Friday and Saturday of the 2019 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach ended with the Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge, an invite-only, Formula DRIFT-run Top 8 tandem elimination exhibition that gives GP attendees just a tiny taste of what a top-level, FD pro drift competition looks like (if we can borrow from on-site announcer Jarod DeAnda). The demo has been around in some form since the early 2000s, but the current iteration's real uniqueness is it's the only drifting event we know of that's both on city streets AND run at night. Organizers line the three-turn segment—Turn 9, 10 and 11 of the GP street circuit proper—with floodlights, making for some really dramatic views for fans who stick it out to the bitter end each night.
The eight to get invites this year included Las Vegas drifter Forrest Wang, who just a week earlier on this very course finished in second at the 2019 Formula DRIFT Pro season opener, and 12 months earlier doing the same at 2018's Round 1; in fact, he also came in second and third on consecutive nights of 2018's Super Drift, so it was safe to say Forrest was the odds-on favorite. And he did not let us down, hucking his 2JZ-GTE-powered Nissan S14 240SX (we think the same one piloted as a rental a week before by FD Pro rookie Mitch Larner) in all the right places and basically leaving smoky trails of perfection everywhere he went. No one stood in Forrest's way all weekend long, as he finished in first place for both comps and added to his Long Beach hardware haul—a half dozen podiums in a half dozen contests ... in-sane.
On night one, Faruk Kugay in the FK53 BMW E92 and Federico Sceriffo in the FFF Drifting Department Ferrari 599 GTB joined Wang on the podium in second and third, respectively, and on night two it was Dean Kearney's turn on the box, the Irish driver of the Oracle Lighting Dodge Viper earning silver and the only difference between the two contests' podiums. Notably, this is quite a comeback for Sceriffo, who's car went up in flames a year earlier in Long Beach on its big debut weekend; picking up two carbon fiber trophies on two straight nights must feel a little like vindication.
RAD Dan Burkett had an early steering failure on Friday that took him out for the weekend, while FD rookie Joao Barion from Brazil in the Nando Drift Chevy C7 Corvette was in and out of the comps for a variety of fixes. Local boy Kyle Mohan in the American Ethanol Mazda RX-8 was also mixing it up, possibly subbing for two driver who were initially announced but did not appear to be at the event. Enjoy more in the photo gallery from the Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge at the 2019 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.