18 August 2010

5 Minutes with Taka Aono

If someone says the name Taka Aono you instantly think of the corolla. This is probably because Taka is a very famous name in the drift world, and rightly so. His driving in the USA’s Formula D for Team DriftPro has confirmed him as a huge fan favourite due to his crazy driving and awesome AE86. Taka won the SCCA Solo II National championship back in 2002 and is the current Chief Instructor of the Drift Association and Chief Instructor of the DRIFT 101/102 program.


We managed to grab 5 minutes out of his busy Formula D schedule and talk about the Corolla

What was it that first got you into Corolla’s & what is your history with them other than the Trueno used in FD?

1st time I bought 86 was just for commuter. Did not like it at all because it was so slow... Then I sold it to Moto (Mr. Club4ag). He mod’s suspension and let me drove the 86 at race track. I was beating lap time of all type-R’s. Then I decided to buy another one to compete SCCA SOLO II to win National title. My girlfriend and I got national championship. Then we moved on to drifting.

Your Trueno is well known across the globe in the Drift world, why do you think it such a firm Fan Favourite in Formula D?

A lot of funs like it because it was one of original drifted Chassis. Also it considered as underdog. A lot people don’t know it is SO FUN to DRIVE the 86.


One of the most noticeable things with your Corolla is the incredible Turbo’d Formula Atlantic 4AGE. Can you talk us through the set up & why you chose such a famous motor as the power source?

I was lucky enough to be part of Team Falken when the car was build. Also I had good relationship with Hasselgren Engineering. Falken tire Corp was kind enough to sell the 86 when I left Falken.
It is version 2 of the Hasselgren Atlantic Turbo 4ag. Making 380-480hp depending on boost. Rev to 9800rpm.

You are known for you “all or nothing” driving style in Formula D. What is it about the AE86 that suits your driving style so well?

When you drive AE86 long enough, you end up with the same driving style as mine. It is more like 86 driving style!


Your car has a fantastic stance but still remains very competitive. What is your Suspension set up to achieve this?

I usually set the weight distribution of 52-53% front. Then lower the car to get good looking stance. But to get max performance out of suspension, I should have raised car.

As the cars & tracks continue to push forward with bigger power & finely refined chassis in Formula D, how will you develop your 86 to make it stay as competitive as it has been over the past seasons?

It is not the power. It is torque. This Hasselgren turbo 4ag can make over 600hp. But torque will be.... I might have to go with different power unit soon.

What’s your favourite memory during Your Corolla Ownership?

Every time I drove 86 and push it to 100%.

Why do you think the 86 has the appeal it does across the world and has stood the test of time?

It is a fun car to drive, easy to work on, and looks good!


The corolla seems to have a “Brotherhood” feel amongst owners, why do you think this is?

Just like any other car club people, we share the love and hate for the little corolla.

HUGE thanks goes out for Taka for giving up 5 minutes of his time to chat to us & we hope you all join us in wishing him luck in the rest of the Formula D season.




  1. nice one James and Taka. more of these please.


  2. glad your liking these si. plus i'm real thankful of people like Taka & McNamara to sparing 5 minutes for the brotherhood! Makes it worth while,
    So hopefully there will be loads more of these to come!

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  4. Thats wicked dude.

  5. Guess who stopped by my house today? Taka dropped off some wheels, had a great talk about th AE86 and stuff. Great person and "The '86" guy. I'll be cheering him on in 2012!