10 Things I Learned About Formula Drift Orlando

10. Can Jhonnattan Castro Keep Finding that Potential?
The last time I remember Castro driving this good was at Homestead in Miami two season ago. He actually looked solid and consistent out of the box and it wasn’t the biggest shock to me when he took out Vaughn Gittin Jr. in the Top 16. Jhonnattan needs to spend some serious time figuring out why he manages to drift so good in Florida. I cannot figure out if its because he is close to home, the humidity, his family/friends around, or just a random round he focuses in on drifting. He has the driver ability and talents in my eyes. Now, he just needs to dig up what makes him more focused and repeat repeat repeat.

9. Chris Forsberg’s 370z Looked Slow and Off the Pace
This season seems to of left behind Chris Forsberg’s 370z in terms of pace and speed around the course. All weekend at Orlando Speed World his car looked visually slower than some other teams on the grid. This was highlighted in a major way with his battle against Kristaps Bluss in the Final Four. If you watch the runs, Forsberg enters on Bluss door but then the BMW just powers through the course and speeds up at angle around the bank and Forsberg’s 370z cannot seem to do that. The car isn’t so slow that is belongs in Pro 2 or anything but his speed while drifting could make the difference between a third championship and finishing fourth place.

8. Drifting without Tires
The rule changes with a tire debead seemingly have confused about 90% of Formula Drift fans out there. I will try and clear it up quickly but it might require its own follow up post. Last year the rule was – a tire debead at anytime in a tandem battle resulted in a loss. In 2016, the rules state you cannot fix a tire debead but it does not result or impact a zero score. So, for example, Jeff Jones in qualifying lost a tire and kept drifting around the course. He was given a 70 for his run and the tire had no impact directly on the score but you have to imagine it slowed him down impacting his score from him having say, four tires. So, if you are in the first part of a tandem battle, you lose, because a car without a tire doesn’t pass tech to run again. If its the second run of a battle and you can keep going then its fair game. Now, here are the list of battles impacted by this rule. I respect Formula Drift for putting a line in the sand and I think teams need to figure out other ways than running 11 PSI in tires to get grip out of the car. Also, in the case of JTP – let the dude put air in his tires for crying out loud after contact and deflation.

1. Nate Hamilton Pro 2 Top 16 Battle (Loss Due to Tire Debead)
2. Mad Mike Whiddett Top 32 Battle versus Ken Gushi (Loss Due to First Round)
3. Fredric Aasbo Top 16 Battle vs Kyle Mohan (Loss Tire in follow and still won)
4. Justin Pawlak Top 16 Battle after contact with Forsberg (Ran but Spun Due to Low Tire Pressure)
5. Fredric Aasbo Final 4 Battle with Tyler McQuarrie (Lost on First Run and Tire Remounted)


7. Please Sell Your Infiniti G37 and Build an S-Chassis Charles Ng!
The last two times I have been impressed with Charles Ng drifting in the last year was Irwindale 2015 in Forrest Wang’s S14 and this weekend in Juha’s S14. Good news is, Charles Ng messaged me saying that he is bringing Juha’s S14 out for Formula Drift Round 4 in New Jersey. It makes me wonder if he actually built and tuned a S-Chassis to his liking how good he would be at drifting. I would boldly claim a Top 10 championship result from him. Keep an eye on him in New Jersey to make a serious impact.

