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.

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

2017 Formula DRIFT Orlando Top 32 Play-by-Play by Driving Line

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The hot and humid action tearing up the track in Orlando matched the weather report for the Formula Drift Series‘ third visit to Orlando Speed World. By now the drivers have become accustomed to the 3/8-mile asphalt oval; the track has one of the rougher surfaces on the circuit, which is part of the reason that the course used is only two big turns.

FD Orlando crowd

ORLANDO SPEED WORLD COURSE

Drivers initiate on the back straight, running the track in clockwise fashion around the first bank. Judges have asked the drivers to ride the wall of the bank as much as possible, treating it like a giant outside clipping zone. There’s an inside clipping point towards the end of the bank, then drivers transition off the bank onto the bumpy infield portion of the track. Drivers will transition from left to right across the infield, hitting an inside clip at the end of the infield before riding the outside line on the flat bottom of the second turn. If any drivers push a tire up onto the bank of the second turn, there will be a deduction, while sliding the front tires up onto the bank will result in an “Incomplete Run” which is the new term for a zero-point run.

Chelsea DeNofa and Vaughn Gittin Jr.

QUALIFYING

Overall, only 27 drivers were able to put up a score in Qualifying, which meant that the top five drivers would earn a bye in the first round. Dai Yoshihara came out tires blazing and laid down a 95-point first Qualifying run which would hold up as the top score on the table. Fredric Aasbo and Ryan Tuerck both earned scores of 93, with Aasbo earning the higher qualifying position by virtue of a higher secondary score of 90 points to Tuerck’s 89-point secondary score. Long Beach winner James Deane earned 92 points on his run, while Michael Essa rounded out the top five Qualifying order with a score of 91.

Robbie Nishida, who qualified in Long Beach, moved into his new Nissan GTR for this round but was unable to put up a qualifying score. Additionally, Faruk Kugay had some teething issues getting his BMW car prepped for the event and didn’t make the trip, while Georgy Chivchyan also was absent from this round. In their place, Taylor Hull made his Formula D Pro debut by qualifying 25th, and Kyle Mohan put down his first qualifying score of the season to earn the 27th qualifier position. Continue reading 2017 Formula DRIFT Orlando Top 32 Play-by-Play by Driving Line

Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge Saturday Results

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Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge Saturday Results;
Forrest Wang Takes the Victory

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Long Beach, Calif. – April 8, 2017 – Formula DRIFT returned for night two of the Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge as part of the 43rd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Forrest Wang in the Get Nuts Lab / Zestino Tires Nissan 240 is victorious.

For the second consecutive night the Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge brought drifting under the lights during the annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. On Saturday night of the doubleheader weekend, fans were treated to a fast paced and action packed evening.

“Drifting at night and under lights truly is a testament of the drivers skill,” said Jim Liaw, President of Formula DRIFT. “The drivers really put on a show tonight to close out our fifth consecutive year drifting at night during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.”

Night Two of the doubleheader weekend did not disappoint as the drivers put it all on the line for a chance at the prize pool. The Top 4 pitted last night’s runner-up, Alex Heilbrunn in the IMR / Nitto Tire BMW M3 against Dean Kearney, in the Oracle Lighting Dodge Viper. Heilbrunn’s consistency helped put him back into the finals for the second consecutive evening. Jhonnattan Castro in the Gerdau Metaldom / Nexen Toyota GT86 faced off against Forrest Wang in the semi-finals. Wang drove hard all weekend and the plume of smoke from his vehicle on his lead run made him a tough opponent. Castro had difficulty in the chase position, which helped give Wang the win to put him in the Finals. Wang took advantage of car issues that Heilbrunn was experiencing to beat him and take the win, while giving Heilbrunn yet another second place finish during the weekend.

“We came. We conquered!” said Forrest Wang, winner of the Motegi Super Drift Challenge. “I’m bummed that we didn’t compete last weekend, but at least I got to drive here in Long Beach this weekend to show people my style.”

The action continues to Round 2: Unchartered Territory at Orlando Speed World on April 28-29. For more information visit, www.formulad.com and find Formula DRIFT on Instagram @formulad, Facebook www.facebook.com/formuladrift, Twitter @FormulaDrift, and Snapchat – formula_drift. Tune into Formula DRIFT on CBS Sports and check your local listings for airtimes.

Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge – Saturday Night Results

1. Wang, Forrest Get Nuts Lab / Zestino Nissan 240 Winner
2. Heilbrunn, Alex IMR / Nitto Tire BMW M3 2nd Place
3. Kearney, Dean Oracle Lighting Dodge Viper 3rd Place
4. Castro, Jhonnattan Gerdau Metaldom/ Nexen / Toyota GT86 4th Place
5. Pawlak, Justin Roush Performance Ford Mustang 5th Place
6. Burkett, Dan RAD Industries, Nexen Tire, Toyota Supra 6th Place
7. Essa, Michael Achilles tire, Essa Autosport M3 7th Place
8. Jones, Jeff DOC Nissan 240 8th Place
9. Beechum, Trenton Beechum Racing Ford Mustang 9th Place
10. Mohan, Kyle Built 2 Apex / Mazdatrix / KMR 2016 MX-5 10th Place
11. Rintanen, Juha STR Racing / Nexen Tire Nissan 240 11th Place
12. Field, Matt Falken Tire / Vapetasia / ARK Performance Nissan 240 12th Place
13. Hamilton, Nate Team Enjuku, BC Racing, Hankook Tire S13.4 13th Place
14. Litteral, Ryan NRG Innovation / Federal Tire Nissan 240 14th Place

Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge Friday Night Results

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Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge Friday Results;
Matt Field Takes His Second Consecutive Motegi Racing Super Drift Victory

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Long Beach, Calif. – April 7, 2017 – Formula DRIFT returned to Long Beach to host the Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge as part of the 43rd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Matt Field in the Falken Tire / Vapetasia / ARK Performance Nissan 240 goes back to back at the Motegi Super Drift Challenge.

The Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge for the fifth consecutive year brought motorsports action under the lights during the annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach within Turns 9, 10, and 11 of the famous street course. Drivers competed on Friday night in front of a capacity crowd for a chance at the prize purse and bragging rights.

“For the first time we decided to hold a doubleheader Top 16 competition over the course of the Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend,” said Jim Liaw, President of Formula DRIFT. “For our 11th consecutive year bringing drifting action on the Streets of Long Beach we wanted to showcase even more competitive action for the fans on both Friday and Saturday night.”

On night one of the doubleheader weekend drivers were placed at random into the Top 16 bracket. The Top 4 saw returning Motegi Racing Super Drift winner, Matt Field against Justin Pawlak in the Roush Performance Ford Mustang. Field outdrove his opponent to move into the Finals. Forrest Wang in the Get Nuts Lab Nissan 240 faced off against Alex Heilbrunn in the IMR / Nitto Tire BMW M3. Heilbrunn fresh off his second place finish last weekend at the Formula DRIFT season opener on the same track, kept his streak alive taking the win to move into the Finals. Forest Wang finishes in third place. The final battle was dramatic as Heilbrunn and Field collided on the first turn of the first run. Judges deemed fault to Heilbrunn giving Field the advantage. Field, after fixing the significant damage sustained from the run 1 collision kept a clean and safe follow run to take the first victory of the doubleheader.

“We went back to back!” said Matt Field, winner of the Motegi Super Drift Challenge. “There’s day two tomorrow and we’re going to try to win that too. This event was strong and it feels good to get back into a car that’s in working manner after struggling last weekend, but we’re back.”

The action continues on Saturday night for the second night of the Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. For more information visit, www.formulad.com and find Formula DRIFT on Instagram @formulad, Facebook www.facebook.com/formuladrift, Twitter @FormulaDrift, and Snapchat – formula_drift. Tune into Formula DRIFT on CBS Sports and check your local listings for airtimes.

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Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge – Friday Night Results

1. Field, Matt Falken Tire / Vapetasia / ARK Performance Nissan 240 Winner
2. Heilbrunn, Alex IMR / Nitto Tire BMW M3 2nd Place
3. Wang, Forrest Get Nuts Lab Nissan 240 3rd Place
4. Pawlak, Justin Roush Performance Ford Mustang 4th Place
5. Hamilton, Nate Team Enjuku, BC Racing, Hankook Tire S13.4
5th Place
6. Rintanen, Juha STR Racing / Nexen Tire Nissan 240 6th Place
7. Kearney, Dean Oracle Lighting Dodgle Viper 7th Place
8. Beechum, Trenton Beechum Racing Ford Mustang 8th Place
9. Castro, Jhonnattan Gerdau Metaldom/ Nexen / Toyota GT86
9th Place
10. Essa, Michael Achilles tire, Essa Autosport M3
10th Place
11. Litteral, Ryan NRG Innovation / Federal Tire Nissan 240 11th Place
12. Burkett, Dan RAD Industries, Nexen Tire, Toyota Supra
12th Place
13. Jones, Jeff DOC Nissan 240 13th Place
14. Mohan, Kyle Built 2 Apex / Mazdatrix / KMR 2016 MX-5
14th Place