Monday, May 26, 2014

Formula Drift Atlanta 2014

Formula Drift Atlanta, my favorite time of the year. Year after year, I wait for the glory that is my favorite motorsport on the best track on the schedule, which just happens to be my home track. Ive never missed an FD ATL in all of its amazing 11 years now and this year is no different. This year we didnt have FD media passes and that's ok with me, as I could concentrate on the show and seeing all my friends I rarely get to see instead of stressing to capture every little thing. Even though I didnt have passes this year, I still took it upon myself to take some pics when sober enough to do so.  So click on read more to check out all the photos I took this year in between walks to the bar. This year was wild, dont miss it. 



Lets start this journey off with a solid pit walk, we got there early on Friday for good seats which gave me a good opportunity to take pictures without the 15k or so people walking around the pits like on Saturday.  

Below is Forrest Wangs car (cover pic as well) showing off his new wisfab kit which is an insane 65 degrees of awesomeness. 


Charles Ng down there with his brand new G37. He made it to the top 16 on his second race back in two years so I say he got a pretty good season ahead of him.



I recommend, if your planning on coming to any FD, come early and stay till the very end. My favorite part of any formula drift is walking around the pits early in the day with the odd silence only broken ever so often by teams testing there engines. Its also a great time to stand around and talk to the drivers as your the only person around and there not swamped with fans.


Some teams however have no time to shoot the shit with you, like Chelsa Denofa, whos team was swapping a transmission in at the time. Denofas car is his greatest weakness, he drives damn hard, maybe to hard.



How hard? So hard hes devised a crash bar system with BC Racing Coilovers on it so he can literally bounce off the walls. Hes entire rear end can be squished down to nothing. Pretty awesome. 


Joon Maeng was in good spirits over the weekend as his team pulled some serious hours putting his car back together after this crash. Its really impressive that his team could put it back together after that. 


Ive seen Taka at a lot of FD's now and I think this is the first time I saw him not working on the car. Maybe they finally got it perfect? Either way best of luck to him and my favorite chassis this year.


Sadly Matt Field didnt make it into the show this year, he seems to be reeling in his new build but damn does his car blind you with awesomeness.


Nate has been tweaking his car for a year now and brought out a new 80's style livery. I totally approve.


Chris Jeanneret is bringing Honda back to FD this year with this 1000ish hp K24 S2000 but sadly it broke after one run. 

Danny George was out in his newer model Miata this year and looking pretty good with it. Danny, known as the peoples champ, was out doing what he does best, making friends.


Essa's car below is looking pretty sexy this year but missing something to me. A title sponsor. Im not really sure what is going on in FD right now, Essa, the champion from last year, with a great attitude, with a great looking car, with a good amount of fan praise....has no title sponsor....why?   If this was any other motor sport large companies would be lining up to sponsor somebody like this. FD has the youngest demographic of any motorsport, its probably the fastest growing motorsport besides GRC maybe, what the hell is going on?


Clearly with FD getting larger every year, selling out tracks consistently, and going for 11 years now, its not a fad. So the only thing I can think off is that the owners of these large companies or there marketing people totally have there head up there ass.


Its not like teams are running stock 240sx's with SR20's anymore. The teams are serious these days, with even the "lower" lever drivers rocking twin turbo V8's. This is drag racing build insanity mixed with door to door racing.


Sit back for a second..... can you think of another motor sport which allows 1000hp cars and is door to door racing? Ill give you some time, go ahead and think..........

Pretty much every single motorsport out there regulates the cars via restricters, if not totally locking down the engine all together.


Maybe one day Formula drift will do that, but not now. Today we are living in the Group B era of drifting.

 Today with so many people bitching about how FD is going crazy with the "horsepower wars" its probably only a matter of time till someone lays down the law. Hopefully it never happens but I think one day were going to look back on the cars of today and think "damn those were the days, drifting was insane back then"



Which bring me back to my sponsor point, where the fuck is Red Bull? NOS has left Chris Forsberg in the dry this year after getting second place last year and won them a champion ship before in 2009. Monster is the only energy drink still in the game.



