We've had some time to spend with the HPI Stage-D Conversion Set and we've had a blast
trying to learn the ins and outs of drifting. We have, however, run across a few bumps
along the way.
The Stage-D Conversion Set includes a new chassis, drift tires with some sharp looking rims,
carbon fiber plates to hold it all together and a few other parts to complete the build. We also
added the HPI Racing Impreza body to finish it off.
We started with a HPI RS4 3 Evo. We wanted to be sure we had a good baseline for what the
Stage-D drift kit would do for us, so we began by trying to drift with the stock RS4. We managed
to get a few good power-slides out of it, but the stock tires were just giving us too much grip.
Next, we upgraded to the drift tires on the stock RS4. We were able to achieve better slides,
but the extra rear weight proved to put too much stress on the rear tires and cracked one of the
rims. After getting a replacement, it was time to start the build.
While the rebuild looks to be a daunting task, it is really not too bad. The kit can easily
be completed in an afternoon. The only difficulty we ran into was taking out the engine. The engine
screws were difficult to remove and the screw heads stripped easily. The front and rear assemblies
of the car were transferred to the new chassis as complete pieces. The rest was just a matter of
following the fairly good instructions. All of the parts are good quality, however, I am a little
sad to go from an enclosed electronics case to an open setup using double-sided tape. It is
important to note that the Stage-D conversion requires a hump pack receiver battery. Also,
pay attention when gluing the tires as the rear wheels are wider than the front. In addition, be sure
to adjust your steering so front tires still roll at a full turn. Powering through a turn and having
a wheel lock up can cause bad things to happen.
Once we had everything together, it was time to see how much of an improvement the Stage-D Conversion
Set would have on our ability to drift. The difference was awesome! With a little practice, we were
able to put the car into some cool drifting turns. With some more practice, we were keeping the car
sideways through turns and powering back out of them. Drifting consistently and keeping the drift under
control is tough. A lot of practice is required to really show off what this car can do, but it is
still easy to get started.
Now, as with most street cars, location is important. The smoother the surface, the better the drive.
Any rocks or bumps in the asphalt should be avoided at all costs. As bashers, we totally ignore this.
We consider whatever parking lot we find ourselves in to be a place to race. The Stage-D Conversion
Set really needs a decent place to run. Rocks and big cracks in the asphalt can pop you out of a nice
drift and really take away from the experience (especially if it breaks your car).
Overall, the Stage-D Conversion Set has been a lot of fun. There is a lot to learn to become an expert
drift racer, but it is not hard to get started having fun. If you have a nice location to drive, this
setup can be a lot of fun.
Check out our videos page to see some
footage of us taking this ride for a spin!