Despite his car not making it to the US in time for the first round in Long Beach, “Mad” Mike Whiddett is pumped on his 2015 season. He used a local TV newscast to reveal the 4-rotor 26B powered RADBUL Miata MX5 chassis that he will debut on track in Atlanta in just 2 weeks. The car uses a blue base color, which is different from the traditional black-and-white bases he’s used in the past. His main sponsors, besides the obvious Red Bull partnership, include Mazda, Mobil 1, and Nitto Tire. Whiddett designed the livery himself, one of the only Red Bull athletes given that freedom. We missed him in Long Beach (he made our ’10 things’ list), but can begin the countdown at 13 days until the qualifying day of Formula Drift Atlanta.
Here is our Formula Drift Streets of Long Beach recap video we made together with Subject Media Group from Formula Drift Round 1. A fresh new look of Formula Drift shown in black and white that we just love! Let us know what you think of our highlight video.
In the middle of the 2JZ era the guys at Team Raidopower from Sweden have built a 700hp Mercedes powered S14. The car features a Rocket Bunny kit and will be driven by Tokan Bielkelof in the Drift All-Stars series for the 2015 season. I couldn’t find exact details easily on the Mercedes power plant but it appears to be a 3.2L turbocharged setup. We except to see many more Drift All-Stars cars debut over the next couple weeks.
Here is Chelsea DeNofa ripping around the Formula Drift Streets of Long Beach course in his E46 BMW. Chelsea made some changes to his program this year including a swap over to GT Radial tires. Here is what it looks like from the cockpit of his car on a flying lap around the Long Beach Grand Prix Turn 9/10/11 course.
While Long Beach was wrapping up the under represented KMC Wheels Super Drift weekend a couple hours north east Las Vegas had a huge Pro Am weekend. The former Vegas Drift series is now branded “Southwest Drift” due to expansion for the 2015 calendar year. Round 2 saw some great tandem battles and hosted a guest judge Jacob Leveton who writes sometimes for Wrecked Magazine. Here is the podium finish results and thanks to Tommy Suell for photo:
With a small field for the weekend and only 10 drivers to produce a score in qualifying the main event went on in a Top 16 format. The three drivers who failed to qualify were allowed to enter the main event so the field included 13 drivers. The night time tandem events saw several drivers make serious contact including Robbie Nishida and Odi Bakchis early in the event. In the end, Robbie Nishida made it into the finals but couldn’t beat Conrad Grunewald in the end. Here is how they finished:
1. Conrad Grunewald
2. Robbie Nishida
3. Forrest Wang
The KMC Wheels Super Drift Challenge at the Long Beach Grand Prix wrapped up a pretty mediocre qualifying session which found Formula Drift short of a full Top 16 field. Only 10 drivers managed a qualifying score as these guys will battle for a big pay day tomorrow at the Long Beach Grand Prix. Here is how they qualified:
1. Forrest Wang – 94
2. Justin Pawlak – 89
3. Odi Backhis – 84
4. Conrad Grunewald – 81
5. Charles Ng – 79
6. Robbie Nishida – 75
7. Michael Essa – 70
8. Kyle Mohan – 68
9. Jeff Jones – 66
10. Brandon Wicknick – 65
11. Dean Kearney – 0
12. Alec Hohnadell – 0
13. Joon Maeng – 0
Forrest Wang vs. BYE
Kyle Mohan vs. Jeff Jones
Conrad Grunewald vs. Joon Maeng
Charles Ng vs. Alec Hohnadell
Justin Pawlak vs. BYE
Michael Essa vs. Brandon Wicknick
Odi Bakchis vs. BYE
Robbie Nishida vs. Dean Kearney
An awesome sequential gearbox putting the 900+ horsepower from his 2JZ to the ground in one of the smoothest drift cars from a cockpit POV I have seen in a long time. Bummed we didn’t get to see Yokoi do more wall smashing over the Round 1 Formula Drift weekend.
This is another look and glance behind the scenes of Formula Drift Long Beach thanks to E3 Spark Plugs and the skills of Regine Trias. Sit back and enjoy her work tackling the various elements of a Formula Drift weekend.
After watching this video a couple hundred times and sharing it with some other pro drifters I cannot seem to determine who was truly at fault for the contact but it does seem to me when you watch this in full screen at 1080 that Fredric Aasbo intentionally makes the car spin once Odi hits him. That is somewhat hard to say either way since Odi made contact with his wheel but you can see him rotating the wheel from the drivers position and the wheel moving (implying to me that suspension wasn’t broken) in the video. Fredric was hit quite a few times in the same area this weekend which makes me lean more towards the favor of Odi Bakchis not being at fault. I am curious to see what you guys all think in the comments.
One thing is for sure, Formula Drift needs to provide judges a better viewing angle in this hairpin other than what the Livestream provided. Our POV in this footage is far better than anything the judges had to look at. Several people in my 10 Things post even chimed in about drivers knocking over clip cones and people missing it but the Livestream view is less than ideal. I think they really need an inside clip camera and one on the outside to watch wheel speeds, e-brakes, and all the other games that clearly went on in that area. Chime in below!