All that seems left is the brands struggling to make a name for them selves like Sikky. You may have read about Sikky before on here as I run a Sikky kit on my own LS1 Swapped 240.



The had a pretty awesome set up in there pits, that engine ran on the stand like that!



Going along with my sponsor rant, FD was huge this year, it was absolutely packed.


So packed that my friends showed up at 7am to put up the canopy to get a proper seat. Which lead to some later in the day naps.



It also lead to Danny Georges crew looking for refuge in case of rain and I invited them in and had a great time with Bil and the rest of the crew all weekend. Bil is a true drift fan/ beard king.


Now lets get to some fucking drifting.


I only snapped up some pictures of the first day this year, as I just enjoyed myself for the big show.


The big show this year was amazing, and ten times better than last year which got wild from all the rain.


However, even though Conrad did his 105 mph backwards entry no rain dance.


The rains did come on Friday, practice was dry and right before qualifying it poured like a hurricane was coming our way.


 This lead to the longest qualifying in FD history with all drivers getting a practice run before there actual qualifying run.


Rain is one of those things that's interesting in FD, again lets go back to my rant. Think of some other motorsports with cars at this level that run in the rain?   Even Global Rally Cross races have been cancelled due to rain.



In Formula Drift its foot down, rain or shine.


Chris Forsberg showing how its done up towards the horseshoe. Another driver scorned by the lack of good sponsors, going the way of the dark side to put it out there in the open. He could be the best drifter in the would, yet hes got a blank door.


The clouds and the smoke mixing for a truly awesome picture. 


 So FD? what do I think 11 years in. Well, clearly were on to something special, something very very special in the motorsports world and marketing departments are to busy worrying about soccer moms and crossovers or ads on Golf channels (looking at you Hyundai).


Scion and Ford are seemingly the only two manufactures that understand that selling to a young market is selling cars for 50 years not selling to people who will change there minds when the lease is over.


And just like that is was over for my camera time, the drifting never stopped for two days, yet I put the camera in the car to save it from an early demise. With that I wanted to leave everyone (all dozen of you) that reads this with some important thoughts. To everyone complaining about the horsepower wars, do you really want to ruin the Group B or Turbo F1 era of our sport? Do you actually want to go back to the days of 300hp, do you want it to end up like Nascar? And to sponsors out there, with the coverage these cars get where the hell are you? and to all the fans out there, what can we do to keep our sport as awesome as it is now? I personally cherish these times with no limits and total chaos on the grid of FD, when is it time to stop complaining about every call, wheel gap, V8, course change and car livery? I think the time is now.

Till next time-  stay friv - Ish

2 comments:

  1. I think FD should remain rules wise as it is with you running whatever you feel is going to give you the best chance to go out there and win, be it a decades old Chassis with hundreds/thousands of hours work and money put into it or a brand new car with all of the electronic limits disabled run what you bring to the track nothing more nothing less. As far as sponsors go I think it will take the sport getting solid dependable television coverage that shows the evens live or at least within some reasonable delay but not showing an event from May until August (I'm Looking at you NBCsports) is ridiculous and hurtful to the coverage and the sport, though this probably has to do with the sparse schedule of events, having only 7 events is fine but spreading them out over as many months limits the excitement from following the sport. And I hate to say it maybe they need to take a bit from the book of NAscar and have multiple divisions to fill in the gap so to speak. An open division that is just as the sport standsrace what you bring if you can qualify you can race it, and a limited with some cap on what could be spent on the build or horsepower or whatever that makes the playing field slightly more even but mostly in a financial sense. with some alternating schedules maybe the sport can pick up a bit. Remember we are now in an era where even Nascar has added a dirt race to the Truck series to get more interest in it.

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    1. These are some really great points cobra, I think TV coverage is key and we run into a chicken or egg problem with this. In order to get a good TV set going your right we will probably need more races, but for the teams to feasibly run more events there going to need more sponsors to cover the cost. PRO2 is out now and I think its perfect for what your saying on different levels, but its on the same weekend with sorta the same people. If the schedule was moved and these teams had different race weekends I think it would close some of that time gap in between events. All good points.

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