Posts Tagged ‘Crawford Performance’

Our old friend, Ken Block is hosting the Gymkhana Grid event this weekend and they made this funny little video. There will be several Subarus in attendance including Crawford Performance,Stephan Verdier, and Thomas Smith from Subaru of Las Vegas.

Check it out!

Well, the Formula Drift season has now finished and our favorite Subie Driver in the Formula Drift field has called it a season. We contacted our friend, Stephan Verdier driver of the Crawford Performance STi. We got a chance to talk to him about his season in Formula Drift, Rally Cross, XGames Rally, and the future.


Q: Stephan, thanks for joining back with us at! The Formula Drift season just ended for you and it’s been quite a busy one for you. What were the highlights of the season for you?

A: Thank you for having me back. To answer your question, unfortunately I don’t have any highlights in drifting this season. I had my worst season in 5 years. I made a lot of driving errors and mechanical failures. I’m kind of glad that the season is over so I can regroup and get ready for next season.

Q: Your car debuted at Long Beach Round 1 as an Iron Man 2 car, then made a few changes to a multi-color rally car, then back to a drift car. What was that experience like, having to change your Subaru so many times this season?

A: Yes, I was fortunate to get a sponsorship with Royal Purple for the movie Iron Man 2. It only was a deal for the first 2 races (in Formula Drift). Then I got invited to compete at the X-games in the Rallycross event. Since my deal with Iron Man2 was finished I decided to redo the scheme on my car, and keep it for the rest of the FD season. It was really fun to transform the car back and forth between drifting and rally. It’s much easier than people think, I only changed the suspension, transmission, turbo and brakes. The rest of the car was the same as drifting. Here’s a breakdown on what I did:
  • The suspension we went from Stance to Tein because Tein has been in rally for a long time and has a fantastic rally gravel suspension, then went back to the Stance for drifting
  • Gear box, Crawford performance landed me a  AWD Kaps sequential gearbox for the x-games. Sequential is a must in rally cross. I normally use a stock Sti box in drifting
  • Turbo, Garrett gave me a twin scroll that with the help of Crawford we install to replace the Garrett GT30 that use in drifting.
  • Brake, because we use 15 inch tire for gravel, I need smaller brake than the stock STI to fit the wheel, I used with the help of Subaru of Ontario stock wrx brakes.
  • To finish Crawford did a remap of the stock Ecu for the new turbo and GTI made some bumper and skid plates.

Q: I think everyone (including myself) was cheering for you to win at XGames in the Super Rally. What was that experience like for you to compete against factory supported vehicles? How did it feel to be door to door in a Rally Cross setting?
A: X-Games was my highlight of the season. It was unbelievable!!!. It was a surprise that we were that competitive. I knew driving wise I was as fast as the factory driver. Where I was the most worried, was about my car. Like I said that car was made for drifting and I had no experience in Rallycross. All the Euro-rally cross cars  made around 650hp on a 2L engine with a 45mm restrictor. I was using a 2.5L engine with a 45mm restrictor and was hopping to be around 500hp. I was confident with Crawford being involve since they’ve been making massive power on there 2.7L with the Time attack car however they never played with a restrictor, so I was a bit nervous. Crawford was able to make over 500 hp and be reliable.I was still under power over the other rallycross cars but because of the 10 inches tire rule, I knew that the Ford or Factory Suby wouldn’t be able to use their full power on gravel.
Everybody had anti-lag and launch control but I didn’t since I was still on my stock ecu. I knew the event was going to be tough.
It was a huge surprise when we qualified 2nd overall. The only guy that beat me was Travis (Pastrana) which has a purposely build Subaru XGames car.
Racing door to door in a stadium with cars screaming was amazing, I’m hooked on rallycross.
Q: What was the highlight for XGames for you?
A: The whole XGames was the highlight! Qualifying 2nd, winning my heat against (Ken) Block and (Dave) Mirra, bouncing off (Brian) Deagan on my first lap, and Catching Tanner (Foust) in our heat! Everything.
Q: As one of the few privateers in Formula Drift, how hard (or easy) is it for you to have to try and conserve funds for each event?
A: It’s really hard to compete in FD (Formula Drift) as a privateer, if you want to be competitive. Fortunately with the sponsorship of Subaru and Royal Purple I was able to do it, but it still cost me a lot of money. That’s the problem with FD now, it’s too expensive to have a competitive car and impossible to do it as a privateer. You might be able to get 1 decent result in the season but won’t be able to be competitive at every event. Cars now are really light and really powerful. The top cars are around 2500 pounds with 650 hp. Only a couple years back you just needed 400hp with a 2700 pounds car to win.
Q: In Vegas you experienced a pretty intense crash but we saw your car again recently at Sonoma and then Irwindale and it looks fine! How were you able to pull that off?
A: Las Vegas was an expensive weekend. I made a big mistake and destroyed the rear end of my car. I was able to buy a rear clip for $500 and take it to my body shops M.O.B.S in Anaheim, CA. They cut my car in half and welded the rear clip on. The car was fixed a week after the crash. 