6. The Rookie Class Needs Serious Improvement
The rookie class has a 92% loss percentage this season collectively after three rounds of the Pro championship. The only victory of the season for the rookie class was the Matt Field vs. Faruk Kugay battle where Matt Field made an illegal pass, hit Faruk on line, and then tried to run him over before pushing him off track. Faruk Kugay leads the ROTY championship with 68 points right now. However, Cameron Moore, Andy Gray and Alex Heilbrunn were the beacons of light this weekend that the rookies might show up at some point. Cameron Moore battled Forsberg again in Top 32 and held his own. I like that he isn’t phased by the big names and now needs to focus on qualifying higher to get an easier 32 draw. Alex Heilbrunn continues to be super inconsistent through practice but did pull together four nice runs against Vaughn Gittin in Top 32 while pushing him to OMT. Andy Gray pushed event winner Fredric Aasbo to OMT in the Top 32 in a battle which I felt Gray could of taken the win. The rookies are showing hope but the season is quickly passing them by as New Jersey is the halfway mark. A collective 92% tandem battle loss percentage is something they need to shake quick or rethink Pro 2 for 2017.

5. The Eastern European Krisptas Bluss Was on Fire This Weekend!
He was just one turn away from destroying Fredric Aasbo and winning his first Formula Drift event when the car got unsettled and gripped up. Kristaps runs a skeleton crew from Latvia to manage his Formula Drift program. His car is a rocket ship and I have never seen someone make low angle drifting look so good. He has this mixture of low angle and then dials in big angle and back to low angle that I imagine is a nightmare to follow behind. H also adds in some serious style, smoke, and flair with his drifting to keep people entertained. If you missed this event, watch his Final Four battle with Chris Forsberg or his tandem chase run in the finals with Fredric Aasbo to see what this European drifter is all about. I hope he can put down a couple more amazing performances like that before the season is over.


4. Pro 2 Redeemed Itself After Road Atlanta Disaster 
I gave Pro 2 a second chance this weekend and watched the entire Top 16 competition, even after Road Atlanta was the most painful event in history to watch. The redemption of Pro 2 was quite high this time and it featured some seriously entertaining battles. I was bummed that none of the younger drifters didn’t manage to take out Landerville or Jones over the weekend but they put down some good performances. Kelsey Rowlings had a notable performance and was killing it in practice but went in a little too deep in qualifying and missed the show. Kevin Lawrence did the same in competition by running too high on the bank and crashing. I felt like he was on the road to a first place finish without that mistake. All in all, I am excited for Texas but sad it is more than three months away.

3. Busted with Illegal Adhesive on Tires
I was going to make an entire post about the Chelsea DeNofa Glue GaTe but Jacob Leveton laid out most of the important facts here in a write up. I spoke with at least eight Formula Drift drivers who told me without hesitation what he did is 100% illegal. I don’t think Chelsea realized or cared what he was doing was illegal, mostly because they left the tires laying around for everyone to see at OSW. In fact, some glue caked tires were just laying by the Turn 14 Distribution tent all weekend (I spaced on taking a photo, sorry). Formula Drift waited to see if he would pull to the line with these tires for competition against Castro and he did. So his Top 32 points are stripped away and his qualifying points remain since no proof can be found he used those tires then. Formula Drift does need to work on the verbiage of this rule moving forward but I imagine it was left very vague to nail people on things nobody has even thought of to do yet.

2. Pat Mordaunt Had the Chase of the Weekend
I just really loved Pat Mordaunt’s chase against Ryan Tuerck. That was one of the best follows around the bank I have seen in a long time. Don’t believe me?! Check it out on our Instagram here.


1. Fredric Aasbo Drove Like An Asshole 100%
My biggest disappointment of the weekend was Fredric Aasbo. Him and his team clearly figured out the bare minimum they needed to do to win a battle and repeated it until they won the event. He provided no flair, hardly any impact, and chased at a very conservative position that probably drifted the 5,000+ fans to sleep. I understand the gamesman ship and strategy are a huge part of the sport but I also think he owes it to the fans to try, implement risk, and actually attempt to tandem at a high level and entertain people. This compounded by the fact they claimed they had “engine issues” so the car was slow but managed to keep pace between the initiation cone and inner clip one from Thursday practice through the main event. Aasbo should take the money he won from the event and reimburse the fans who paid good money to be entertained over the weekend. I am also aware that fans and people have been reaching out to us asking about specific judging calls involving Aasbo’s runs. I have reached out to the judging panel and they are working on a story to explain some calls from his runs so please stay tuned.


