Fanga Dan switches camp. Shocked? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet …
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting ‘Fanga’ Dan Woolhouse, you’ll likely attest that the dude has passion for what he does — passion which oozes out in bucketloads. It’d be fair to say that drifting in New Zealand is damn well lucky to have him on its side, as this dude quite simply lives, breathes, eats and sleeps the sport of drifting. If he’s not in the car, killing a set of Tri-Ace semi-slick rubber, he’s in the shed preparing to do so, or perfecting a car before his next tyre-frying session. Fanga has been there since day one in New Zealand, and has always been that dude you knew would be knocking on the door any time he was in the chase position. He has always been one to push the boundaries when it came to car builds, and always ensures that his chosen war machine is kept in near perfect condition.
This is the first NZ-based Mustang to receive the RTR 5D widebody, a money-can’t-buy, competition only part of the RTR catalogue
Fanga is a name you’d instantly associate with a brand which views a roaring lion as its monarch, but all that is about to change, though he’s lived and breathed Holdens for the past 10 years. “Everything was Holden, the two race cars, the tow vehicle, the VK, even Nicole was driving a VF wagon as a daily,” he says, “There was even one stage where we thought a deal [with Holden] was going to happen, it was real close.” But that deal never came, and as Fanga is the type of guy who wants to continually progress with the sport, factory backing was the next logical step. Enter Ford, and Auckland-based CTB — a Ford Performance reseller/workshop — and a deal that goes even deeper than usual, and involves a man you’ll likely associate with the Mustang model more than any other — American Vaughn Gittin Jr and his brand RTR, which was developed alongside Kiwi expat Ian Stewart, of Autosport Dynamics (ASD).
You’re probably wondering where we’re heading with all this, so we’ll cut to the chase. An RTR competition-spec 2017 Mustang is on a boat and heading to our shores, in the very same spec which Vaughan and Chelsea DeNofa run in Formula D — yep, a full carbon-clad, three-wheeling, fire-breathing monster, complete with 671kW (900hp) Roush Yates RY45. It’s this car that Fanga will drive in the 2018 D1NZ season. But alongside the comp car he needs an activation machine — something that looks the same, feels the same, but with a lower specification to handle selected events, the odd burnout (let’s be honest, hundreds of burnouts), practice days, fan rides, and sponsor days. “I want to be driving this car every other week, if there’s an event I can drive at I’ll be there.”
Right, now that we’re all on the same page, let’s continue. The funny thing is, the past 10 years of Fanga’s automotive preference would probably have you thinking that he was brought up in the back seat of an HQ, or something similar, but as we found out, his dad actually owned a stack of fastback Mustangs during his youth. “Dad had a Mustang when I was young, and we started looking at a project that we could do together. He knew the perfect car, a Mitsi Galant GTO, aka the Japanese Mustang. It was a fastback, and even had pony badges on the dash and all.”
So the love for the brand was always there, and when the opportunity arose to partner with CTB and RTR — which has just launched in Zealand, by the way — it was a no-brainer for the veteran of New Zealand drift. The only catch was, he would have only eight weeks to transform a bone stock, direct off-the-lot 2017 Mustang into a skid-ready machine.
As legend has it, it wasn’t 20 minutes after driving off the lot that the grinder was already buried deep into some panel steel. “The plan from the outset was always to build one of CTB’s Stage III package, draped in Ford Performance Parts just like you can buy from the dealer, only with a roll cage. It will prove that the gear can handle way more than any street car is ever going to see.”
No race fuel needed here, the Mustang is tuned on 98 octane, fed through the JAZ fuel cell and Aeromotive twin-pump surge tank with in-tank pumps
These upgrades began under the bonnet, boosting the 11.0:1 compression all-alloy 5000cc Coyote with a Ford Performance 2300 supercharger equipped with 8psi boost pulley. With a retune this will see around 500kW at the fly, all backed with a Ford Performance warranty. But being the detail man that Fanga is, he wanted to ensure the engine bay also looked the part, so he selected the hot rod wiring loom, which plugs directly into the upgraded ECU. It’s a stripped-back engine-only loom that’s made for retro-fitting these engines into whatever you can dream up, but in this case it gives a much cleaner look alongside the new rocker covers. So while, yes, the engine bay is a far cry from the Roush Yates RY45 race engine the comp car runs, the fact this is the same combo anyone can order direct from a Ford dealer is pretty cool, if you ask us.
The same philosophy has been carried to the rear end, where upgraded Ford Performance lifetime warranty axles sit alongside a factory diff, with some not-so-factory metal added to lock things up nice and proper.
The gearbox is where things step away from the Ford catalogue, with a GSR G-Force four-speed adapted to fit. “I wanted the car to feel just like the comp car will, and no six-speed should be expected to last with the kind of punishment this will see.”
Getting the car to feel just like the comp car has even seen the NZ-new shell converted to left-hand drive. Originally they’d considered making the comp car right-hand drive, but messing with something so well dialled would be a nightmare, and as Fanga found out, it’s not that big a deal getting used to drifting a LHD car. “If you were to yell out handbrake I’d grab it straight away, no problem.”
