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Heavy Metal Affliction - Ryan Tuerck

John Schommer
Thursday, November 20, 2014

A single moment of awesome that adds to the dramatic and scintillating cinematic introduction to Forza Horizon 2 helped us make a newfound friend in the world of Formula Drift, Ryan Tuerck. Tuerck is staple in the world of FD and a member of the original “Drift Alliance” made up of Tuerck, Chris Forsberg, Vaughn Gitten Jr., and Tony Angelo. But Tuerck is more than just a top FD driver, he is a personality that contributes to the lifestyle of drifting.


In this edition of HMA, we take a look at a few recent episodes of his YouTube series “Tuerck’D,” and get some of the deets about what it’s like to drift for a living. We will also learn about his latest build, a killer street drifting Scion FRS.


First off, let’s set the stage with the video that brought Tuerck and T10 together in the first place. Originally our friend Rob Primo – aka the #tallestguyindrifting -- shared this shoot with me and, I in turn shared it with you in RVM. Check out the pair drifting The Ultimate Dream Road.



Tuerck and the Network A crew travel to some incredible shoot locations for episodes of “Tuerck’D.” They are always hanging out with cool folks and mixing drifting with other genres of extreme sports bravado.


In this particular episode, Tuerck hung out at Camp Woodward, a place where you can learn anything from gymnastics to how to be the next X-Games BMX or skateboarding champion. Tuerck originally got his love of extreme sports building BMX jumps with his friends and brothers. In the episode, the Street FRS gets a good shakedown around campus and at a local private track.



When your friends are pro drifters like 2014 Formula Drift Champion Chris Forsberg and top FD drivers like Matt Field and Pat Goodin, having a bit of fun at the track can turn into a friendly competition.


In a recent episode, shot at Texas Speedway – one of the circuits of the FD season – these guys find out who can nail the fastest entry speed, achieve a backwards entry, pull a 360 entry, and maintain a “no-hands Manji” the longest.


For the record, I have been wanting to see the 360 entry – or exit – as something new to add to the bag of tricks drivers have to draw from in FD. It’s super cool to see it being put in to action. Imagine that move being done in tandem. That would be so sick!



So, if you like what you see, subscribe to Network A and check out the rest of the season of Tuerck’D. A new episode just came out yesterday. You don’t have to be a fan of the drifting – sorry, been watching too much Teen Titans Go -- to dig these four-wheeled antics but, it might end up making you one if you aren’t already.


Now that you are primed, check out the HMA interview with the man himself, Ryan Tuerck.


HMA: I am going to go out on a limb here and assume you have your dream job as a FD pro, hosting your own show, and basically doing cool stuff all the time. What is it like to be where you are in your career in 2014?


RT: It’s a very satisfying point but, no doubt it is the hardest I have ever worked in my life. Filming for “Tuerck’D” is a lot of fun but, there is a ton of work behind it, getting all the logistics setup and prepared for our shoot days. We never have enough time or money for mistakes, so preparation is essential so that it all goes smoothly and according to plan. On top of that, I am juggling the management efforts in Formula Drift with Portland Speed Industries who put in an incredible amount of time and energy making sure our Scion FRS is on track and progressing every time I get behind the wheel. I do have to say that each year is bigger and better. There is always a constant progression and that is what I aim for, making things bigger, better, and more fun no matter how much time and energy it takes.


Tuerck has long been a fan favorite as an FD pro


HMA: Where do you see yourself stacking up among the top FD drivers? Are you still working on nailing a championship? Have there been barriers that have stopped you from owning the championship thus far?


RT: Every year gets better. Especially developing a new chassis such as the FRS. To win a championship in FD, everything has to be perfect: Car, team, parts, sponsors; all the elements have to be working together. We have had barriers non-stop while developing a new platform and fine tuning our setup, but we are constantly seeing progression and, the Portland Speed Industries crew has been doing an awesome job making sure that is happening. We are hoping we have all the right things in place this offseason so, we can make a good run at a championship in 2015.


HMA: You drove a Pontiac Solstice in FD in 2008; how does this car compare to a more typical drift car like the standby 240? Was it more of a challenge to drive, or was it advantageous?


RT: I drove the Solstice from 2008-2010 for Gardella racing and it was an awesome car. We almost won the championship in 2009 in the Solstice, only losing to Forsberg by five points in the end. At first, it was more difficult to drive, since, the wheelbase and track width of the car was much shorter and much wider. It makes the car a lot more twitchy and prone to straightening, so, it took some time to get used to but, it was a phenomenal car to drive, that was really well prepared by my crew at the time, Scott Davidson and Mike Whitney.


Tuerck’s new street FRS was specially built to shred tires for Tuerck’D episodes


HMA: So, tell me how long you have been working on the new street FRS? What has gone into the build so far, and how much further are you going to take it?


RT: The build didn't take too long but, the amount of hours all concentrated into about 10 weeks was intense. My friend and incredibly talented fabricator Dominic Biro of @Dominant_Engineering was the brains behind most of the build. I told him what I wanted to do and what parts we were going to use but, besides that, everything else was his vision. Dom has an incredible eye for fabrication and how to tie an entire car build together. He did every bit of welding and fab to the car and I have to say it turned out better than I ever could have imagined.


