The tease for this weekend's 2018 Formula DRIFT pro championship season opener in Long Beach, Calif., reached a fever pitch with Media Day April 3rd, an invite-only affair at the Grand Prix of Long Beach street circuit where round 1 takes place. Content makers from outlets large and small, and from all corners of the globe, got to see up close about a dozen and a half of the pro cars that are running Turns 9, 10 and 11 on Friday and Saturday. A lucky few even scored a ride-along in said cars to fully understand the sensation of speeding through the snaking, canyon-like course sideways and blinded by tire smoke.
As luck would have it, we've already seen a trio of the cars that made a showing at Media Day, those being Forrest Wang's Vapetasia S15-S14, RAD Dan Burkett's Supra and Chris Forsberg's 370Z . The bulk of the cars, though, we were seeing for the first time this season—those included re-liveried/rewraps of Dai Yoshihara's Turn 14 BRZ, Ken Gushi's Greddy Performance and Ryan Tuerck's Gumout 86s, Mike Essa's Essa Autosport E46, and others. Fredric Aasbo in the Rockstar Energy Drink Corolla and Matt Field in the Falken C6 Corvette represented new builds to the series, while Kyle Mohan's American Ethanol MX-5 takes the prize for wildest transformation in the off-season with a custom set of fender flares (and possibly not enough wheel/tire under them - just sayin'!)
The Worthouse Drift team was also in attendance with its duo of 2JZ-powered S15. Unless you've been living underneath a rock, you'd know this is the team of reigning series champion James Deane, who's back for 2018 in a car that we think looks pretty much identical to the car he drove to triumph last year. As we've said elsewhere previously, Deane's 2017 performance was so convincing, we have no reason to believe he won't be as dominant this year - and as if to prove the point, on his first lap out he ever-so-methodically filled (scraped?) the track's outer clipping zone 2, a move that probably would've earned him maximum points if we were in competition.
Enjoy the photos, and get ready for another banger of a season in the Formula D Championship. Round 1 is April 6th and 7th on the streets of Long Beach. If you can't be there in person, check out the FD live stream at formulad.com/live.