Q: What new things did you learn from this Season of Formula Drift?

A: That I need a v8 and a light car. The level of driving is way higher than in 2009, same for the cars. I can’t do it as a privateer again. I will need to be part of a team to make it.
Q: Everyone wants to know, will you keep your current STi or go with the new Sedan?
A: In drifting I really doubt that I’ll be in a Subaru for next season. It’s not really the right type of racing for Subaru, as their “thing” is AWD. So, I don’t think I’ll be able to get any support from them (for next season). Also the Subaru platform is not ideal for drifting. You need a real RWD car to be competitive or spend a fortune to make the Suby work. I was able to get away with mine because the other cars were not as developed as they are now. But if Subaru want me to, I would love to do a new STI. I tried last year but couldn’t get the funding for it.
Q: Formula Drift for 2011? What about the new Rally Car series which is rumored to come around the West Coast next year?
A: 2011 Formula Drift, as right now, I don’t have any plan for it. I really want to be in it for 2011 but need to find a team. I can’t afford to do it as a privateer again. Rallycross, I want to be part of it too. My first plan is to drive for a team, I’m talking to 3 teams right now, hopefully I can make it happen. At worst I can use my car for selected West Coast Events. I think by SEMA will know the exact schedule and tv package. 

Q: Who would like to thank that helped you out?
A: There is lot of people that helped me this season: Subaru, Cooper Tires, Crawford Performance, Royal Purple, GTI, Stance, Tein, Garrett, RMR, Enkei, Ignite Fuel, Seibon, APR, I-Speed, and Subaru of Ontario.

Thank you Stephan for your time. Hopefully we can do a feature on your Subie!


I recently received a call from Stephan Verdier, a professional Rally Driver, Professional Race Car driver, and Pro-Level Drifter telling me that if I wanted to talk to him about his XGames entry, Drifting Career, and his overall professional Driving experience. It’s interesting on what I received from him and this should really add one more driver on the list to root for at XGames 16 in Los Angeles, CA.

Q. Stephan, you’ve been around racing for quite some time and people may have heard your name from multiple backgrounds. Please tell me about your history in racing and around cars in general.

I started in Open Wheel (racing) by winning a US driver search for Bridgestone. I did a full season of F200 in Canada. Next I moved to Rally, started with Mazda 323 GTX then I built my first 2002 WRX. I won  a few championship and races in the US Rally chamionship. I won the Pikes Peak hillclimb in 2 different class driving a Subaru and now I competing in the Formula Drift championship with a 2006 STI.

Q. Wow, that sounds like a great way to get into racing! So, what is your history with Subaru and why have you picked the Impreza as your motorsports platform?

I always loved Subaru. Since i build my first one, they are easy to work on and really strong. I choose the STI for drifting to be different, also my original plan was to use the car for drifting and rally. Team Orange was running a Subaru and was doing really good so I knew the platform was good.

Q. How did you make your transition into Professional Drifting and how have you been doing so far in the season?

Two of my friends from rally, Rhys Millen and Tanner Foust, introduced me to drifting. It’s a completely different style of driving that demand a all new bag of skills to be good at it. It was a new challenge for me. So far this season, I’ve been in the top 16 drivers in the US for the past 3 years. This season is not too bad, I had a few set back with mechanical failure but otherwise it pretty good.

Q. Being one of two Subarus in Drifting, how have the Subaru fans been treating you since the Subaru community is so tightly knit at each event?

The Subaru fans at the drift event love the cars. There are more and more Subaru fans coming to the events. I wish we had more Subies competing.

Q. What have been some interesting stories from your racing history?

When you are a privateer every weekend, is filled with good stories, from borrowing suspension from a Fan’s STI at a rally event to able me to finish and win the event, to changing an axle in less than 5 minute by myself at a drift event during competition with my helmet on.

Q. Wow, you so work on your car your self too! Recently, I saw a images and video from New Jersey when the wheel / knuckle coming off of your car, that was insane! What happened?

I broke and axle outer shaft during the run witch let the whell bearing loose, nothing was holding the wheel in place anymore and it left the car.

