Formula DRIFT Atlanta 2017 By Super Street Magazine

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In the aftermath of James Deane’s improbable victory at Round 1 of the 2017 Formula DRIFT Championship in Long Beach, Calif., this past April, a lot of drifting fan boiz got all excited because it looked like new blood in a JDM rocket was coming to America to shake things up (a la Daigo Saito in 2012). We got the impression e-thugging contrarians were dancing in the streets over the season opening shocker. But then Round 2 in the oval at Orlando Speed World happened in early May and, on the surface anyway, Deane looked fallible, even human, as the podium was nothing but past FD champions. Fast forward another couple weeks, though, to Round 3 at Road Atlanta and the Irish wheelman changes the story again.

In Long Beach, Deane had to take out a couple of past champions and a couple of could-be champions in his first Formula D action in seven years. In Braselton, Ga., he had to contend again with thrice series champ Chris Forsberg in the NOS Energy Drink 370Z — the second time in three events — while also dispatching heavyweights Ken Gushi in the Greddy Performance 86, Matt Field in the Falken Tire S14, Alec Hohnadell in the Urban Air Initiative S14, and finally fellow Irishman and pal Dean Kearney in the Oracle Lighting Viper. Trust us when we say this has been no cakewalk for the Worthouse pilot.

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Formula DRIFT Orlando Coverage by Boostiao

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Orlando Speed World is one of our most preferred Formula Drift championship stops, although it looks like a “simple” transition layout after its long banking is a challenge for all teams.

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It is also the first date of the interesting category PRO2! Here Travis Reeder shows us that you can finish the course even if you lose a rubber.

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Luis Lizardi would reach the top position of the classifier in the PRO2 but would fall in the first round of qualifiers of the top 16.

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Formula Drift Road Atlanta – 2017 By What Monsters Do

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When it comes to tracks on the Formula Drift schedule, there are none better than Road Atlanta. Automotive action happens the entire time youÆre there from nearly sun up to sun down, and well into the night. ItÆs why fans always look forward to it and it makes for an amazing, party-like atmosphere. It also helps that, despite not being an oval track, fans can see nearly everything thanks to the bowl structure of the turn 10/keyhole complex. This is Road Atlanta and here is what you missed by not being there.

Drifting is a sport of the senses û the sight of cars getting sideways, the smell of burnt rubber, the sound of cars pushing maximum horsepower, and sometimes even the taste of spent race gas. ItÆs quick, itÆs dirty, and it just pulls you in even if you try to resist. ItÆs why it works so well in a confined environment like most of the oval tracks Formula Drift visits. ItÆs the same reasons people love monster trucks and thatÆs not a knock on the series. The fans are there for the entertainment of automotive action.

 

Formula DRIFT Atlanta PRO 2 By Winding Highway

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Formula DRIFT PRO 2: Atlanta Results

Congratulations to all the Pro2 drivers. Making the leap from ProAm to Pro2 take a lot of skill and determination. Cant wait to see what these guys and girl can do with a nice long break, next Pro2 event will be in Seattle August 4-5th.

FD photo by Larry Chen

The finals had a few shake up and unexpected events. Starting with Trent Beechum getting ‘taken out by a cone’. As Trent over-shot inside clip 1 he dropped over the rumble strips, picking up and cone and shattering all of his passenger side suspension. Matt Vankirk advanced.

Driver Spike Chen showed some real skill by qualifying in 13th place at his first Pro2 event. Spike came up short thou as his car ran out of gas during his lead run. Austin Meeks advanced.

In the final 4 number 2 qualifier, Dirk Stratton pushed a bit to hard and shot into the kitty litter. Randall Water took the win. Randall would later join him, loosing to Travis Reeder the same way.

The finals between Travis Reeder and Matt Vankirk looked to be a great battle between the 2 Pacific Northwest drivers. Unfortunately Matt succumb to mechanical problems and could not run. On his by-run Travis also had mechanical problems and only drifted about half the course.

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Formula DRIFT Atlanta Top 32 Play-by-Play By Driving Line

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Formula Drift returned to the track that spawned the series just 13 short years ago for the third stop on the 2017 schedule. Entering the event, Fredric Aasbo was leading the championship after a win in Orlando, and had high hopes entering the event as he podiumed at two previous events at this track.

ROAD ATLANTA COURSE

The Road Atlanta course layout remained unchanged from the past few seasons, with drivers starting from midway down the back straightaway before initiating drift at the bottom of the hill into turn 10 on the traditional track layout at speeds of nearly 100 mph. After the sharp 90-degree left turn with an inside clip at the foot of the hill, drivers immediately transition for a second 90-degree turn that shoots them up the hill towards the bridge at speeds around 70 mph.

In the early seasons of Formula Drift, the course layout pushed drivers into the first turn midway up the hill before looping around the “keyhole” area in counter-clockwise fashion, but a change in 2012 now leads drivers clockwise around the keyhole on a line that requires much more horsepower and grip. Drivers are asked to burn their tires along the outside edge of the keyhole at the top of the hill in front of the judges stand before hitting an inside clipping point midway through the keyhole, then transition back down the hill in front of the spectators and connecting the first two corners in reverse orientation to finish halfway up the back straight near the starting line.

Alex Heilbrunn

(Photos: Jason Scott)

QUALIFYING

Friday’s qualifying session brought some familiar faces to the top of the table. Nitto Tire driver Alex Heilbrunn would earn the fifth place position with an 89-point run, tying the same score as Matt Field but losing the tiebreaker for fourth place by virtue of having a lower secondary run score. Kristaps Bluss earned third qualifier with a score of 90 points, also tying 2013 Formula Drift champion Michael Essa with the same score, but losing in the tiebreaker due to scoring an Incomplete on his secondary qualifying run. Essa has consistently qualified well at Atlanta, in large part to his big entries with tons of steering angle that the crowd loves.

At the top of the charts, Nitto Tire driver Vaughn Gittin Jr. scored 94 points to take the top qualifier award for the second consecutive season at Road Atlanta. With only 28 drivers making a qualifying pass on Friday, the top four qualifiers would earn a bye in the Top 32 round and automatically hear their name called for the Top 16 opening ceremonies.

Vaughn Gittin Jr.

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