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Interview with Ryan Peabody

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Hello.  Introduce yourself – What’s your name and where are you from?

My name is Ryan Peabody and I live in Seattle Washington, USA. I’m a 24 year old motorsports enthusiast and vehicle design student.

How did you get into drifting?

I actually didn’t get into drifting for a while after I was RC drifting. I started RC drifting sometime around 2010 and it wasn’t until 2014 that I went to my first drifting event, Formula Drift Seattle. I chose to go to the event because I wanted to learn more about drifting so that I could apply it to RC drift. I didn’t have many friends who were interested in cars at all, so it was a while before I was actually attending events and following the sport.

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What is your favorite part of drifting?

I think my favorite part of drifting is that it combines style and skill. I like all types of motorsports but in racing style always comes after performance. In drifting there is still room for style and art in the cars. This is especially important to me because I consider myself to be an artist. I like that I can apply style to my drift cars that would not normally be seen in motorsports, such as flashy wheels and silly wings and exhaust.

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What got you into RC?

I have been into RC for as long as I can remember, it was my Dad that got me started. He bought me my first RC car when I was very young, and I remember it well because it had a wire that connected from the remote to the car – it wasn’t even wireless! Growing up I played with RC heli, planes, boats, and cars, and trucks – of course nothing was as fancy as my current RC drift setup.

How often do you drift your RC car?

Lately I have been building my chassis so I haven’t drifted in a while, but over the last summer I was drifting every day. Kong RC is the closest track to me and it opened at the beginning of the summer, so I spent as much time there as I could, I even helped the owner build it before it was open. In the coming months I hope to spend more time at Kong RC and get a lot of practice in for the local competitions.

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Do you attend any competitions?

I have only attended one competition so far since the track near me just opened. I placed third because my car was too low and it got caught on a corner. I will always run my car higher for competitions now. They have had two competitions at the Kong RC track but unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it to the second one. I plan to attend all the competitions that are held there, and maybe someday drift at an international level. There is also a track up a ways from me called Afro RC in Canada, and they also have competitions I’d like to go to. Currently they mostly run RWD, and since I am currently converting to RWD, I think I can go up there to learn from them for RWD competitions.

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What do you consider to be the main point in the competitions?

I think it’s good to prove your skills both at tuning your chassis and driving. There are a lot of people with a lot of different theories for chassis setup, so it’s fun to compete with your friends and prove your ideas. For example, I swear by having 4 corner adjustability, one damper per corner, but some people believe in running a single damper up front in order to increase steering angle. Competitions are a great way to prove your skills as a tuner and a driver.

What is your favorite car?

My favorite car is the Porsche GT3RS today, but it will probably be something else tomorrow. I can find something to love about all cars, I try not to discriminate! My favorite style of car are RWD 2 door Japanese cars. I also must admit that I have a special place in my heart for the GT86, since I own one.

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What do you enjoy more: chassis setup or body painting?

I am an engineering student and an artist, so I enjoy a good mix of both chassis tuning and body painting. I can spend hours tuning my suspension perfectly, and as you know I spend a ton of time detailing bodies as well! Recently I re-created my entire chassis in some CAD modeling software (solidworks) in order to make modifications. I have since converted the front suspension to an inboard system in order to achieve higher angle without sacrificing that 4 corner adjustability. MST recently released their own inboard suspension system for my chassis, so my timing was bad, but I think I like mine better, as it has slightly longer arms which make the suspension softer through more leverage. I like to run a very soft front end to maximize front grip. I also have painted countless bodies, and I love learning new techniques to get my bodies to look as real as possible. My most recent venture was designing an entire livery in photoshop, cutting vinyl to match, and masking the body with the vinyl. The end result was a fully liveried racecar that was done entirely with paint!

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What kind of chassis do you have?

I have a heavily modified MST MS01D VIP II. I have also owned a Yokomo DPR and a couple HPI Sprint 2s from the early days. I prefer the MST to the Yokomo because it has more adjustability, and is easier to make quick adjustments with.

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We know that you have GT86, why did you choose it?

I have known of the GT86 since it was released, and at first I did not really notice it. Then one day I saw the rocket bunny kit, and I knew I needed one. I saved for a while and then found a very good deal on a used one with 7,000 km.It is hard to balance spending my money on RC and spending it on modifying my GT86, but I do my best to wait for good deals on parts before buying anything. I recently just spent some time talking to a company that makes front splitters, and worked out a deal to get a front splitter for only $50 USD! Normally they are over $400.

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Do you have an idol?

I have many idols. I once heard, “Work until your idols become your rivals.” I believe in having many role models as they can help you achieve your dreams. I have idols in all aspects of my life from the RC drifting scene, to real cars, to fellow students, engineers, artists, and friends. I think having idols is a great way to improve yourself as a person. If you see a trait you like in someone, you can use them as a guide to adopt that same trait. Idols are somewhat of a cheat code to improving yourself.

What are your future plans?

As I progress through engineering school to become a vehicle designer I hope to apply my skills to improving my chassis. I also hope to grow my business of selling RC bodies and accessories as well. I would hope to continue competing in RC drift and possibly compete internationally if I am good enough.

Can you tell us about your dream in drifting?

I hope to one day work for a racing team. It would be amazing if it were a drift team, but I am not picky. I hope that drifting becomes more mainstream and more people can enjoy this crazy hobby. In my school there are only a few people who like drifting – but most do not. They believe it is an abomination of motorsports and racing. It takes a bit of a leap to believe that cars can compete without a clock determining your score!

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What is the most important : success or experience?

I think it depends on how you define success. To me, I will feel successful if I have a lot of experience, so for me they are the same.

What determines the success: a driver or a car?

I believe everyone should set up their own car – what is the point of being able to drive it well if you can’t understand how it works mechanically? So I think it should be 100% the driver, because he builds and setups the car and drives it.

How do your close relatives and friends feel about your hobby?

They are all very supportive of my hobby. Most of my friends are also into drifting, so that helps! My parents support it because they know I can make money through RC bodies and accessories. They also know that by studying my RC chassis setup I can improve my skills as an engineer.

About The Author

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