Photography by Dan Coria
What Is The Drivers Project?
In a nutshell, the first-ever Drivers Project presented by Turn 14 Distribution is a three-day road trip from Los Angeles, to Monterey, to Reno, finishing off in Las Vegas. This three-day excursion combines modified cars and trucks, industry influencers, and a jam-packed itinerary unlike no other. It’s not a race or a cannonball-type road rally, and there are no points for first place. The Drivers Project is all about getting automotive enthusiasts together, enjoying the project cars we’ve built, and doing some really cool stuff in between.
The starting grid of The Drivers Project took place at Pirelli P Zero World in West LA. A strong JDM presence arrived early in the morning, including Kelvin “Baldy” Hsiu’s 2006 Mitsubishi Evo IX MR with Voltex Cyber Edition aero, Do-Luck fenders and a ton of ARC parts. Cars continued to roll in all morning, which included the Titan 7 x Spoon Sports Civic Type R. In total, 12 vehicles and three support rigs embarked on The Drivers Project.
The Road Less Traveled
The driving routes chosen are geared towards offering the most picturesque and fun-to-drive roads possible, with the least amount of traffic. The Drivers Project isn’t your typical commute on major highways from point A to point B. But instead, a colorful cruise where drivers can stop, take photos, and enjoy the new roads traveled.
The first leg of the drive began on the 101 Freeway to Santa Barbara. The Lexus RC F Track Edition driven by the 2011 Formula Drift Champion, Dai Yoshihara, was one of the notable vehicles joining the journey. The Lexus Tuned LC 500 features an Artisan Spirit GT widebody, KW coilovers, GReddy exhaust, Brembo big brakes, and one sexy wrap job. One of the stops was a small Danish-themed town called Solvang where we shot some nice pictures of the Super Street Supra, YouTuber Dustin Williams’ Varis GT-R, and CSF Performance’s 1,000+ horsepower Porsche 911. Dustin Williams’ R35 GT-R is painted Millennium Jade Green, an OEM color more commonly found on the R34 Skyline.
Morro Rock is a volcanic plug that towers 581 feet tall and makes for a great photo op. The Titan 7 x Vorsteiner Lamborghini Huracan, prepared by Signature Autobody, looked glorious in Morro Bay while we assembled for The Drivers Project team photo at Morro Rock.
The Rain Rocks Rock Shed is a famous tunnel-like structure that leads up to Big Sur, so naturally, it had to make it on the route. We enjoyed the view at Big Sur, one of the most gorgeous stretches of coastlines in all of California, which consists of miles upon miles of epic scenery, winding turns, and seaside cliffs. We eventually departed Big Sur with the Titan 7 x Vorsteiner Huracan and a beefy Ford Ranger brought by Injen Technology in tow.
Not Slumming It
Unlike the road trips you’ve taken with your buddies in college, The Drivers Project was designed to feel like an adult summer vacation. With that, slumming it at cheap motels and eating Quarter Pounders wasn’t part of the agenda. The accommodations included some of the top hotels in each destination, as well as private or catered meals from local restaurants.
A once in a lifetime private tour of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with parade laps led by hall of fame driver and Lexus ambassador, Scott Pruett. There was a moment when I was chasing down Jay Cray and his Liberty Walk Lexus LC 500 on turn 4 of Laguna Seca — what a trip. The Titan 7 Porsche 991 GT3 posed for a quick photo just past the infamous Corkscrew. Baldy Hsiu and his Voltex Evo IX even took a trip flying down the blind drop of the Corkscrew.
Undoubtedly, there are a lot of fun memories to share anytime you embark on a road trip with friends. However, The Drivers Project aimed to take that experience further with unique activations. For example, the first day’s highlight at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with Scott Pruett. For the finale in Las Vegas, a pop-up car meet at the exotic car racetrack SpeedVegas drew over 700 modified cars from Nevada, Utah, California, Arizona, and Texas. Lastly, a welcome reception at Turn 14 Distribution’s Reno facility blew us away. The entire group enjoyed a dinner reception and tour of the 178,000 square-foot distribution center.
The first day concluded at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel, California, with a team dinner at Baja Cantina. Day 1 mileage: 335 miles. Day two started with a spirited jaunt through Redwood Grove and Santa Cruz Mountains, one of our favorite legs of the event. We even pulled off for a quick photo op and to soak in the redwood trees.
The Fatlace headquarters in San Mateo, California, hosted the second day’s lunch with plenty of toys to admire. We left the San Francisco area by way of the Bay Bridge for even more photo ops. On the way to Reno, we made a quick stop at Tahoe National Forest just off the I-80 Freeway.
Arriving at Turn 14 Distribution’s Reno warehouse was a treat with a dinner reception held next to their new motorsport hospitality rig. We all posed for the team photo: take two. A huge thank you to Turn 14 Distribution for the hospitality!
Not About The Numbers
There are plenty of driving events where excessive amounts of cars are participating, and sometimes it’s scary. You don’t know who the driver next to you is and whether or not he or she is going to put you in any danger. Having a large group of cars also makes it difficult for everyone to stay together and stay on time, which is important when you’re on the road for hours upon hours. For these reasons, The Drivers Project was limited to 15 invited vehicles.
The Drivers Project guests received a full rundown of how Turn 14 Distribution’s operations work in Reno, NV. We found all sorts of goodies throughout the building, including one or two HKS exhausts. We got to see all of Turn 14 Distribution’s packing and shipping machinery, built to spec to ensure the highest efficiency and quality, and a look down the aisles revealed more parts in-stock and ready to ship.
Following our visit at Turn 14 Distribution, we spent the night in downtown Reno right next to the iconic Reno Arch. Most drivers were tired after two full days of driving. The Titan 7 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon was hanging strong, though. Day 2 mileage: 410 miles.
Not About The Money
Most mainstream driving events cater only to the rich, especially with a high price of entry. Usually, some participants don’t appreciate modified car culture, despite owning some of the fastest supercars out there. The Drivers Project is founded on enthusiasts, project car builders, and aftermarket industry supporters.
The finale Summer Meet hosted at SpeedVegas drew over 700 display cars! Enthusiasts from all around Vegas came out to support as well as some visiting cars from Utah, Texas, and California. Two of the highlights of the meet were Jeremy Aguilar’s ARC-themed Honda Prelude, and a rare lifted Porsche Cayenne, built by Andrew Abalos.
We took a few parade laps around SpeedVegas to finish off a 1,200-mile journey and Jay Cray lined up the LC 500 next to the Super Street Supra. Day 3 mileage: 470 miles.
On To The Next Project
With safety as a top priority, The Drivers Project strived to ensure all health precautions were taken into account, which for 2020 included social distancing and required face coverings. Ultimately, the inaugural event was a massive success with no accidents, speeding tickets, or unhappy campers. A second Drivers Project could be in the works in your neck of the woods, so stay tuned. For now, enjoy these photos, let us know what you think, and hopefully, our journey will inspire you to reconnect with friends, get out and drive and enjoy the roads ahead. A special thank you to Turn 14 Distribution, CSF Racing, Injen Technology, KW Suspensions, Lexus, Meguiar’s, Sparco, Titan 7, and Turbosmart.