Back for its second year, the Street Driven Tour again partnered with U.S. Drift and HyperFest (now in its 15th year) to open the 2016 season with three days of automotive shenanigans at Virginia International Raceway (VIR), in a weekend already stacked with NASA-sanctioned road racing and Rally Sport competition, camping, live music, and more.
The festivities got underway Thursday and Friday on VIR’s 3.27-mile, 18-turn Full Course, with NASA-sanctioned road racing and the 2016 Tire Rack® Ultimate Track Car Challenge (UTCC) – an unaffiliated event that invited a diverse field of the fastest track-prepped cars (and one Jeep) to compete for fastest-lap honors.
Thirty-eight competitors entered the UTCC, spanning the performance spectrum from NASA Time Trial (TT and various time-attack series, to prototype and GT-class machines, fast street cars and even some high-profile SEMA builds. After two solid days of track duty, Victor Seaber and the no. 09 prototype “Viper Stohr” took top honors.
Offering a brief respite in between the two days of NASA/UTCC serious business was the first Street Driven / Hyperfest event of the weekend: Friday evening’s Barbie Car Challenge, a downhill race open to competitors fielding ridiculous kid-sized plastic vehicles (two- three- or four-wheeled variants). Any modification was allowed, but no motors or engines could be used – this was a contest purely of driver skill. And gravity. And whatever cheating you could get away with.
After three rounds of eliminations, Captain Jack Sparrow doppelganger Jay West and his Sim Seats Power Wheels Ford F150 STX scored three straight victories, including a brazen late-race pass (shove?) of Formula D judge and U.S. Drift frontman Brian Eggert in the “Slot Machine” (a name that was amended due to the family nature of Hyperfest) NASA/KC HiLites Power Wheels Jeep Wrangler.
Saturday was back to business as usual (or at least as much “business” as drift fans care to address on a Saturday at the track). Drift bashing took place all day on VIR’s Patriot course, with paid drift ride-alongs courtesy of Chris Forsberg in his Infiniti “drift sedan” and later his all-new twin-turbo Nissan 370Z, Ryan Tuerck and his 2JZGTE-powered FR-S “street car,” and Vaughn Gittin Jr. and the Ford Mustang RTR FD competition car he shook down here last year.
Other bigger names in attendance: Geoff Stoneback, Enjuku Racing’s Nate Hamilton and Kevin Lawrence, Faruk Kugay (on the mic), Austin Meeks, Tommy Van Cleef, and lots of other East Coast rippers you’ll hear more about in due time.
While the drifting ensued on the Patriot Course and NASA racing continued around the Full Course, Street Driven’s car show and vendor took over the access roads amidst it all, bringing some seriously clean competitors to this year’s event. Whether classic muscle or late-model import, stanced/flush or track-prepped you’re into, you could find some of the cleanest examples of it here. Seriously – impressive stuff.
And of course, what would a Street Driven event be without the Drift Mini Games? VIR saw the return of three favorites: the “Hard Parking Challenge” (where Ryan Tuerck came to rest mere inches to a wall of boxes from a 40+mph drift), “Drift Soccer” (won by Rapper Dan Savage, the only competitor to score repeat goals), and 360 Drift (with Kevin Lawrence most stylishly connecting two turns with a 360-degree drift).
Finally, to end the night was a bout of pure, uncut debauchery: the burnout contest. Surrounded by an alcohol-fueled band of hooning heathens thirsting for destruction, competitors fielded everything from dedicated burnout machines to competition cars, tow vehicles, rentals, a few parents’ cars (we suspect), and even a Mini Cooper (which did surprisingly well!) in a smokey, backfiring, radiator-hose-blowing ode to the gods of grip that you’d have to be dead inside not to thoroughly enjoy. It was awesome.
The Street Driven Tour continues its reign of drift-bashing and automotive antics with three more events scheduled this year: St. Louis’ Gateway Motorsports Park on June 30th, Atlanta Motorsports Park on August 20th, and Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 24th. Learn more at www.streetdriventour.com.