Home » Andrew Tippett – A Grassroots Drifting Obsession, Mazda FC RX-7

Andrew Tippett – A Grassroots Drifting Obsession, Mazda FC RX-7

The ability to manoeuvre from one turn to the other, focusing and synchronizing countersteer while using the clutch, gear, throttle, brakes, and steering gives you the basis of a drift. Evaluating the weight balance of the drift car while eloquently skidding around the turns makes this sport the perfect harmony between arts and science. Grassroots, pay heed and always pay respect to this word. This is where it all starts. Saving every penny, gathering all your patience and burning all your sweat are just some of the traits you require if you wish to step into grassroots drifting. You have to be passionate and obsessed about it.

Today’s special blog is the story of passion, obsession and determination of an individual who lives and breathes for the sports of drifting. Andrew Tippett.

Hi, Andrew. Tell us about yourself, where and how did it all begin?

Hello, Hassan. it all started watching Adam Richards attacking Pukekohe’s 200KPH sweeper. I was watching and thought to myself – that looks like a hell of a lot of fun.! This is where the obsession began. Seeing the smiles, the smoke, the noise; it all appealed to me. Everything began with a street car – a 1989 Nissan Cefiro which I learnt to drift in. This car was daily driven for the first few years before I had enough courage to put my pride and joy on the track – and what a great learning curve it was. I knew I always wanted any sort of V8 and as I became more comfortable on the track, I progressed to the LS1. An LS1 in a Japanese Chassis didn’t make me very popular – but if we were all the same, life would be boring – right?

True that. We are all eyes & ears now. The build, the specs of your Mazda FC RX-7, event participations, memories, anything that you’d like to share with us.

Video: Andrew’s FC RX-7 from NZ Summer Drift Matsuri 2017


The (Mazda) FC RX-7 came soon after my Nissan Cefiro. This was a bare shell, a fresh start – no rear subframe, nothing. I knew right from day one I wanted it to be V8. The ls1 engine that was previously installed in the Cefiro was then transplanted into the new FC shell. After almost 1 year of building the car, it was running. I just wanted to be back at the track where I feel the most comfortable. The build started on the 30th of June 2015. A long list of Partshop Max suspension upgrade was chosen as I ran some of their parts in the Cefiro and they were great. You could say the FC was a Partshop Max catalogue at this time and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

After the first few grassroot track days and its fair share of teething problems a cam and Garrett GT3582R Tubro were installed. The most recent dyno pull this setup made 316KW at the rear wheels and 800nm of torque. D2 suspension was added and the car feels great. This build will forever be ongoing as new technology presents itself and driver style gets better…hopefully!

Video: Dyno check

I’m am currently upgrading the cooling system as this has become an issue due to the turbo modification.


Driving the FC RX-7 for the first time wasn’t like anything I had experienced before. Driving a car that had been setup for the initial drifting purpose made it so easy. V8 + Turbo = Power on. All. The. Time. There were things to iron out, but all in all, the car exceeded my expectations.


My favourite thing about the car is how it teaches me something new each time I drive it. Whether it be to work on myself as a driver or minor alterations. It’s challenging but very controllable at the same time.


The team I have behind me is just a group of like minded mates who constantly keep pushing me and always helping out in some way. Thanks to Jason Ganley, Denzel Noble, Logan Cossil, Larni Jury, Shay Burkhart, Karl Giddy, Jai Ewens, Joel Butler, Liam Izzet, Luke Whittaker and anyone else who has been around to help out.

The companies who have helped me out are Mike Ekdayl at Diesel and Turbocharger Services for the rock solid tune on the car, Jonno Brunning from Brake and Clutch for all their help on the brake parts, Chris Trundle and Aleisha Tippett from Trundles Automotive for all the parts and fabrication, Craig Davis from Pro Tint for the tints and all his help, Kiley Jury from AVS for his advice and the rollcage. Thanks also to my family Barry Tippett, Deidre Tippett and Aleisha Tippett. The biggest thanks goes to my amazing fiancée Emah Smallman for her great support and always being my biggest fan and for not caring when I’m in the shed for hours.

Battle of the Rookies

The weekend was great. It started well but the weather did not play ball. As this was my first time at Manfeild, I took advantage of the two practice sessions to learn the track. I launched into the first corner only to be met with no grip – the car wasn’t phased as I pulled off the run and questioned my spotter to which he said I was on the right track but could do with more speed and angle. Both practice sessions came and went too quickly as I was still very unsure. The track was drying out and quite patchy.


I went out on my first run only to find I had no boost, the car could still complete the run so I went for it getting the section fairly right and hitting all the clipping points. Second run, I fixed the intercooler hose blowing off and had full boost back. Initiating the sweeper felt great. The switch, which I always worry about, was perfect. On the next switch, I went a little too hard sending me into a spin. I laughed my way back into the pits – not expecting a great qualifying result. Much to my surprise, I qualified 9th, which put me up against the 8th qualifier.

Battle 1:

He lead into the section and initiated the sweeper a little too hard and went off track but we both finished the section drifting right through. I was to lead next where I knew I had to calm myself to do what was necessary to get through the section, to which I completed spin free and hitting all the clipping points – I WON – the best feeling I had all weekend. What an exhilarating feeling. This was short lived as my next battle was up against the number one qualifier, which he lead with a solid run. I chased as hard as I could and felt I was right with him. My lead was as good as I could do, which unfortunately was not good enough as arriving into the pits was told I was not successful and he was to go through.

Battle of the Rookies: Incar Video

Never the less – I felt I did my best to get what the judges wanted, I kept my head held high. This is one of the most fun weekends I have had drifting for a long time, and my first proper battle. The atmosphere was amazing and there were so many like-minded people.

And here’s world’s first petrolhead puppy. 🙂

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