  1. CatShitOne says:

    F’D judging is shitty as fuck and has been for years, they always favor a drive. Aasbo, seems to be their bitch for the past few years. Now I’m not saying his driving is shit or anything like that(in fact it is great at most times) but when he is basically inactive drifting he should not win.

  2. FuckAssboo says:

    Fuck aasbo. Fuck formula drift. This event ruin it all for me.

  3. LukeMunnell says:

    Nice insight, but I have to disagree on the Aasbo op. He did drive slow, but he drove clean. On the wall, on the line consistently with very little correction (that I could see, anyway), never taking out the clipping points … It was almost like he paid attention in the driver’s meeting and then developed a strategy that would keep his car together and keep him advancing per the judging criteria.

    Can’t hate the drivers for stretching the rules in ways that might favor them. That’s just sportsmanship. Unless it’s failing to realize that tire glue is a “device” just as beadlocks are. That’s just a mistake.

  4. Awfilms says:

    Corrupt!!! Lmao

  5. Flow. says:

    Nobody going to address that this course was fucking awful? Literally one sweeper transitioning into another sweeper, that’s it. Venue barely looked like it could handle the event itself.

    Yet another event that I turned off after 2 runs.

  6. Scaifey86 says:

    Re #1: Now I don’t necessarily consider myself a fan of Aasbo’s, but asshole is a bit of a stretch.

    He drove professionally.

    It may not have been exciting, excitement does not win the rounds, fans sure absolutely, but doing exactly what the judges ask of you is how you win in a judged sport. Which is exactly what he did, and why he won, not that I liked it or thought he deserved it either.

    Now in a professional sport, whether you like it or not, everyone is out there to win, and if you are just a hired driver which Fred is, winning is all you go out to do. You can certainly have fun doing so, but like every other sport at this level, it is not why you play.

    If it is you do a Powers and stop so you can enjoy it again.

  7. OGLarry says:

    That shitty track design and transitions didn’t help the venue. Competition and excitement were stifled by debeaded tires. I hated this track last year and still hate it. I actually like FD, their last Japan round was great! But this track, this venue just wasn’t good. I first for the first time turned it off. Hopeful for the a better show next round.

  8. Curtis says:

    I think the biggest problem with the Judging from a fan perspective is we don’t know exactly what the Judges want the drivers to do because the Driver’s meeting is not streamed.

    We see a a driver pull of a stylish insane run that may not fit the criteria that the judges wanted but looks good to the fans and then fans complain that the judges got it wrong. There’s need to be more transparency with what the judges are looking for when judging so the fans can understand why they made some of their judgement calls.

    I only saw Gray’s chase run on Aasbo, I like Gray but I think they made the right decision. Gray had amazing proximity but he didn’t fill the track sections the way Aasbo did. He cut it short to stay there with him which looked awesome but if he’s not filling the sections like the lead car then he’s not mimicking it like the judges wanted. Just my opinion of course. It was good to see Gray more adjusted to the car this round.

    I’m also a big fan of Denofa but think he knew what he was doing was a bit dodgy and that he was bending the rules a bit. Either way the rule needs to clear and leave no gray area’s

  9. Jabroni says:

    @Curtis the chase car running a slightly shallower line is pretty much the norm in drifting….as long as your not borderline passing the lead car that’s pretty standard unless your car is significantly faster than the lead car.

  10. Curtis says:

    Gray is pushing 1000HP and Aasbo and team said they were low on power. It wasn’t a slightly shallower line in my opinion, it was very shallow. It was still good to watch though

  11. Jabroni says:

    if you think the andy gray call was right you have to be blind.
    Aasbo lead run was good he did what ne needed wasn’t overly exciting or anything not really flashy but textbook. in the chase gray sucked up to his door on the bank with a few adjustments but nothing to write home about. he did hit the inside clip coming off the bank but he clipped it didn’t plow it wasn’t severly off line. aasbo created minimal separation on the power alley transition but gray reels him back in and give him the D1 door ride across the finish.

