From the very infancy of import drag racing through to the current high-stakes, big-dollar world of professional Formula D competition, this week's Tuned In podcast guest has been at the forefront of it all.
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Stephan Papadakis joins us from Los Angeles for a great, in-depth conversation on a wide range of interesting topics, starting with his origin story that begins with a gig sweeping floors at an engine building shop.
Stephan then goes on to discuss the very early days of import racing — a time that saw his fledgling business, Papadakis Racing, go from complete unknown to household name within the burgeoning scene. Predictably, that means talking about fast Hondas.
After a few years spent setting and resetting records on the quartermile, Stephan and his team saw an opportunity to jump into something entirely different when the US drift scene began to explode. The Papadakis Racing team was at the very crest of the wave, pushing just what was possible further and further, and Stephan talks us through that progression from glorified street car to the current crop of 1000hp+ grip monster FD machines.
Host Andre Simon hones in one particular topic of interest — the development of Toyota's humble 2.5-litre 4-cylinder 2AR engine and its use in pro-level drifting. This turns into a pretty deep dive into the long process of taking an everyday motor and turning it into not just a competitive FD engine, but a championship-winning one too. How did he make the power, and more importantly, how did he make it reliable?
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Finally, the discussion then turns to the BMW B58 straight-six, as found in the Papadakis Racing Toyota GR Supra piloted by Fredric Aasbø. Stephan was one of the first guys in the aftermarket to get his hands on — and tear down — one of these motors and he has a lot to say about the B58's general design and construction, as well as how to extract big power from it.
This episode is an excellent dive into the world of Papadakis Racing, and there's a whole lot of in-depth knowledge to be found for anyone who's interested in making cars go fast, reliably.
If you haven't already, check out our episode with Stephan's driver Fredric Aasbø here: https://hpcdmy.co/aasbo
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