If there was one feeling that was prevalent in the Worthouse Drift Team before Texas last weekend, it was exhaustion.
This was the seventh round of the 2017 Formula Drift Pro Championship, and for the seventh time this season, the team congregated from around the world to come and do battle. Lots of air miles have been racked up by the team, and the drivers especially. This would be James Deane’s and Piotr Więcek’s 12th competitive event this year, spanning four countries, two continents, and not including demonstration runs.
At the previous round in Seattle, James had narrowly extended his championship points lead over Fredric Aasbø, whom he defeated in a thrilling final battle which required a One More Time before a winner could be decided. However, with a maximum haul of 107 points at each event and a 57-point lead, James’ advantage could easily be overcome should he suffer a shock defeat or non finish in Texas.
Any dreams of a championship win in his first full Formula Drift season were firmly at the back of his mind.
They say that ‘everything is bigger in Texas’, and they are not wrong. Host to this round of the championship was the 181,000-plus capacity Texas Motor Speedway. I’ve honestly never attended a venue so large in my life before; it took 20 minutes to just drive around the outside before finding the entrance. It’s breathtaking.
The 2017 Formula DRIFT pro championship is decided. Oh, we know there’s still one round left on the calendar, and Fredric Aasbo – 2015 champ and driver of the Rockstar Energy Corolla iM – is mathematically still breathing, even though at this point he’s a distant 96 points behind leader James Deane in the Worthouse Drift Team S15, and not very likely to catch him. It’s that last part we can’t reconcile, and anyone who wants to believe there’s still a chance for Deane to falter and Aasbo to somehow make a miracle happen – well, we hate to break it to you, but there’s no denying fate.
It looked a tad bit more possible going into Round 7 of 8, set on a section of the infield road course at Texas Motor Speedway; then, Deane was only 57 markers out of reach, and with a lucky break (heck, Aasbo even had a chance to eliminate Deane!) this story might be different. But as he has in the last two rounds—Montreal and Seattle—Deane qualified number one, and again looked unbeatable.
Singapore – Race promoter Singapore GP and Title Sponsor Singapore Airlines had earlier announced a collaboration to raise funds for Community Chest beneficiaries through a charity drive event titled Racing Hearts.
Beneficiaries and members of the public got to experience a fun-filled evening and partake in race-themed activities at the F1 Pit Building that was held on Saturday, 26 August from 5pm to 9pm.
For the first time in Singapore, the public got to enjoy free drifting demonstrations by Formula Drift professionals in a variety of iconic drift cars such as the Dunlop Toyota Chaser, Soarer and an assortment of Nissan Silvias.
One of the world’s top competitors, Kenshiro Gushi led the demo team. The US-based professional drifter will be supported by Malaysian Formula DRIFT Asia veterans Ivan Lau and Ee Yoong Cherng, as well as Singapore’s very own Ng Sheng Nian and Felix Lim.
Six lucky members of the public got front-row seats to the drifting action. To raise funds for charity, Singapore residents only needed to submit a minimum bid of S$200 for an exclusive opportunity to strap themselves in the passenger seat with Ken at the wheel.
9tro was on-site to catch all the sideways action, especially since the last time our sunny island saw any kind of Formula Drift event was more than five years ago. It was heartwarming to see the guys back in their machines and tearing up Turn 1 of the Singapore GP circuit.