The recent floods in Thailand have caused lots of concern and Formula Drift has decided to cancel the 2011 Thailand leg, in all due respect. However, Thai drifting teams such as the M150 Overdrive Team and the Red Bull Drift Team Thailand have showed great commitment to the sport and will not be missing the Formula Drift Asia 2011 finale.
Speaking to Nattawoot Krerpradab (Oat), the team principal of M150 Overdrive Team, last week, he shared that the floods have affected their preparation for Formula Drift when the workshop was watered out. Still, they tried their best to work their cars and make it to the competition grounds of Formula Drift Indonesia.
He said the same four drivers from his team (the M150 Overdrive Team has more drivers as seen in the photo above) that were at Formula Drift Indonesia will be coming down to compete at Formula Drift Malaysia. These four drivers are Oat himself, their top drifter Saranon Pornpatanarak (Non), Kasom Pisitsungkagarn (Amm) and Chaiwat Panthayangkool (Mai). While the Red Bull Drift Team Thailand’s cars are of matte black livery, the M150 Overdrive Team’s official colours are black and yellow!
Q: I am sorry about the floods in Thailand and I hope things get better soon. Was the M150 Overdrive Team affected?
A: The floods in Thailand have definitely affected us – The garage we work our cars at (owned and run by team driver Chaiwat Panthayangkool) was under water for a month. We are lucky that we have another place to use as our second garage. The flooding actually affected us from our preparations for Formula Drift Indonesia as parts for our cars could not be delivered to us. It is better now though; we are still using the second garage and we managed to get the new parts delivered to us at an address located in an non-flooded area!
Q: Will we be seeing M150 Overdrive at Formula Drift Malaysia 2011?
A: Yes! We will be sending four cars to compete in Formula Drift Malaysia. From last year’s experience we understand that it is a small track so in preparation for that, we need the cars to be lighter and to have quicker response. We are working on that and adjusting the cars to adapt to the track.
Q: The team is lying in the top three for the team championship title at the moment.
A: We have a good chance at the team championship and we will fight for that. We hope to achieve the best we can in Malaysia and our strategy is to go step by step and work on the details to the top!
National Thai drifting champion Non, the top driver of the M150 Overdrive Team, made history as the first Thai to compete at Formula Drift USA, when he went for the last two rounds this season at Las Vegas and Irwindale. Unfortunately his American drift debut didn’t start off too well when his car failed to make it to the start line at Vegas and his qualifying runs weren’t good enough for Top 32.
Non was second at Formula Drift Singapore but at Formula Drift Indonesia, he was knocked out in the Top 16 by rookie Indonesian drifter Demas Agil. He finished second overall to Tengku Djan at last year’s Formula Drift Asia series and is currently overall second in the championship standings for this season.
A brief chat I had with Non:
Q: How was the Formula Drift USA experience?
A: It’s a lot tougher there. The drivers are better, the cars are more powerful, more money is needed (ie. more expensive to drift there), the standards are more professional and it is more competitive there. There is greater pressure competing over there as well – if you don’t do well this season you might not get sponsorship for the next year!
Q: Will you be competing in Formula Drift USA again next year?
A: I hope so – We are in talks with sponsors right now. This year I went for the last two rounds at Las Vegas and Irwindale. I wanted to go to the Seattle round but we couldn’t get the car prepared in time. The car I use in the States is not a car brought over from Asia – we bought a left-hand drive and modified it to a right-hand drive so that was a lot of work. Also, it’s a V8 – hence very new to us. I only flew over seven days before the Vegas round. For Irwindale I flew up 20 days before the event. The setup of my USA drift car is not complete and I need time to adjust to the car. We are working to sort out the car and I definitely hope I can do a full Formula Drift USA season next year!
Q: Formula Drift Malaysia next?
A: For Malaysia, I will be bringing my Nissan S15 instead of the S14 and it will house a new engine. I want to win Formula Drift Malaysia and beat our best friend Daigo Saito so I can get a chance at the Drivers’ Championship. Ha ha ha!
Related Formula Drift Malaysia preview stories: