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The anatomy of... a winter-spec Lada drifter

21.02.2020

In Russia, and especially in the country’s drifting capital of Siberia, a 900 horsepower Nissan Sylvia S14 or Toyota Supra is rather pointless on snow and ice. So why not replace them with the most Russian car imaginable? A classic Lada. However, don’t be fooled… these are definitely not your typical Soviet relics.

The anatomy of... a winter-spec Lada drifter

These Ladas are far from stock

The Russian Winter Drift Battle is an extremely popular discipline for drifters to compete in during the off season while they leave their fire breathing summer cars in the workshop. While those cars are hibernating, they drift various models of Ladas in all forms of trim ranging from 2102 to 2105s. But much like their summer drift cars these things are far from stock. Our media crew had the chance to get behind the wheel of one of Russian drift legend Gregory “Gocha” Chivchyan’s own Ladas to see what’s what.

These Ladas are far from stock

The engine

Back in the day Ladas came in small displacement four-cylinder units, ranging between 1100 to 1500cc. These drift cars are fitted with the 1.7 and 1.8-litre blocks from the Lada Niva 4x4. The mods didn’t stop there: a revised cylinder head, lightweight pistons and valves, Weber carburettors and higher compression ratio all help these cars produce 120hp.

The engine

Gearbox

Most cars feature a fortified four-speed gearbox but some of them even run sequential transmissions for lightning-quick gear changes.

Gearbox

Brakes and tyres

For gaining speed and maintaining momentum all cars run studded tyres. Unlike the cars we’ve encountered in e-Trophée Andros, these Ladas wear smaller road-going rubber. The studded tyres help the car reach drift initiation speeds of over 90kph. Most cars have been fitted with front disc brakes and rear drum brakes to help get them sideways.

Brakes and tyres

Interior

They feature a fully stripped interior, though this car did come with a proper backseat. How luxurious! In the front you’ll find two snug buckets to keep you in place while you skid about. The 2103 Lada we tested featured electrical power steering and a hydraulic handbrake.

Interior

‘Plexiglass’ side wing

The car we tested was a sedan that was fitted with a rather bizarre aerodynamic device: a piece of plexiglass that gives it the same aerodynamic drag as an estate. Throughout the years drifting Lada drivers and mechanics discovered that the estate car proved to be much more controllable in a slide than a sedan. The larger plexiglass panel gives it the necessary drag – as well as the estate shape.

‘Plexiglass’ side wing

Ballast

Most cars feature ballast at the rear as they are quite light. The back of the car is often weighted down with spare batteries or fitness weights to gain more traction at the rear axle.

Ballast
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