The stock Toyota iM gets 137 hp driving the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission — not exactly a performance powerhouse. But three-time Formula Drift champion Papadakis Racing took that humble iM hatchback and made it into a real screamer.
The result is the rear-wheel-drive Rockstar Energy Drink/Nexen Tire Toyota Corolla iM hatchback that you see here. It makes 1,000 nitrous-boosted hp from its four-cylinder turbocharged Toyota 2AR engine. That’s quite a step up from the RAV4 the 2AR usually powers in the Toyota lineup. In this application, it features a four-speed dog-engagement transmission, a BorgWarner EFR turbo, AEM Infinity-8 fuel injection and RS-R suspension. Custom-designed Dzine Unlimited fenders make room for sticky Nexen N'fera SUR4 tires on Motegi Technomesh D wheels.
Normally, the 2AR engine drives the front wheels of stock Toyotas. It was not exactly an easy drivetrain to hammer into a rear-drive drift car like this iM.
"Papadakis Racing's expertise is our technical innovation, and we're excited to work with Toyota this season on a new platform for Formula Drift," said founder Steph Papadakis.
Why the iM? After all, a Lexus LC500 coupe would have been more exotic, and there were any number of fans expecting to see that come out of the Papadakis Racing trailer this season. But if you think about it, this car makes more than twice the power of the stock LC500. Plus, Formula D is a sport built on the Toyota Corolla AE86 from years ago. Now that Scion has gone away, the iM is a natural fit for Papadakis Racing, which had fielded Scion tC entries the last several years.
"It's fun for us to bring the Corolla nameplate back to the series. Our launch video is a tribute to the Toyota Corolla's long heritage in the sport," Papadakis said.
Was the conversion difficult?
"Drift cars require a lot of custom fabrication to accommodate racing components,” said Papadakis. “For this conversion, we fabricated a new transmission and driveshaft tunnel for the car, and we installed a rear end and axles into the rear subframe. Once you move to a racing drivetrain, you're getting into similar fabrication for any car.”