“It’s not a rally car Steven!” – An interview with Steven Redd

Guest Blogger
Over the last few months I have been collecting pictures and becoming closer with Mr. Steven Redd. This guy is really diving in and taking all of us at the track by surprise, coming from gravel roads in the middle of nowhere to the pavement to destroy some tires! I met Steven back in late 2017 as he was taking his new Nameless Performance s13 out for its early shakedown practices at Spirit Peaks Raceways. Seeing how much Steven has grown in the last four months has been amazing. He is really grasping the feel for his car and is starting to put it all out there. I am excited to follow him through his first Pro Am season at Evergreen Speedway. I had the opportunity to interview Steven about his transformation from rally to drift and get to know more about his upcoming season. Here is how the conversation went:

OMG: Why did you decide to drift this season over rally?

Steven: I felt like I was near the top of rally when I was at my prime and I wanted to master another form of motorsport. Being around drifting as much as I was with working at Formula Drift made it look like a lot of fun, so I built this thing to see what it was all about.

OMG: So give me a basic run down of your car!

Steven:  It is a 1993 S13 Hatch with a N/A LS1, makes like 400whp, 350z Transmission, 350z welded rear diff and axles. Nothing too fancy there. It’s just a basic set up, nothing too crazy about it. Built the car myself. I was trying to keep it as simple as possible and reliable. I went with a full mil spec wiring harness from Unicorn Garage to have the reliability and never have an issue. All the electronics are all Motec. Motec C125 Dash, Motec M84 ECU, and Motec PDM15 with keypad. Super simple and lightweight.
OMG: So far while you’re settling down into your new car, what has been the major differences between the sports? What habits have you had to break?

Steven: Cutting corners, shooting through the apex. That really doesn’t work in drifting which I found out the hard way at PARC. Overcoming that and taking the wide lines and trying to get to the clipping points, that’s not usually what you aim for in rally. The steering angle is weird, it just keeps going, I’m not used to that at all. I’m used to a car with stock steering angle. The timing of getting on the gas is different than rally. In drifting you are pretty much on the throttle the whole time where as in rally you are on and off through the corners hitting the late apex and getting on the gas late through the corner. In drifting you need to be on the gas through the apex. Learning that is weird. It’s going to be weird jumping back into a rally car and trying to huck it in like this thing!

OMG: Do you feel more relaxed out here on a track without so many obstacles around you?

Steven:  Yes, that is the one thing about rally is that it is super stressful because any second you could kill yourself where as in drifting, from where I have driven so far, there isn’t really anything that can hurt me so that’s nice and takes a lot of stress off that lets me really focus on my driving.
OMG: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment as a driver?

Steven: My biggest accomplishment as a driver would probably be two things. One back in 2015 at the Oregon trail where I was driving my 130hp AWD Impreza and popped an engine. Did an engine swap that night then landed myself on the overall podium the next day beating a bunch of AWD turbo charged cars! My second biggest accomplishment was again at the 2017 Oregon Trail rally where I was piloting the Nameless BRZ. We out right won 2WD, beating the guy in second by almost a full minute and finished fifth overall behind the likes of Travis Pastrana and David Higgins. After the race I remember Travis running up and telling me how good I did and that he was impressed I could drive that insane car that fast.  Felt pretty cool!

OMG: Tell me more about working on a Formula Drift crew for years, what was your job for the team? What was your favorite experience?

Steven: Working at FD is always a good time.  Traveling and seeing rad cities is pretty cool and being able to hang out and drink beers with all the FD drivers is also pretty awesome.  My job there was crew on Tuerck’s car. Typically I took care of the rear end of the car making sure it was always solid and ready to go!

OMG: How did you get into rally?

Steven: Back in like 2010 I went and watched a local rallycross event, basically it was autocross but in a field. It looked like way to much fun so I bought my self a car and did that for a few years before getting the bug to do stage rally, and my first stage rally was in 2013! Just went up hill from there.
OMG: Who is your biggest inspiration? Who do you look up to?

Steven: I’m inspired by a lot of people in the rally/drifting world. One person who I do admire and look up to and who kind of made me want to get into drifting would probably by Ryan Tuerck. Seeing how he started in grassroots back in the day and to see where he is now making a solid living off the sport got the bug in me to start drifting and try and accomplish the same thing.

OMG: Rumor has it you’re working on a new STI chassis and possibly running some events again, tell me more about the build and where you want to take it.

Steven: So I did just pick up a new project car for rally! It will be a WRC inspired 06 STI with all the bells and whistles. If all goes well, I may have it going by the end of the 2018 season and hopefully be able to do a shake down event or two, but time will tell! I’m pretty excited to get back in an AWD car after driving 2wd the last two years. I’ve learned so much about car control driving a 2WD car on gravel that when I get back in AWD I should be a rocket. 2WD on gravel is tough. It shows you every little mistake you do while in AWD most mistakes can be ignored since you have the AWD system to pull you out of a bad corner.

OMG: Which do you prefer: the Nameless BRZ or the Nameless 240sx?

Steven: That’s a tough one! The BRZ is just crazy and almost scary to drive as it wants to kill you on every corner.  You have to drive that thing basically pissed off and mad at it or it’s not happy and won’t perform well. So that was always a pleasure, plus driving a sequential transmission with 400hp on gravel is just stupid fun! Now the 240sx is a different kind of fun also having 400hp and like, 60 degrees of steering angle makes for some wild times. The two driving styles are drastically different so it’s hard to pick a favorite.
OMG: Introduce us to your 2018 team! Who’s spotting for you? Who’s managing?

Steven: Still working on getting a team together for 2018 and nothing is finalized yet. Working on figuring out everyone’s schedules! Hopefully I will be working with one of my sponsors, Unicorn Garage aka Brian Hartsock to be my spotter.  He has been Tuerck’s spotter for years and has tons of knowledge. He’s like my Yoda. Then for my crew chief I’ll be having my good friend and long time service crew, Matt Turner, who has helped me in rally for numerous years and was also Chris Forsberg’s lead tech for the 2017 FD Season. After that I have a couple buddies that want to help, still locking all that down!

OMG: Anyone you want to thank or give a shout out to?

Steven: I would like to thank Unicorn Garage for the super reliable and clean wiring harness. John Reed Racing for the amazing tune and support. Nameless Performance for letting me use their shop to build this thing. Racers Division for the killer wrap job.
As I have said before, I am excited to see Steven grow into this Motorsport we have all come to love and see where he can chase this! He definitely has the courage and driving skill, now it’s up to him to put it all together and have a fantastic season! I can’t wait to check back with Steven as the season progresses and maybe even sit down to talk about how the season went when it comes to a close! Good luck buddy! You’re going to kill it!
Words and photos by Austin Wasmund

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“It’s not a rally car Steven!” – An interview with Steven Redd