10 Things Learned From Formula Drift Long Beach

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Written by Joey Redmond of Wrecked Magazine
 

10. Kevin Lawrence Never Quits

While serious engine issues and build delays took out drivers such as Dean Kearney and Taylor Hull, it was the never give up attitude of Kevin Lawrence that shined this weekend. He blew up two motors back in Florida in his proper built 240sx and grabbed the Enjuku Racing R32 Skyline at the last minute for a cross country drive to Long Beach. More mechanical issues hit the team and Kevin smacked nearly every panel on that poor R32 against walls in Long Beach but he kept going and took a loss in the Top 32 when most teams would have quit 16 issues ago.
 
 
 

9. Go back and give Piotr Wiecek that famous 100 Point Qualifying Run

The biggest missed call of the weekend for me was the judges robbing Piotr Wiecek of a 100 point run. If that wasn’t a 100-point run then I don’t think one is possible at Streets of Long Beach period. He was 100% committed around the course and the more I watch the run, the less I can see the four-point deduction. The only person who was happy about that 96 score was Tanner Foust as he remains the only driver in history to achieve a perfect qualifying score.
 
 
 

8. Third Brake Light Elimination was A Genius Move

I was prepared before this event to come on here and tear apart the judges and the policy change that invoked the elimination of the third brake light. However, the new tire marker/visible tire rule I favor much more. I think it allows the judges and fans to see wheel motion that is more important than brake lights, which can only be seen from certain angles. It is a really bold change they put out for 2018 that I think will pay off. This rule change can hopefully put an end to some certain drivers that are well known for slowing down off throttle to bait drivers into contact
 
 
 

7. Matt Field way too Conservative in that Corvette

I really hope Matt Field was just not 100% comfortable in his Corvette because he drove more conservative than I have ever seen him drift. I’m banking on the door banging 100% Field will be in full swing by Orlando Speed World but it was so strange to see him be so timid in a drift car. I really want to see the Corvette become a successful chassis in Formula Drift so lets hope Field can get more seat time and settle into the C6 Corvette. He needs to come out to Round 2 and really earn that “Beast from the Bay” title Jarod has given him.
 
 
 

6. Matt Coffman Continues to Quietly Advance his Level

Most drivers in 2018 have all the flash on their car and a constantly updated Instagram account but the silent ripper these days is Matt Coffman. He really gave it to Piotr Wiecek in the Top 16 and could have even won that battle which is unreal considering this is the same Piotr Wiecek that I think deserved a clear 100 points on his qualifying run. If Matt Coffman found himself somewhere else on this bracket, I think he would be standing on the podium. I also think the podium is his at some point in 2018.
 
 
 

5. Dirk Stratton Made a Statement in his Corvette

If I had to make a bet on Rookie of the Year after one round I would put all my money on Dirk Stratton hands down. He looked like the most committed and confident driver of the weekend from the 2018 rookie class. His wreckers or checkers style drifting resulted in a wreck on the weekend but his confidence and lack of intimidation from the big name drivers will pay off over eight rounds.
 
 
 

4. Alec Hohnadell Got Dealt a Tough Loss Against James Deane

I almost don’t want to write about this battle because I am so torn on the result. My gut reaction says Alec Hohnadell got a raw deal and should have won based on his lead run not being a zero. I talked independently to two of the three judges after the event while watching the battle on an iPhone and they both said Alec Hohnadell was not in drift too long to give him a score and therefore he was given an incomplete. I see where they are coming from but I think you could really interpret the call both ways. It’s a judgment call that makes it hard to favor with a double zero when Hohnadell finishes the course and Deane breaks down before the finish line. Other than this messy battle I think the judging was flawless all weekend.
 
 
 

3. The Ferrari Fire Seen Around the World

I had to pinch myself as I watched the big screen show a Ferrari 599 going up in flames just out of my eyesight in grandstand 16. The $320,500 MSRP car is by far the most expensive factory drift car in Formula Drift history and to see it turn into a fireball before making a full tandem pass was gut wrenching. Luckily, the driver Federico Sceriffo hopped out quickly and was safe. It was mentioned to me by some people on track over the weekend that the fuel pumps remained on when the car came to a stop which led to gas pouring all over the place. This led to the fire which was difficult to suppress and the giving Sceriffo and team another tough break on his debut weekend. It also looks like he is putting his team to work to get this car back on the track. I think Orlando might be a long shot for repairs but I count on seeing this car in action at Road Atlanta in May.
 
 
 

2. Is Fredric Aasbo the only hope from a Worthhouse Championship Repeat?

I always find myself cheering against the most recent champion when the new drift season starts up. Maybe I am a sucker for the underdog but my biggest fear about Formula Drift is a “Jimmie Johnson NASCAR domination era” that lulls the series to sleep with a repeat champion over and over again. Aasbo seems to be the biggest barrier after one round to a Worthouse championship but Wang might be the sleeper champion tons of fans will be rooting for after a second place finish as well. The real shame for fans everywhere was we didn’t get to see a final four battle of Wang vs. Deane.
 
 
 

1.Forrest Wang is Back and Seems More Focused than Ever

The whole feel behind Forrest Wang’s return to Formula Drift seems different this time. With a year off under his belt the new team seems more focused and ready to make a run for a championship. A smaller turbo and new gearing was just a sign of things to come from the program giving them more boost about 1000RPMs lower than before. He topped the weekend off with his first ever victory over three-time champion Chris Forsberg and a podium spot.
 
