Going to the dirty-dirty for the first time, you quickly realize that it's a lot like Los Angeles. Both have beautiful city skylines, which of course means you'll inevitably run into traffic. Both cities have a big, international airport, but chances are Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson doesn't have a Cosplay Zorro closing down multiple terminals like LAX. Before '16, it had been a few years since I'd actually been to the South, but when a man like Chris Stewart invites you to a rad event like Gridlife, you should definitely pack your bags for three days of music and motorsports. The plan was to have our social media guru, Mike Sabounchi, do an epic road trip from California all the way to Atlanta. Grumpy old man Yamz and I would take to the skies and connect with Mike in the south.
We didn't head to Atlanta right away. Instead,.we decided to drop by and visit our friends at SPEC Clutch in Alabama, where they gave us a shop tour and fed us some awesome BBQ, because that's what you eat in the South! David Norton of SPEC Clutch showed us his crazy dry carbon, widebody, turbocharged Lincoln LS. Another thing you'll notice about the South is the people are extremely polite and friendly. Don't be surprised if a complete stranger comes up to you to say hello, like Phil Sohn. Some of you might remember him for his amazing 13B powered Mazda RX-3. At the time we featured his car, the exterior was two-tone with Mazda Blue Mica and Porsche Gunmetal Gray, but now he opts for a clean, solid white exterior.
The next day we drove four hours to get to Gridlife Road Atlanta and by the time we got there, the action had already begun. People from all walks of life came to camp, drive, and party for the next three days. On the track you had drifting sessions, time attack competitions, and an HPDE driving school. For Road Atlanta, an all-star cast of drifters showed up, including Geoff Stoneback, Chris Forsberg, Vaughn Gittin Jr and Ryan Tuerck. On the last day, these pro drivers were able to drift full course, which as you could expect concluded with a few battle scars (ask Geoff Stoneback about his rear quarter panel). Near the vendor village was a car show with some surprisingly solid builds, like Kari Kitt's imported S13 Silvia K's and Tae Ming Chang's AP2 S2000. At night, when the track got cold, there was a musical festival with DJs and live performances that included PM Andrew W.K. and even mainstream artist Waka Flocka Flame. For a lack of a better description, it was lit.
Besides being the strip club capitol of America, there are so many things to love about Atlanta, and the southern belles and rich car culture are just two. From what Yamz says, it sort of felt like NOPI tour. Personally, I wasn't around during NOPI, but if we did do a tour to Gridlife, I imagine it would be a whole lot of moonshine and hazy Waffle House dining. Maybe it's time to bring back the Super Street Tour ...