The speed at which the 2017 Formula Drift season is passing, is frightening. It feels like only a couple of weeks ago that James Deane and Piotr Więcek shared their plan to compete a full FD campaign in 2017, but in reality, it was 10 months back. By the time the Irwindale final comes around in October, it will have been over a year since the decision was made.
From the outside, expectations have been high for the newest team in the paddock. In particular, expectations for what James would achieve in his first season have been astronomical. It hasn’t been quite that straight-forward, but what the Worthouse Drift Team have achieved in what has only ever been intended as a learning year, has far exceeded even their own expectations.
When I caught up with the team in Monroe last week, James was narrowly leading the points standings with Piotr being miles ahead of his nearest rival for Rookie of the Year honours.
The cars had been transported from the previous round in Montreal, all the way back to the Bridges Racing workshop in Huntington Beach, California, before making the long drive north along PCH to Washington state. While at Bridges, both cars were checked over, and in Piotr’s case, repaired after his run in with the wall at the Autodrome St-Eustache.
A championship isn’t won in the final rounds, but it most certainly can be lost.
We’ve just wrapped Thursday practice at the sixth round of the 2017 Formula Drift championship at Evergreen Speedway, north of Seattle. Going into this event, the title race is still technically wide open, but I think that in reality, there are three main contenders.
At the top of the standings, in his first full Formula Drift season, is James Deane. With two wins so far in 2017, Deane has been top of the points standings since round three at Atlanta. It’s more than he ever could have dreamed of, considering that this year was intended as a recce year for the Worthouse Drift Team.
I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that we’re already beyond the halfway point of the 2017 Formula Drift season.
It only feels like a few weeks ago that James Deane and Piotr Więcek informed me of their intention to contest a whole FD season for the first time. It was actually September of last year, and the months since have been an absolute whirlwind. From the highest of highs, to some pretty significant lows, it has been a rollercoaster so far.
For the fifth round, the traveling circus headed north and to the only stop outside of the United States. Autodrome Saint-Eustache probably isn’t the first venue you think of when it comes to drifting, but the Montreal-based circuit is a haven for drifting talent.
The family run facility might be modest, but it more than makes up for it in character while also supplying a demanding course for the Formula D roster.
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.