In the quest to get this car feeling as much like the comp machine as possible, it also got a bunch of money-can’t-buy components from RTR, namely the billet front suspension, which JR and Ian developed over countless FD seasons. “You can’t buy those parts to just put into any car, but because we are getting a full blown machine, these are all the spares for that car. This way we don’t have to use a V8 Supercar–sized transporter to transport the spares, and will pretty much keep it bolted to this car. If we bugger something, by the time one person can remove the broken part from one car, someone else can remove the spare from the other”.
There is also a bunch of RTR parts on the activation car that Joe Public can purchase through their Ford dealer — stuff like the front splitter, side skirts, and rear wing. Thanks to matching liveries applied and designed by the team at Frankensignz, the two cars will be close to matching, apart from the carbon and the comp car’s undeniable stance. “One car’s got a shit-ton of grip and the other is slippery,” Fanga says, though as yet he’s still to touch the early Christmas present en route to our shores.
As you can imagine, coming to grips with an all-new chassis and its associated bags of tricks will make for a steep learning curve for the FDC crew, but one they all relish. While the activation machine is yet to go on the scales, the comp machine weighs in at 1360kg. The fact the wheelbase is extremely close to an S-chassis will make Fanga’s job behind the wheel easier — a concept that should strike fear into the hearts of his competitors.
Until he’s come to grips with the new machine Ian will be on hand for a few events to teach the boys the ropes, but in the meantime you can be sure that Fanga will put this activation machine through its paces any chance he gets. With 500kW on tap and all the fruit it needs, even this machine is something to be feared.
To back the Coyote there’s a G-Force GSR four-speed, with custom flywheel and Tilton twin-plate clutch. The diff remains factory, albeit locked and with a set of Ford Performance Lifetime warranty axles
2017 Ford Mustang RTR
ENGINE: Ford Coyote, 5000cc, V8
BLOCK: 11.0:1 compression, high-flow oil pump, GT350 sump
INTAKE: Ford Performance intake, K&N filter
EXHAUST: XForce 17/8-inch four-into-one headers, twin three-inch stainless exhaust, XForce single muffler
SUPERCHARGER: Ford Performance 2300 kit
FUEL: JAZ fuel cell, Aeroflow high volume/low pressure lift pump, dual Aeroflow in-tank surge, Aeroflow fittings throughout
ECU: Ford Performance hot rod wiring kit and ECU
EXTRA: KRC hydraulic power-steering pump, Ford Performance rocker covers
GEARBOX: G-Force GSR, four-speed
CLUTCH: Tilton 7.25-inch twin-plate
FLYWHEEL: Custom flywheel
DIFF: Custom driveshaft, factory locked diff (3.5:1), Ford Performance lifetime warranty axles
STRUTS: Custom built and modified by Racelign
BRAKES: Tilton pedal box, braided lines, (F) factory six-pot Brembo calipers, 380x34mm rotors, (R) Wilwood handbrake caliper, custom bracket, ASD handbrake
EXTRA: S197 Mustang steering rack, RTR billet lock kit, CNC steering components, DKM roll cage
WHEELS: (F) 18x9.5-inch AUTOart VY, (R) 18x10.5-inch AUTOart VY
TYRES: (F) 235/40R18 Tri-Ace Racing King, (R) 265/35R18 Tri-Ace Racing King
PAINT: Factory Shadow Black
ENHANCEMENTS: RTR Spec 5D widebody; RTR front splitter, side skirts, rear caps, wing, rear garnish, and LED front grille; Lexan rear window; Frankensignz-designed and -applied livery using Computaleta vinyl
SEATS: OMP HTR, OMP six-point and four-point harness
STEERING WHEEL: OMP, Woodward quick-release
INSTRUMENTATION: Link Dash 2 Pro
EXTRA: Custom Mustang dash, Woodward steering column, Glasurit Magnetic Grey paint, three-piece rear parcel tray, double side intrusion six-point roll cage
POWER: 500kW (flywheel)
BOOST: 8 psi
FUEL: 98 octane
TUNER: CTB Performance
OCCUPATION: Century Batteries branch sales manager
BUILD TIME: Eight weeks
LENGTH OF OWNERSHIP: Eight weeks
THANKS: To all my brand partners, without their loyal support over the years, there’s no way I would be entering my 15th season of D1NZ competition; Century Batteries, Castrol Edge, Tri-Ace Tyres, BGW Wheels, XForce, Oversteer TV, Racelign, JFK Powersports, NAC, Frankensignz, Computaleta, Kaspa Transmissions, DKM, LKI Clothing. This season we welcome Karen, Colin, and Sam from CTB Performance, whose support over the past eight weeks has been phenomenal, not to mention their workshop facility, which is every man’s dream. To be officially being a part of the RTR family brings the biggest smile to my face, and I can only hope I do the team proud.
MY CREW: Logan, Casey, Jayden, Mike T, and Dad — these guys support me 110 per cent. There’s no way I could do it without them; last but not least, Nicole, who is the backbone of the team, I cannot thank her enough for all her hard work and efforts behind the scenes
This article originally appeared in NZ Performance Car issue No. 253 — to get your grubby mitts on a copy, click the cover below