If you're like us, you have heard the term "gridlife" before but had no clue what it actually was. Earlier this year we had the chance to fly to Michigan to see what it was for ourselves and, boy, were we blown away.
Put simply, #GRIDLIFE is a festival of car culture that lasts for three days. It combines drifting, time attack, car shows, camping, fun, and music, all in one major event. While that sounds like a no-brainer concept, it's actually much more difficult to execute than you think. It's one thing to attempt pulling off something like this, but it's another to do it well, and thank goodness for us the guys at #GRIDLIFE have figured it out.
When we arrived at Gingerman Raceway in Michigan on Thursday, the teams and drivers were just setting up and rolling in. Next to the competitors, the spectators were allowed to roll in as well and set up their camps for the weekend. You could think of the event as a Woodstock for car lovers. The weather was hot as hell and there was a sense of excitement in the air. It almost felt like we just watched the fuse of a giant stick of dynamite get lit and we were all going to watch this little town explode with people. That's exactly what ended up happening.
While we aren't as deep into the Midwest car scene as we would like to be, we are constantly impressed with the events that come out of that area of the country. The car quality out there is second to none, the tracks are super friendly, and the people are all way stoked to be part of the scene. It's really refreshing to see stuff like this.
Back to the event - Mother Nature had a different plan in mind for Friday and the track was hit with a torrential downpour and thunderstorms. While this may seem like an event killer, I can honestly say that no one left and it looked like even more people showed up during the storms.
The day was filled with tons of action on the track, with some very special drift exhibitions by the one and only Ryan Tuerck. Time attack sessions were held in the spotty weather and the changing conditions made for some exciting driving. Some of the Midwest's fastest time attack teams brought their cars out to let them loose on the Gingerman circuit as a midyear shakedown.
The Professional Awesome / Fortune Auto EVO was plagued with problems all weekend, and while they did set the fastest lap time of the weekend, they broke on the cool down lap and were forced to retire.
The drift teams from Risky Devil, ProceeD, High Fade, Tracker, Garage Collective, and more were shredding tires all day in the wet and dry. It was pretty rad seeing teams lend a helping hand to complete strangers to help get cars back on track. This is one of those grassroots events that most definitely had more of a party vibe then a serious competition. As soon as the sun went down, the rain came in with full force but that didn't end the party at all. The live performances by Will Joy, The Hood Internet, and RJD2 kept people partying well into the night.
Saturday saw the same resistance from Mother Nature, with tons of rain all day long (I had to change my sox twice) but that didn't scare off any drivers, campers or spectators - the event was THAT good. Since we knocked out most of our driving coverage the day before, it was time for us to check out the car show and see what the Midwest had to offer. It's hard enough building a car in California, but I can't imagine how difficult it is when you have snow and rain for six months out of the year. My hat goes off to these guys; some of the cars were beyond impressive.
As soon as the sun went down on Saturday the stage heated up with performances by Keys N Krates, Party Favor and Lil Panda. Oddly enough, as soon as the music started the skies opened up and really let the rain come down. It was pretty surreal seeing kids moshing to Keys N Krates in the middle of a rainstorm. Some people even brought in canopies to dance under.
Sunday was the last day to get any time attack runs in and the entire field was still there! After getting rained on and partying for two days straight, the vibe at #GRIDLIFE was still going strong. To be honest, I didn't want the event to end because I was having so much fun. As much as I want to say I would love to see this event reproduced somewhere in California, I doubt that will ever be possible. The tracks here aren't as friendly and the vibe just isn't the same out here. That may not be a bad thing; it just makes this event that much more special. I can' t wait to go back next year - maybe we will have an official Super Street merch booth (if it doesn't rain as hard).