Overall the build took about 10 grueling weeks where Dominic and I spent nonstop 16 hour days on the car. In between, I was still filming for Tuerck'D and competing in Formula Drift. It was a super-hectic schedule that I never want to put myself through ever again. I have to thank my friend Brian Hartsock, who came through with the chassis harness in like three days turnaround time and it worked perfectly. Also, I'd like to thank Panic wire for a great job on the engine harness and my friend Mike Whitney for doing the install on both harnesses and having it all tied up nicely.


The last final push of the build, Dominic and I spent 75 hours straight with no sleep finishing things up so that it could get dyno'd at RT Tuning with a remote tune from Jason at Portland Speed Industries. Seriously, this build pushed us to the breaking point.


Having a rest after leaving its mark all over the Camp Woodward campus


HMA: How hands on have you been in the build? What sponsors have contributed the most to its progress?


RT: There were a ton of my personal sponsors and friends that stepped up to help with the build of the car. The biggest being Dominic from @Dominant_Engineering. Mishimoto, Brian Crower, Turbo by Garrett, Portland Speed Industries, Recaro seats, Takata Belts, Elite JDM, Disc Brakes Australia, Radium Engineering, Deatsch werks Injectors and fuel pumps, Wisefab suspension and steering kit, Driveshaft shop axles and driveshaft, CIP motorsports, RT Tuning, Advanced Clutch Technology, Rennline, VPracing Fuels, Panic wire, Biddie spec wiring, Tra kyoto, Rocket Bunny, Fifteen52, WD ultimate auto Body located in Long Island NY.


HMA: Tell me about your initial impressions of the street FRS once you finally got some seat time?


RT: The first time I actually burned tires in the car was on the first East coast episode of Tuerck'D I still had my fingers crossed, and we were still clearancing fenders and body parts for steering just before we hit the track for the initial shakedown. Thank god everything worked, and worked really well the first time out because, I had nothing left in the tank to continue working on the car. The next day we filmed at Camp Woodward and put it to the real test. She did awesome and I was stoked. I haven't had time to drive it much since, but, there are a few more events here in the northeast I plan on attending before parking it for the winter.


HMA: What feedback have you gotten about the car so far from those who have had a chance to see it?


RT: Everybody is blown away by the fabrication work from Dominant Engineering and the overall build quality. The only thing people are iffy on is the front wheel poke which we didn't have time to address before our deadline. The car will be getting Fifteen 52 3-Piece wheels with proper offsets and wider front fender to ensure it has some nice lip. Other than that, I want to finish up the interior with a nice kick panel, windows, some sound deadening, wipers, and get some things powder coated. Oh, and of course I need to turn the boost up and see what she makes on 22-23 PSI. She is at 16PSI right now making 516WHP.



HMA: How much horsepower and boost does your FD FR-S car have? Is more horsepower always better or is there a functional peak?


RT: The FD FR-S makes 830WHP at the wheels with a Garrett GTX 4088R running 30PSI,[and] a Brian Crower 3.4 liter stroker 2JZ that was put together by Portland Speed Industries. There is definitely a functional peak in horsepower to where you’re not helping yourself at all and you’re just putting more stress on parts and your wallet.


Tearing it up in an eleven car “tandem” at the East Coast Bash 2014


HMA: The Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ, and its Toyota cousin seem to be the new go to car for drifting. How does it compare to the Nissan 240 in its outright drifting bones?


RT: It is similar in some ways, but very different in most ways. The suspension design and wide front frame rails make it more difficult to develop a nice angle kit. Luckily there are companies like Wisefab who are willing to invest a lot of time and money sorting these things out, to better the chassis for drifters. I think the FRS/BRZ will be a car of choice even more so in the future. Once the aftermarket companies get the car sorted with proper parts to purchase for drifting, it will be as easy to build as the 240.


HMA: What makes the Nissan 240 such a perfect go-to car for drifting?


RT: It is almost like Nissan built it for drifting. The car basically drifts itself. The steering design makes it one of the easiest cars to manage sideways. The wheelbase is really good, and the aftermarket parts that are available for the car is incredible. All of the hard stuff that needs to be sorted out while building and developing a new chassis is already sorted and available for purchase by the aftermarket companies.

A view from the chase car while shooting on the Dream Road in Oregon


HMA: I just watched your Oregon Trail “Tuerck’D” episode again recently. What was that experience like?


RT: It was a tough shoot. We were dealing with weather and a wet road in the morning and we only had one day to get the entire video shot so we were stressing quite a bit. Luckily the sky opened up a bit and the road dried out as we got our first couple shots. It was an amazing experience overall and I really want to go back there at some point to have some more fun. Definitely one of those special roads that I will remember forever.


HMA: What would you say is the most important factor to be successful at professional drifting?


RT: The most important factor besides results and performance, is marketability and giving your sponsors the return on investment that they are looking for. Unless you are independently wealthy, then you need sponsors to help support your professional efforts. So it is important that you as a driver and spokesperson for these companies understand the brand and product as well as how to represent it as a driver.


HMA: Any advice for aspiring drifters who dream of living the drift life like you do?


RT: Everybody has to start somewhere, and you don’t want to put too much pressure on yourself to get to the pro level. First and foremost it has to be fun. If you’re not having fun with it then you’re not doing it for the right reasons.


Tuerck makes life in front of the camera look easy, but it’s hard work


Sounds like good advice! Thanks for the great responses Ryan.


Got a favorite episode of Tuerck’D you want to call out? Comments about drifting, or what you like about Tuerck’s new FRS? Post about it in the HMA thread.