Q. What has been your most memorable moment in racing with your Subaru(s)?

Winning Pikes Peak and my first drifting event in Sonoma.

Q. How did the idea of taking your Formula Drift Drift car and entering it into X Games come about?

I always wanted to drive that car in drifting and rally. When I first built it, I did it as if I was doing a rally car. I have a full WRC rally cage in it, and reinforce shock towers. So going from drifting to x-games seems natural.

Q. Recently you have picked up interesting sponsors for drifting that we haven’t really seen before such as Iron Man 2, how did that happen?

It was done through Royal Purple. Royal Purple was sponsoring the Stark Team in the movie and as part of the promotion for the movie, Royal Purple did the same thing with a few real race team under the Iron Man2 and Royal Purple name. It’s great that new sponsor outside the car industry to be involved. I think for movie studios it’s a really cheap way to get cool exposure. I hope more studios will do the same.

Q. Tell us about your new sponsors for the X Games Rally including Subaru of Ontario and how the new sponsors have helped you prepare for the X Games?

Most of my sponsors for X-games are the same as drifting. Few are not part of it because of budget but fortunately i was able to replace them by new one like Subaru of Ontario. In drifting I can’t use sponsorship from dealer since I’m sponsor by Subaru of America (SOA), but for Xgames SOA has their own team and don’t sponsor me, which make me able to approached dealers. Subaru of Ontario is a new dealership with big plans for motorsports. There are able to do a parts sponsorship for me for the XGames which helps a lot with all the new parts that I need to get. Subaru dealerships have always been good helping me with motorsports.

Q. Have you had a chance to test out the Subaru at all in its rally set up?

We are still working on the car at Costa Gialamas shop GTI. We should be finish with all the fabrication in a day or 2, then the car will go to Crawford Performance for a new engine, sequential transmission, ECU, and differential control. Testing is plan for next week, I can’t wait.

Q. There are major differences from Drift to Rally and vice versa, how have you prepared your Impreza for this and how have you dealt with the regulations and limitations that Rally has compared to drifting?

Subaru drifting is not to hard. All you have to do is make it Rear Wheel Drive and you’re set. I took the front differential out of the gearbox and welded the center diff. I’ve been running the stock gear box and a welded OEM rear diff for 4 years now and we make 580 hp at the wheels. I run Stance suspension, unrestricted Crawford Performance engine and Ignite racing Bio-fuel. We have to use DOT tires, I use Cooper RS3, GT3071 Garrett turbo, RPF1 Enkei wheels. I also modified the front uprights to get more steering angle, i have about 47 degrees of steering angle. One the thing I also did is put the radiator in the trunk, I was getting a lot of heat issue in the stock location. We you drift the car is sideways all the time and there is no air going into the radiator, by putting it in the trunk the air goes trought the rear window straight to the radiator. No more heating problem and the weight distribution is better.

Rally is a bit more complicated, first we need TEIN WRC rally suspension, skid plates for engine and fuel tank, than we have to run a 45mm restrictor. So we needed a special turbo from Garrett. We also have a minimum weight for rally 3000 lbs with driver. The car currently is 2700 lbs. in drift mode since there is no weight limit in drifting, unfortunately. Thanks to Crawford we are able to get the best of the engines with both set of rules. I’ll be running a All Wheel Drfive sequential gear box, anti-lag, launch control and flat shift. Also, I have to run the OEM roof and driver side door. It’s all carbon on my drift car during drifting so that will have be switched up. We will also be using Enkei rally wheels, same clutch from Clutch Master for both series, same fuel, body and yes a different wing since there are rules on how big the wing can be. Different size brake to fit 15 ro 17 inches wheel. We still run Cooper tire but now the rallycross tire.

Q. Any plans with you stepping into the GRB Chassis Impreza or even the new STi sedan as a competition vehicle?

I wanted to do a GRB for this season of drifting but couldn’t get the budget for it. I hope that for next year I can get the budget to do a new STI.

Q .This is your chance to really thank those who have helped you with your racing career and sponsors. Who would you like to thank?

There are so many to thank. Crawford Performance they have been with me from the beggining, Subaru, Cooper tires, GTI, Turbo by Garrett, Royal Purple,Clutch Masters, Tein, Stance, Enkei, Sparco, Rhys Millen, Seibon, APR performance,Ignite Fuel, I-speed, Subaru of Ontario and Timmons Subaru.

Thank you Stephan for talking to and thank you for living the Subie Life! We will be cheering you on at the up coming X Games!