    Andys lead he leaves aasbo from go on the bank and continues to leave him off the bank continues leaving him across the transition, the inner clip into the sweeper dose fall but I think it was blown over because it fell on its own between gray and aasbo. and once in the sweeper aasbo falls even further back while running the shallow line to try and catch up and is about 4 chasers back 5 Scions by my count crossing the finish line.

    the clip being clipped and the minor adjustments on the bank from gray I feel do not over shadow the fact and tandem never happened on aasbos chase run…I go to practice event and the spacing between cars without cages is closer than that tandem run.

    clear cut win in my eyes but that’s just me

  12. Curtis says:

    If you actually read my earlier post you would have noticed I said I only saw Gray’s chase run

  13. Joaquin P says:

    I disagree with the number 1, Aasbo is not an asshole, he drove only enough good to secure the win, with the help and luck of bad judging, so in my opinion it’s not his fault.

    Also,in my opinion, this season Aasbo’s Scion tc looks like it had lees performance than the rest of the field, maybe it’s time to change the car.

    I didn’t watched Top 32 and Top 16 but in Top 8, imo Kenny Moen clearly beat Aasbo. So I dont known what actually the judges was searching.

    So the main problem is the judging, as some say the fans don’t know what the judges want, that’s true but the only confusion should be the line judging (if someone don’t know the clip points), the speed and “style” judging it’s “easy” to define. (At least easier than line judging)

    The judging with the change of rules without advice (the debead tire rule), produced confusions in fans.

  14. Drift Bukake says:

    Aasbo is a talented driver, and with help from the judges he is unstoppable. It’s fairly accurate at this point to predict his giant square ass head will win the championship this year.

  15. isho says:

    Didnt like Orlando last year (only yokoi made it watchable) and same thing this year. I find the layout to be pretty boring to watch. Hopefully they can get rid of it in next years schedule.

    Bluss was absolutely on point this round, but somehow he always has the tendency to over-rotate or straighten. Though it always surprises me how quick his BMW is.

    In my opinion, aasbo was far from being an asshole. It was very clear that he had engine issues in the previous rounds which is obvious because theyre basically maxing out that engines capabilities. So him being conservative when he could just to save his car was definitely a smart choice. Some people just want to cry when they’re not entertained I guess.

    I dont think it was told during the stream, but im certain that the yellow zones down on the bank werent meant to be crossed. It seemed pretty obvious that they were put there for that reason. Gray obviously crossed it thus received deduction and giving the win to aasbo, so i honestly dont know why everyone got mad at the call.

  16. Chewy says:

    Aasbo lost to gray in top 32. Hands down. But we all know politics matter. Like I’ve said before look at the top 3 in the championship already… So stupid. Get some new judges or something. It’s a joke these days.

  17. Blaze1 says:

    Formula Derp on Aasbo’s runs

    He got beat by Gray for sure.

  18. KPA says:

    Is the same old stuff, certain drivers get a bump because they are expected to be in the show and others lesser known drivers have to dominate the run from start to finish just to hope to advance.

    Some of the teams that use to dominate are just tapped out on power and traction for their platform and other teams continue to improve. It use to be Dai and s-chassis spoiling everyone day. Now fresh team and driver are a threat and some of the veterans are finding it harder to keep these guys off their doors. So they are doing whatever it takes to get the win! No fault in that but, it does compromise the show.

  19. Curtis says:

    Most obvious thing from that video is how consistent Aasbo’s runs were. Regardless of what fans think we still never know exactly what the judges wanted the drivers to do and where they wanted them to place their cars.

