In the world of motorsport there are few liveries as Iconic as the blue and teal war paint of team Falken, and for those of a more local influence, that very scheme has been the flag flown by Mag & Turbo (M&T) since its inception. Of all the M&T machines that the colours have been splashed down the sides of, none have worn it better than the Rocket Bunny S13 of Bruce Tannock.
Eight seasons on from that cold night in a South Auckland gas station, where we first shot the S13 — one of the world's first Rocket Bunny S-chassis outside of Japan — Bruce has gone and got all nostalgic ahead of the 2018 D1NZ season.
But before getting all serious with that tech stuff, we must first drink in the prefection that we have come to expect from Bruce and his S13, despite the fact the shell has been in the championship since 2006, long before Bruce took ownership.
Like the previous two seasons the shell wears a mix of V1 Rocket Bunny bumpers, paired with V2 guards. Like with the V1 kit, Bruce was one of the first outside of Japan to wear the V2 gear — running a mix of both with his custom bonnet gives the car a meancing toughness all of its own.
This season a mixture of M1 and S1 Work Meisters will be run, 18x9-inch (+0) up front, and 18x10.5-inch (-31 & -39) on the rear. And in a relationship that has spanned the last seven or eight years, the Works are wrapped in Achilles 123s semis.
We have to hand it to the team, despite the S13 being the longest serving chassis in the field, they go to painfully long lengths to keeps the car in near perfect condition. Two years ago a new quarter was stitched on, and this off season the other side got the same treatment. No tube rears draped in fibreglass round here mate. "I don't like the look of it being all cut away and drifting may not be its final destination.... so for the sake of saving 20-30kg, I'd rather just add 20-30kW," says Bruce.
The only change to the RB32 combination for 2018 has been the addition of 1kW (we kid you not). But when you and the tuner Dtech have sunken this much time into developing a package this capable, all the hard work has been done tenth fold. The basis is a dry sumped RB30 block with billet Nitto 3.2-litre stroker kit, topped off with a heavily modified RB26 head. Combined with the Borg Warner 83/75, and Full Race twin-scroll manifold, Dave has managed to have full boost waiting under Bruce's foot before 3000RPM, delivering a huge amount of torque all the way to 7000, tapering off before banging the 7900RPM rev limiter. Exactly how much torque that is Bruce is unsure; "We set the head and cams up different to most peoples, with a big focus on mid range, not big lumpy cams to make a Facebook number. It's the complete opposite of a light switch, delivering smooth, and angry power. This might sound a bit arrogant, but plenty of others throw loads of money at them, and get a poor result, I think we got it pretty bang on." Bang on enough that the amount of torque produced shuts the dyno down. Put it this way, it makes more than an LS7 from a Super Tourer.
While it might not look like there is anything new to report on the inside, with the Bride Japan Editions, Takata harnesses, Link Dash, air jacks, long shifter and Momo wheel remaining. It is all now over-looked by the carbon roof skin. Which crew member Dave has grafted in, shaving 09-10kgs of weight up high where it counts most.
It's about now that I might utter some well trodden words about the S13 being too nice to drift, but the truth about that is, this 500kW plus S13 was built to drift, it continues to get driven hard on a regular basis, and simply does it while being presented better than 90 per cent of the show cars out there. Take note drifters, the bar has been raised once again.