D. – One of my favorites is Summit Point. Even tho we had a car failure this year, It’s an awesome track because of its down hill entry to a slow left turn, then up shifting and power for another 1/2 of a mile on throttle transitioning to the finish. Firebird is cool too because the 1st half of the track is hammer time for me, we counted 11 seconds of full throttle there!
CS@Apex: Do you have any pre-race rituals to get your pumped for the big day?
C.D.- I hang out with the team and crew the night before and try to get as much sleep as possible. We will usually try to find a local place to get some breakfast, then bump some music to get the mood right.
CS@Apex: Describe your scariest moment as a professional drifter.
C.D. – I ain’t never scaaared! Honestly I am more scared driving to each event then actually driving them. People in this country cannot drive, DOT doesn’t like race car drivers, and rigs break… That is scary.
CS@Apex: Describe your most memorable all time moment in your drift career?
C.D. – On the real, every event is memorable. Driving all over the US on a weekly basis, competing in over 20 events a year, and getting to meet some bad ass people on the daily makes some awesome moments.
CS@Apex: With the progression of the drift scene in the past five years describe your favorite and least favorite trends.
C.D- LEAST! I seriously cannot believe people still drive hoop-dee s13′s. I am not hating, but seriously stop buying body kits and wheels and concentrate on what makes your car functional! Don’t blow money, PROGRESS!
MOST! There have been so many positives in drifting over the past 5 years. New cars, sponsors, rules, media attention, international involvement, and much more. The fact that there is still a spot for every driver level to drive at least every other weekend is the most important thing I see.
CS@Apex: After a full season of XDC this year, what are your plans for next season? Any new series you will be trying to compete in?
C.D. We will be campaigning a BMW in a full season of Formula Drift next year. Hoping to be in the race for the 2012 “rookie of the year”.
Clutch kick or Ebrake?
Clutch kick then Ebrake
Knuckles or spacers?
Turbo or NA?
East or West Coast?
Some of my homies died over this question… I with BIG, but I have some love for Dre and Pac.
JDM or EuroStyles?
Formula D or D1?
Club loose or Lone Star Drift ?
Lone Star only because it has loose rules
Lead or Follow run?
E36 or E92?
E90… Sedan love
Stay tuned with Apex as we cover Round 7 of the XDC series this September! Watch out for Chelsea Denofa as he battles it out for the 2011 XDC Champion title!!!!!
Special Thanks to all the sponsors that made this possible.