Daigo Saito Driving a Lamborghini Murcielago in Japanese D1 Grand Prix
Drifting has been spreading like wildfire in motorsports around the World. Along with the increase in popularity is an increase in the cost of the car.
Drift cars nowadays are running engines putting out 1,000 horsepower and completely custom suspension set ups, not to mention entire vehicles. Many of these cars cost hundreds of thousands to produce.
This begs the question, what are the most expensive drift cars in the World?
In Japan, where drifting originated in the 1970s, currently have two outrageous drift cars running in their D1 Series Grand Prix. One vehicle is a Lamborghini Murcielago fitted with a Liberty Walk body kit and the second is a Lexus LFA powered by a Toyota Nascar engine putting out 1,000 horsepower through a manual transmission. I will write about the drift LFA in another post.
A 2009 Lamborghini Murcielago ran between $187,000 and $267,000 when new depending on options selected.
A Liberty Walk body kit for the Murcielago cost over $40,000 for all of the different pieces. The kit was limited to just 20 copies so it is no longer available.
Japanese D! Grand Prix champion Daigo Saito is not only known for his amazing drifting skills but for his amazing drift cars. When he took on the Lamborghini, many thought that a Murcielago drift car would never work because of the weight distribution and poor reliability.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, Daigo acquired the Liberty Walk Lamborghini Murcielago demo car, and set about to convert it into a pro-spec drift machine.
The first step in the conversion was to lighten the weight of the Lambo to as little as possible while retaining the functionality necessary to be competitive. That means carbon fiber. Heavier metal parts were substituted for lighter carbon fiber parts in such places as the doors, hood, trunk lid, and drivetrain tunnel, amongst other places.
The next step was get rid of the air suspension that was used on the Liberty Walk demo in favor of a set up that was better suited to drifting. A twin-coil setup is used at both corners so that the vehicle is running six dampers in total. Control arms and other suspension pieces are custom fabricated for drifting to provide razor-sharp steering and chassis feel over to the driver.
The original transmission was retained for the time being may be changing in the near future. The electronic control unit or ECU was also updated to provide better responses to the car during the rigors of competition.
Most of the 6.2-liter V12 that first came with the car has been retained. However, some pieces have been updated such as throttle bodies and air filters. To improve throttle response, the original pieces were replaced with four from a Nissan VR38DETT engine, the same one as used in the Skyline. The new set up increases output to just a tad over 640 horsepower from 580 horsepower.
To say the conversion was thorough is an understatement. Just about every major system has been upgraded to perform under the rigors of drifting competition.
The final modifications consist of changing the color from lime green to the matte flat black shade you see here and painting the wheels to the Monster shade of green.
The end result is a vehicle that shocks and mesmerizes competitors and spectators alike. It is a remarkably nimble machine that is able to be competitive at the top of the competitive drifting field.