Through My Lens: Drifting In Canada By Larry Chen

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Last year I took the trip over the Montreal for Formula Drift Canada not really expecting anything out of the ordinary. After all, I’ve shot drifting all over the world, so what could be so special about one event at a tiny track?

I was blown away. Autodrome St-Eustache is an amazing track and the Canadian drifters have so much style and love for the sport. But that’s not what surprised me the most.

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The fans are what really blew me away. It could be because the event itself is not terribly far from the city of Montreal, but let me tell you, these guys and girls were rowdy. I swear, the line to get in was at least half a kilometer long. The parking? Forget about it. It spilled out onto the streets of the tiny city and when the event was over it created an epic traffic jam that took almost two hours to clear. Outside the venue the fans would camp for the entire weekend, which of course reminded me of the Gatebil crowd.

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I wanted to share with you guys a collection of my favorite images from the event that I think portray it visually. Here are 60 photos, in no particular order, through my lens.

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While it looks Photoshopped, Forrest Wang’s S14 was not actually emitting green smoke. I just happened to catch the fluorescent light illuminating the track at the right moment.

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A compressed air jetpack sounds like a good idea, but what amazed me was how loud it was. Without hearing protection the sound was ear-piercing.

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That’s one way to keep someone with coulrophobia away from drifting.

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Odi Bakchis was actually very ill while in Canada, but there are no sick days in motorsports – I know that firsthand. Anytime he could take a breather was helpful, even if that meant taking a nap on the hot grid.

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I thought I was going to be able to take a break from the Southern California heat while up north in Montreal, but it was blazing for the entire weekend at St-Eustache.

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All aspects of drift culture seem to have evolved into some weird and wonderful things.

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Daigo Saito could not make the round due to a blown engine in his R35, but his Achilles Radial teammate, Robbie Nishida, was there with his G37.

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Ryan Lanteigne is one of the Formula Drift judges and speaks fluent French, so he did the drivers meetings in two languages.

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Speedhunters driver Charles Ng made a good Top 8 showing in his MaximumAttack G37.

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With an amazing season almost behind him, Fredric Aasbø reflects on his future in drifting.

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If a pedal tricycle is not enough, how about a motorized one for your driving pleasure.

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Given how popular drifting and motorsports in general is in Canada, I am surprised there are not more Canadian drifters competing in the Formula Drift Pro Championship.

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Although the main competition was held during the day, night practice is always a good time to get in some extra shots.

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Every single seat was sold out for last year’s show, so this year Autodrome erected two more grandstands just for the Formula Drift weekend.

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I don’t think I’ve heard a louder cheer from any drift crowd than I did when Dean Kearney went off-course in the Top 16 bracket.

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Waiting on the hot grid can be tough, especially when you look this good.

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While the Canadian teams put on a great showing in 2014, this time they really brought the heat with a number of top-level builds.

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It’s a tough life being a photographer. There were quite a few dedicated shooters on the FD Canada grid.

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Charles Ng knows how to make clouds.

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Was there any doubt that Fredric would not bring home the win? Bring a bazooka to a plastic knife fight why don’t you…

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It’s always refreshing to see less traditional drift cars getting sideways.

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Andrew Gray also made the trip from Japan to compete in FD Canada. He is currently placed 3rd in the FD Pro2 Championship.

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Andrew actually just won his first ever Formula Drift Japan event a few weeks ago.

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While most of the FD USA drivers who competed are sponsored, the majority of Canadian drivers were privateers. That meant plenty of clean-looking cars with no liveries.

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Most drivers rely heavily on their spotter during qualifying and competition, however, there are those drivers who don’t even need one.

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There were fans from all walks of life, but they were all equally crazy for drifting.

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Hometown hero Marc Landreville put on a great showing all the way through to the Top 8 bracket. It was great to see considering he has been struggling in the Pro Championship this past year.

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It’s always harder to run events in another country, but the track staff were very helpful to me and the rest of the FD USA crew.

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Judging by how many cars on the FD Canada grid had one, roof scoops are in. And the bigger the better.

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I need NOS… One of the big ones… No, make it two.

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As Ryan Sage put it, Tomy Boisvert-Bellemare reminded him of a young Fredric Aasbø. He is a very aggressive driver with great style.

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Charles Ng drives a G37 in Formula Drift, but he just debuted a Mercedes-AMG C63 drift car in Asia. I’m actually very excited to see the machine for myself.

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No better team to work on a drift car than twins.

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Pretty soon there will be fans of drifting who never had the chance to know Fredric Aasbø as the privateer who once drove a Toyota Supra that was practically falling apart around him.

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Of course, we all have to start somewhere, right?

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The fans were so animated as well, and definitely not afraid of telling the drivers what they thought.

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What a great idea for the young drift fan. I’m sure all of his classmates were super jealous.

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Without these two, I don’t think drifting would be where it is today. Ryan Sage and Jim Liaw put their heart and soul into this young motorsport and it’s paid off.

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The Autodrome St-Eustache facility is the perfect place for a motorhead to visit. There’s a NASCAR oval that is also part of a larger road course, plus a go-kart track on site.

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The track was also very spectator-friendly, and that put the fans really close to the action.

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Who is Formula Drift’s #1 fan? There are so many people who travel to watch the series, but I think our friend Kitty takes the cake. She’s attended all of the rounds this year including Canada. Talk about dedication!

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Matt Field finally earned his first podium, although he was not very happy, because he was in a very good position to take the win.

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His Nissan ran into some sort of electrical problem causing the engine to shut off when he battled Fredric Aasbø.

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With the success of Formula Drift in Canada, It would be awesome if it became the 8th round of the Pro Championship series. I think it’s only a matter of time…

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Ready, aim, fire. The FD Canada staff had a great time hosting the epic event.

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Robbie Nishida loves making clouds. It’s good to see the team have really got their car dialed in now.

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With just Irwindale and China left, who will take the first ever Formula Drift World Championship title? My money’s on the Speedhunters driver…

Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto
[email protected]

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