 
 

PIOTR WIECEK CLAIMS DOUBLE VICTORY IN MOTEGI SUPER DRIFT WEEKEND

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As is traditional, round one of the 2018 Formula DRIFT series took place on the Streets of Long Beach last weekend, with Frederic Aasbo climbing to the top step of the podium. Following the event, the city streets remain closed for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which hosts the Motegi Super DRIFT invitational challenge on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The format is designed to entertain the TGPLB crowds and expose new fans to the sport. It involves eight top Formula DRIFT drivers who don’t score points towards the FD championship, but do compete for prize money presented by event sponsor, Motegi Racing.

The Motegi Super DRIFT Challenge is incredibly popular both with viewers on the Formula DRIFT livestream and the Grand Prix crowds, who remain until 830pm to see the victor crowned under floodlights.

The 2018 Motegi Super DRIFT Challenge would see one man rise to the top on both evenings. Piotr Wiecek dominated the proceedings, continuing the momentum that resulted in an event win at the 2017 final round, first place qualification at round one of the 2018 series and a third place finish at that event. Partnered with 2017 Formula DRIFT champion, James Deane, the Worthouse / Falken Tire team and its Nissan Silvia S15s are going to be a powerful force this year.

Wiecek’s rise to the top on Friday saw him run first against Alec Hohnadell in his Rain-X / Permatex / Nexen / Hoonigan Nissan S14 in the Great 8. Wiecek would then beat Alex Heilbrunn’s Team IMR \ Nitto Tire BMW M3 in the Final 4. This meant he ran against Forrest Wang’s Vapetasia / Achilles Radial / NRG Innovations Nissan S15 in the Final. Wang had taken second place in round one of the 2018 Formula DRIFT series after a year away from the sport and is in top form. However, Wiecek proved to be unstoppable and swept Wang aside to claim the win.

On Saturday evening, Piotr would again beat Hohnadell in the Great 8 before facing Forrest Wang again in the Final 4. After the two drivers ran together they split the judges’ decision, resulting in “One More Time.” The pair would repeated the runs and the decision eventually went to Wiecek.

Saturday evening’s Final was another thrilling battle, this time between Wiecek and Justin “JTP” Pawlak in his Roush Performance / Falken Tires / 2018 Ford Mustang. JTP had finished fifth in the opening round of Formula DRIFT and was another driver in strong form. And while the crowd was calling for “One More Time,” the judges narrowly gave the decision to Piotr Wiecek and the Worthouse / Falken Tire team.

We caught up with a very excited, champagne-soaked winner after the podium ceremony. “What an incredible weekend!” Piotr Wiecek exclaimed. “This is such an amazing track and I’m so happy to be here, and to win both events. I’m also happy that my wife and son were able to join me for the first time at such a special occasion. This was brilliant, and I must give special thanks to James (Deane) and Micheal (Sheehan) who did a great job in the paddock and as spotters. It was great fun and I hope I will be able to repeat it as soon as possible.”

The official results from the 2018 Motegi Super DRIFT Challenge are as follows:

Day one

First – Piotr Wiecek

Second – Forrest Wang

Third – Trenton Beechum

Day two

First – Piotr Wiecek

Second – Justin Pawlak

Third – Forrest Wang

Full results from both rounds of the 2018 Motegi Super DRIFT Challenge can be found at formulad.com

Visit formulad.com for event details, ticket purchases, driver profiles, result, Livestream information and more.

FORMULA DRIFT PARTNERS WITH SUMMIT RACING FOR PRO2 CATEGORY CONTINGENCY AND PROMOTION

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Formula DRIFT – the world’s premier competitive drifting series – is delighted to announce a new partnership with Summit Racing Equipment. This is especially good news because it focuses on the Pro2 category, which attracts up and coming drivers as they refine their skills before stepping up to the Pro category.

With 50 years of experience, Summit Racing Equipment is recognized as a market leader for its performance parts inventory, fast shipping, customer service, and tech expertise. It currently offers ten motorsport contingency programs to series around the world, and for 2018 Summit Racing Equipment will add Formula DRIFT Pro2 to its contingency program.

The program requires Pro2 teams to have Summit Racing decals on the car. The top two finishers will then be rewarded with a $200 gift card for finishing in first place, and a $100 gift card for second place in the Pro2 category.

Additionally, Summit Racing will sponsor a series of videos highlighting the drivers and focusing on their battle in the Pro2 category. Fans will be able to enjoy the videos and can follow the Formula DRIFT Pro2 category live when it takes place at four of the 2018 Formula DRIFT rounds. These include round three in Atlanta, GA; round six in St Louis, MO; round seven in Dallas, TX; and the final round eight at Irwindale Speedway in California. Furthermore, Summit Racing Equipment will activate at the Atlanta and Texas rounds, where it invites Formula DRIFT fans to visit its booth and pick up a free catalog and special show discount offer.

“We’re very excited to take Summit Racing Equipment into the Formula DRIFT world,” said Tommy Dupree, motorsports and events coordinator at Summit Racing. “FD opens yet another facet of motorsports for us to expand our efforts as The World’s Speed Shop. We’re also very happy to be involved in the Pro2 category as a contingency sponsor and look forward to seeing the new stars who develop from this exciting category.”

In turn, Formula DRIFT president and co-founder, Jim Liaw, had this to say about the new partnership: “We are delighted to welcome Summit Racing Equipment to our series and we’re especially excited that they recognize the importance of the Pro2 category. We know it’s crucial to encourage new talent into the sport in order to maintain its meteoric rise, and the role Summit Racing Equipment will play with both the Pro2 contingency program and the video series will be appreciated by the teams and fans alike.”

Round two of the 2018 Formula DRIFT series takes place in Orlando, FL on April 27-28. Visit formulad.com for event details and ticket purchases.