We have covered events all around the world, from the drag strips of Masterton (New Zealand) to street tracks of Long Beach (USA), we have seen and done it all. One of the best things about this car culture & motorsport experience is the opportunity to meet amazing and inspiring drivers from all over the world. Every driver, every team has a story of great struggle, hard work, and all this topped with an endless supply of passion. Today’s feature is one such aspiring individual.
Good day, Mårten. Let’s begin with a formal introduction.
Hey, my name is Mårten Stångberg and I am a 27 year old drifter living in Sweden. I drive a Mercedes CLK driftcar for Team Lovetap. I can’t wait to share my story about how it all came to be and what drives me and my team to keep on pushing forward through the competitive world of drifting.
The excitement is mutual, Mårten. Tell us the story behind your passion for the sports of drifting.
Since I was a little boy, I had a huge interest in cars and anything that had an engine in it. A lot of this has to do with my dad who also has a passion for motorsport and engines in general. The first motorsport that I really came in close contact with was drag racing. My dad was a mechanic for a team called Milner Racing, who at the time were racing in the Competition Class in a tube chassi with a Mercedes SEC fiberglass body. This might have something to do with my interest in Mercedes cars.
When I was old enough to get myself a car and after looking around for a while, I ended up with a Mercedes 190. This was the first car I started working on but it was on my second car where things really took off. My second car was also a Mercedes 190 but with the 2.6 inline six. It started out with bushings, suspensions, bucket seats and so on. Then came the rollcage, new ECU, new gearbox, welded differential and a lot more that transformed it into a track car.
Like most drifters, I was inspired by drifting videos online and after playing around on different parking lots, roundabouts and street corners, I knew this was something I wanted to keep on doing! The first real track day that I ever did was at Gatebil Mantorp 2011 and It was a whole new world for me. To be able to push my limits without having to risk my driving license or any oncoming traffic made it a unique experience!
Can you share the story behind your build?
Shortly after I started doing track days, I started to get more and more interested in the competitive side of drifting, so I rebuilt my Mercedes 190 to fit the regulations for the Swedish drifting championship and raced my first competition late in 2013. The following year we tried to push through a full season but the drivetrain kept breaking down. To fix the problem we unfortunately had to outlaw the car for competition.
Video: M104 Supercharged Mercedes 190 driftcar, Elmia Påsksladden
That’s why I started to plan out a new build that would make us more competitive and keep us inside the regulations. For a long while I was leaning towards buying a Toyota Soarer, Nissan S14 or something that has been track proven. But for me, drifting has always been about expressing your own unique style and standing out from the crowd, so I knew I couldn’t take the ”Easy” road and go with a S-chassi.
Luckily, Sarto Racing had just released their Mercedes CLK Rocket Bunny build at Tokyo AutoSaloon in 2014 and after a couple of years drooling over the Mercedes CLK63 BlackSeries, I began to study the w209 chassi to see if it would work as a drift car.
I ended up buying a Mercedes CLK 270 CDI -03 from England that I drove back home to Sweden. We immediately started tearing it down to a bare chassi and began transforming it from an old man’s car to a drift car!
What has been done and why, how long did the build take?
The build took off in October 2014 but the car did not run until the end of March 2016 due to various reasons, such as financial problems, troubles with some partners and that we faced a lot more challenges with the chassi than we anticipated and so on.
The engine package for the car was decided long before the car was bought and it was a Mercedes C36 AMG engine, which is a 24valve 3.6L Inline six called the M104.941. This engine paired up with a BorgWarner Turbo and produced 747whp and 840 wnm on its first dynorun. Unfortunately this engine failed during our first shakedown day due to a faulty connecting rod bolt. But after some huge support from our followers, sponsors and friends we managed to build a 3.2L M104.992 engine only a couple of weeks after the breakdown.
The rest of the drivetrain is a Tilton OT2 clutch paired with a Tex Racing T101a Dogbox from NASCAR, then a 4” propshaft that connects to a BMW 210 differential and custom heavy duty driveshafts. So far it has proven to be a very reliable transmission and rear axle, a very crucial part of a proper drift car! Everything in the suspension has been custom built for the car: control arms, steering lock adapters, coilovers, shock mounts, rear suspension arms and a lot more. The car is now producing around 50 degrees of steering but will probably get more in the future.
We have designed and produced our very own widebody kit together with the design work of Seidoworks and handy work by HJ Custom Composites, it is not completely done yet but the first prototype is on the car at the moment.
Who has inspired you to become this determined individual that we see today? Inspiration is crucial.
My biggest inspiration in motorsport is Ayrton Senna, his famous quote says a lot about the kind of mindset he had.
I have no Idols, I admire work, dedication and competence.
I always push myself to improve and never to give up, that is what creates progress and results and I have always admired Ayrton Senna’s strive to always move forward!
Can you recall your feelings the first time you drove your drift car and also your favorite thing about the car?
The first time I drove the car was such an insane feeling, to finally get something back from all the pain and hard work you go through to complete a build like this. It was a true monster compared to my old 190!
My favorite thing about the car has to be all the sounds it makes, the sweet sound of the straight cut gears in the dogbox, the scream pipe and the exhaust note.
Tell us about the team helping you.
We are a big team and everyone is a friend. They all support me by helping with the build and by making sure that the car keeps running during the events. It takes a lot of people to make this possible but the ones who truly stand out are these guys:
Stefan Engström – Main mechanic and the guy who’s always there and helps out 24/7!
Jesper Jumisko – Our valuable welder, mechanic and beer drinker!
Emil Persson – All-round mechanic and radio guy, always gets us stuff when needed!
Sebastian Simonsson – Spotter, 3d designer, mechanic and a lot more.
Linda Nielsen – Supportive and loving girlfriend who helps out with anything she can!
Edvin Olsson – All-round mechanic, problem solver and diesel expert.
Joel Olsson – All-round mechanic, nurse and turbo bike rider.
Fabian Landelius – All-round mechanic and safety chief.
Simon Emanuelsson – All-round mechanic and Saab infected car guy.
Our super supportive sponsors for 2017 are:
- Svensk TurboService
- TSD Tuning
- Saxenbergs Entreprenad
- Tagene Hjulinställning
- Hj Custom Composites
- Fixit Transmission
- Bjp Race
- Nuke Performance
- ATK Driftteknik
- Cosmis Racing Wheels Europe
- Street Performance
Your plans for 2017 season?
Our plan for the 2017 season is to compete in the Swedish Drifting championship and the first round of competition is just a few days away. This championship will be our main goal for the year but we will also be driving at Gatebil, Jspec Drift challenge and some other events that will be released soon!
Thanks so much for your time, Mårten. Best of luck for R1 of the Swedish Drifting Championship and the rest of the season.
Tech info: Team Lovetap
Driftworks forum: Hpaddict