Yes, this is what I’ve been waiting for!
(The wind was so strong I’m wearing three layers! Two jackets and a tank top…)
After three years of following Formula Drift Asia closely, I’m here to catch the original Formula Drift series and see the standards of the drivers here.
Formula Drift co-founders Jim Liaw and Ryan Sage were on-site to greet me, and take me round for a walk of the grounds.
This is the sixth year that Formula Drift is held in Long Beach, of its eight-year history. This is the track (at times like these I wish I had a camera that can shoot in panoramic):
I shot this from the judges’ table, that’s high above it has a clear view of the entire track except for the 90-degree bend after the start from inside.
The cars were coming in for technical inspection, which I observed in awe. This is 2010 FD USA overall 7th Rhys Millen’s 2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe:
I didn’t stay too long, but I managed to catch some hot cars…
This is 2009 Formula Drift USA champion Chris Forsberg and his gleaming shining 2011 NOS Energy Drink Nissan 370Z. Forsberg finished overall 6th last year.
I can’t wait to see him in action man! I was so excited about the car that I forgot to ask to take a photo with him Nvm, there’s still tomorrow and Saturday!
Next, the new friend I made in KL at last year’s Formula Drift Malaysia – Robbie Nishida! Good friend of 2008 D1GP champion Daigo Saito and very kindly helped me as the translator when I interviewed Daigo.
Here’s Robbie and his 1990 Nissan 240SX:
Haha, Robbie looked so funny in the photo before the last.. He was making some face before the camera lens focused on him. Every driver had to take a headshot today!
I’ve always been a fan of the BMW Z4 and now there’s one right here set up for drift. Check out Michael Essa’s 2008 GSR Autosport Nitto Tire BMW Z4:
There were other cars as well, and I had the opportunity to speak with Korean American Joon Woo Maeng who has a really kind face and boyish looks. He was telling me how much he loves his 2009 Full Tilt Poker Mazda Nitto RX-8. I recognised the HKS sequential gearbox which I saw at the HKS factory when I visited it earlier this year:
A walk of the track before I headed back to the hotel greeted me with interesting sights, like this PINK Megan Racing Team cars and the defending champion Vaugh Gittin Jr. himself…
Back to the hotel for me after that and I had a two-hour break before supposedly going for the Formula Drift Season Kick-Off Party at Wokcano Long Beach at 6pm. However, upon reaching my room, I was barely done uploading the pics when I fell asleep and couldn’t get up until 11pm.
It’s now 3.30am here and I have to be up by 7am to walk over with judge Andy Yen for the drivers’ meeting at 8am. More news coming your way…
More photos on my Facebook album here!