Back for its tenth season, Formula Drift is raising the bar and expanding the championship series to not only the driver but also to manufacturers and tire companies with respective championship titles up for grabs.
Round 1: Streets of Long Beach Formula DRIFT presented by GoPro was off to a great start with another sell out crowd. Fans were treated to a vendor village, Slammed Society car show, a display of vehicles from the Targa Trophy and a skateboard demo from the Action Sports Kids Foundation of Long Beach. "To start our ten year anniversary season in front of a sell out crowd sets a great tone for the season to come," stated Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. "We owe it all to our drivers, sponsors and the fans for helping to make the Series what it is today. We look forward to another exciting season."
If you've been following our ec blog (Part 1 and Part 2), you'd have known by now that our good friends at GSR Autosport have been developing a new chassis to compete in this years hunt for a FD championship. Thankfully they are sticking with their Garrett turbocharge S54 inline-six cylinder BMW power plant. They just wrapped it up in newer, albeit sexier, skin - an E46 M3 coupe. On the car's debut, it was nipping at the heels of many, factory budget, team's like Scion, Achilies and Ford qualifying in third place. A solid start for a chassis that has only been half dialed in and paint still curing.
As the day unfolded we were there to capture all the drama and even a wreck that helped propel another Bimmer chassis into the Final Four - Chelsea Denofa in his E46 sedan chassis. Chelsea is a former back-to-back XDC drift champion and made his rookie FD season debut last year.
Experience became the deciding factor with all three spots on the podium being found by ten-year veterans who also are past champions of the Series. The 2009 Champion Chris Forsberg in the NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Nissan 370Z was too much for Chelsea DeNofa and earned third place. The final battle pitted 2010 Formula DRIFT champion Vaughn Gittin, Jr. in the Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR against the 2011 champion Daijiro Yoshihara who also was the number one qualifier. On their first run Gittin made a small mistake at the hairpin giving Yoshihara the edge. A consistent second run by Yoshihara secured his victory giving him the first victory of the season.
"This was my first time to win in Long Beach. I've been on the podium a few times, but winning here was one of my goals and I was able to achieve that today, "said Daijiro Yoshihara, winner of Round 1: Streets of Long Beach. "I also qualified first so this was the best way to start off the season, but it is still a long way to another Championship. I hope to win another Championship this season." Formula DRIFT presented by GoPro continues at Round 2: Road to the Championship at Road Atlanta on May 10-11, 2013.
Daijiro Yoshihara in the America's Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13 took home the victory and leads the championship points chase for 2013.
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Formula DRIFT Professional Championship Presented by GoPro 2013 Standings After One Event
|1. Yoshihara, Daijiro||America's Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13||112 Points|
|2. Gittin Jr., Vaughn||Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR||92 Points|
|3. Forsberg, Chris||NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Nissan 370Z||79 Points|
|4. DeNofa, Chelsea||BC Racing BMW 3 Series||75 Points|
|5. McNamara, Darren||Falken Tire Nissan S14||64 Points|
|6. Tuerck, Ryan||Team Retaks Scion FR-S||64 Points|
|7. Gushi, Ken||GReddy / Hankook Scion FR-S||62 Points|
|8. Essa, Michael||GSR Autosport / Yokohama BMW M3||62 Points|
|9. Moen, Kenneth||Nexen Tire Nissan 240SX||58 Points|
|10. Saito, Daigo||Achilles Tire / Bridges Racing Lexus SC430||57 Points|
|11. Aasbo, Fredric||Hankook Tire Scion Racing tC||56 Points|
|12. Bakchis, Aurimas||Nexen Tire Nissan S14||56 Points|
|13. Kado, Ryan||DNA Motoring / Nexen Tire Nissan 350Z||55 Points|
|14. Powers, Matt||Nitto Tire / Fatlace Nissan S14||55 Points|
|15. Mordaunt, Patrick||Apexi / PM Racing / Diamon Lexus SX430||54.50 Points|
|16. Pawlak, Justin||Falken Tire Ford Mustang||54.50 Points|
Round 1: Streets of Long Beach Event Results
|1. Yoshihara, Daijiro||America's Tire / Falken Tire Nissan S13||Winner|
|2. Gittin Jr., Vaughn||Monster Energy / Nitto Ford Mustang RTR||Second Place|
|3. Forsberg, Chris||NOS Energy Drink / Hankook Nissan 370Z||Third Place|
Manufacturers Championship Standings After One Event
|1. Ford||146.5 Points|
|2. Nissan||137 Points|
|2. BMW||137 Points|
|4. Scion||126 Points|
|5. Lexus||111 Points|
Tire Championship Standings After One Event
|1. Falken||176 Points|
|2. Nitto||167 Points|
|3. Hankook||141 Points|
|4. Yokohama||116.5 Points|
|5. Nexen||111 Points|