We caught up with Joel Donegan from Suspect Drift Team recently to chat about his new look drift machine and a bit of background on his drifting career.

Joel started drifting in 2012 at drift prac nights at Mallala Motorsport Park in his black R33 street car. Once the drift bug had bitten, Joel was all in, deciding to start competing in 2013 in a purpose built drift car. His first competitive season had him drifting in a 4 door R32. In only his second competitive season Joel started bringing in achievements. 2014 saw him finish the season with G1 Most Improved and the Mallala Drift Supercup 3rd in Street Class.

To begin the 2015 competitive season Joel debuted the S13 with all the running gear from his previous R32 track car. The S-chassis started out with the stock look of no body kit and basic black. Towards the end of the year Joel was sick of the stock look and decided it had earned some love. At this point the Silvia got its first body kit and got sprayed in the blue many of you may have seen Joel competing in recently.

His placings in the S13 has seen him come out with 1st place in Round 3 of the G1 Drift Championship in 2015 and 2nd place in Round 2 of G1 in 2016 which concluded in 3rd place overall for the 2016 G1 Drift Championship. 2016 also saw Joel compete in his first DCA round, competing at the Mt Gambier event and finishing in 2nd place. The final battle for top spot at Mt Gambier Joel had to fight with only having 2nd gear so unfortunately it seemed pretty inevitable that 2nd would be the highest he would reach for the event before it had been decided. Despite this he still managed an impressive podium burnout!

To open season 2017 the S13 has now been given what feels like a second life with so many changes. Joel has added front carbon canards, rear carbon boot lip, Origin Labo Racing Line rear bumper and all 4 flared guards. Joel is also waiting on new side canards to arrive to add to the look.

With so many changes to the body work it was time to give the paint job a serious overhaul and a complete new look. There was no plan in mind when Joel entered the shop of Born Again Restorations to pick out the paint scheme. He went completely left field on the choices and both colours on the car as well as the striping are all from Commodores. The striking orange colour you may have seen a lot of recently having come from the VE SS Wildfire Metallic Orange. The contrasting grey colour on the top half of the car is from a much older Commodore model that I am sure saw a lot of tyre shredding also. The grey is VN SS Atlas Grey. No one was sure how the combination of these colours would look together and there were doubts, but once the spray job was complete I can safely say everyone was surprised at how well they worked together.

When we saw Joel arrive at the shoot location, seeing the metallic orange as the sun was starting to set was completely fitting for the colour. Joel still likes to relive the old days with his under car neons, which draws everyone’s attention. We have a feeling though that the new orange paint job may be the more appealing draw card now.

Hiding under the bonnet of this beast is the trademark Nissan RB engine in a RB25/30 configuration with a 3L capacity. The engine was built by Joel’s brother, Anthony Donegan with forged Mahle pistons and rings and a Garrett GTX3076 turbo. The beautiful RB note comes through an AT Performance steam pipe manifold to a custom 3” stainless exhaust.

This combination produces a healthy 340rwkw and 970nm of torque from the Jaustech roller dyno. The nice ride height is set by ISC coilivers and springs. To get the lock as sideways as possible for drifting Joel runs a Wisefab FD legal front lock kit. Joel’s choice of shoes to put the power down are Achilles 123’s on the front and ATR Sport 2 rears.

All graphics and panel work are done by Joel himself. The interior has stripped rear with a custom half cage, Bride seats, Sparco racing harness and steering wheel. Dash is stock complete with dash mat! Under this dash however is a custom dash cluster.


Joel would like to thank his brother, Anthony Donegan, who built the engine, Chris Milton Engineering for the machine work, SSS Tyres and Brakes for supplying him with the Achilles tyres and wheel alignments, Born Again Restorations for the amazing new paint job, Sleeka Spares for supplying all the little bits and pieces, Scott’s Electrical for all of their electrical work and Origin Labo Australia/Savanna Motorsport for supplying the body kit and carbon bits. Of course also to thank is Joel’s family for all of their support as he continues to follow his passion.

Quick Specs
Car: 1991 Nissan S13 Silvia
Engine: RB25/30DET
Capacity: 3.0L
ECU: Apexi Power FC ECU
Diff: 2way Nismo diff, 4.11 ratio
Transmission: PPG RB25 Dog Box with Twin Plate Carbonettics clutch
Brakes: R33 Skyline brakes
Suspension: ISC Coilovers and springs
Interior: Stripped rear with custom half cage, Bride seats, Sparco harness and steering wheel, stock dash with dash mat and custom dash cluster. No floor carpet, fire extinguisher
Exterior: Origin Labo Racing line body kit, Origin Labo fenders, Origin Labo carbon front canards, Origin Labo carbon boot lip. Achilles 123’s on front and ATR Sport 2 on the rear
Power: 340 rwkw, 970nm torque