Justin Pawlak And StangTV Team Up For S197 Drift Car Project

If you’ve followed coverage of Formula Drift here on StangTV or elsewhere, you likely know the name Justin Pawlak. This Falken Tire and Ford Racing backed drifting superstar has been tearing things up in the drifting world for the past four years in his green and blue Mustang. It might surprise you to learn however, that up until recently JTP has never owned a street going Mustang of his own.

Pawlak with his 2006 GT, believe it or not this is the first street going Mustang he’s personally owned.

With continued backing from Ford, Falken, ROUSH and others, JTP felt it was time to build a street/drift Mustang of his own that would reflect his personal style and would also allow him to showcase his sponsors on and off the track. “I feel like since I drive a Mustang in competition that it’s time to get one as well to drive on the street”, said Pawlak.

With that being said Pawlak has teamed up with StangTV to help him create a street going drift machine, capable of carrying him comfortably on his daily business, but also able to pull off impressive smokey tire sideways action at tracks around the country. “I want this to be a street legal drift car, but something I can take to the track and have fun with as well,” says Pawlak.

Pawlak says he primarily wanted to get a S197 Mustang in his shop, and found a deal on a stock 2006 model that fit the bill perfectly. He also said with all the promotion of parts for brand new Mustangs he felt it was important to help his partner and sponsor companies promote parts that will fit older Mustangs as well.

The Build

Pawlak wants a car that closely reflects the D1 Street Legal class from Japan. Having been heavily influenced by this Japanese born sport, Pawlak is looking to blur that line between race car and street machine. In D1 Street Legal, which is not raced in the USA, cars are more street oriented, they aren’t gutted, don’t run straight-cut gear transmissions and are often driven to and from the track.

Obviously with any drifting project horsepower is going to be key to getting the car to move at the speeds desired, and keep the rear tires spinning. So expect to see some major horsepower improvements under the hood. While we haven’t finalized all of the project details, expect the final power numbers to be in the 600-plus hp range, and we’ll have project updates and articles detailing all the parts to go along with making that type of power.

“The S197 platform is so good as a drift capable platform that it’s really not going to be too hard to go further with this project and add the drift-specific parts to it making it that much better of a drift car,” says JTP.

While horsepower will be key, there’s many other aspects to this build that will also need to be addressed. JTP’s car will need to have a transmission, clutch, and differential combination that can handle the power output of the engine, and provide him with the proper control aspects as he takes the car sideways. Adding angle to the steering will also be key. JTP has a close relationship with Racetech services, who’s owner serves as his Formula D crew chief, and plans to work directly with them to develop a knuckle package for this car that will give it more angle than stock. Suspension will be another key to the puzzle, getting the car to remain stable at speeds and under conditions that Ford never intended from the factory.

While function is important JTP is also planning appearance upgrades, like the rest of the car, he hasn’t fully nailed down the look yet, but expect it to be something that expresses his personal style, and casts positive light on his sponsors.

We’re excited to be the first Mustang magazine to have a drift car project car and can’t wait to start digging in with JTP. Keep watching as we begin to develop a modifications road map for this Mustang build.

About the author

Don Creason

Don Creason is an automotive journalist with passions that lie from everything classic, all the way to modern muscle. Experienced tech writer, and all around car aficionado, Don's love for both cars and writing makes him the perfect addition to the Power Automedia team of experts.
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