    Can’t really argue with the judges decision when we don’t know what their looking for which is why again I say they need to stream the Driver’s meetings

  20. KPA says:

    @ Curtis

    Sometimes I don’t think the judges know what they want to see. It for sure changes from the drivers meeting to the track. They tell angle is better then proximity but always reward the shallow proximity in tandem battles.

  21. Jabroni says:

    Curtis I was at the drivers meeting lol he lost bruh!!!

  22. Curtis says:

    @Jabroni Well that’s easy for you to say since you know what the judges wanted from the day, if you were there. My point still is 99% of FD fans don’t and they need to more informative to fans

  23. Brian says:

    Damn this event really isn’t something for aasbo to be proud of it really wasn’t, I just hope when he and papadakis look back at all the runs or even that derp video they are embarresed by it, that was some sleezy shit they took part in, I guess he’s the new foresberg, super happy for kristaps, that car is a rocket.

  24. chris beasley says:

    I cant believe the 1 judge picked aasbo after the first andy grey battle. I would love to hear his justification for that. battle wasn’t even close.

  25. SK1DS says:

    I think FD Orlando needs some adjustment on tire rules and some leeway. The middle section with the transition is very bumpy, so the tires are stressed, the car is stressed and to get any grip between the wheels hopping off the track and the rear bumper dragging on the wall they need to run low pressures to drift well. Any higher pressure is driving on ice, and at such a small venue you need as much grip and control as possible.

    I think Aasbo is not actually invested in the sport. He is a hired driver and so his main objective is to win and make money. If he had any deeper connection to the sport he would put on a show. Fundamentally more fans means more money, more money means more options, events, and sponsors, and more people and organizations involved puts FD as a larger organization on the world map of motorsports. Notice how people like Kristap, Juha, Mad Mike and Castro go balls to the wall, all out to do what they love and give a good show. Juha was amazing in ATL, Kristap in Orlando was amazing as well. Of course the OG American drivers go as hard as possible as this is their legacy and home, and hearing them talk about the sport really shows how they legitimately care, versus when Aasbo talks he seems so disconnected and removed from the sport.

    I hate to beat a dead horse, but after hearing some people talk about fan perception VS judges meeting, I think the drivers meeting should be televised and shown to fans so we get an idea as to what they are looking for and how certain lines, taps or clips affect the overall score. We as fans think the judges decisions are completely wrong (and from our perspective of wanting a show, they are) but if we see the drivers meeting and know what they are looking for, we can understand who is fundamentally better versus who can put on a show.

  26. Doof says:

    It’s not that Orlando needs leeway, it’s that it needs to be ditched altogether. That track is a straight shit show.

    I watched that video Derp posted, and it’s pretty good.

    Aasbo drove like a bitch. Were his lead runs consistent? Yes. What about his chase runs though? Aasbo is capable of getting on peoples’ doors without issue, as we’ve seen many times in the past. At this event though, he was lengths away from being on anybody’s door. You can blame whatever you want, but to me, THAT is an inactive chase. He’s hanging back and being conservative and not getting too close. His transition sucked every run too. So much hesitation and no angle anywhere. For all these people running knuckle kits, you’d think people would use them…..

    Plus, if the car being down on power was really the issue, then how the hell did he all of a sudden find a way to stay on Bluss’ door in the final battle?

    The rules in FD contradict itself in so many ways, it’s retarded.

    I’ve said it before, and i’ll say it again. I don’t give a shit who wins, so long as they drove like a badass that event. I’m not a fan of JR, but the dude was on fire at ATL and was fun to watch. Same with Denofa at at LB. Not saying I’m not a fan, but the dude was on fire, and his runs were awesome to watch.

  27. Jeff Harper says:

    Here is Aasbo v. Gray side-by-side:


  28. SK1DS says:

    @Doof, Yea Aasbo was very conservative but I don’t think he was as laid back as everyone is saying. Granted I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt as he’s a good driver and is capable of it, but connecting to your first point, it is a pretty rough track and that’s why I think he drove conservatively.

    Agreed on driving style, JR slayed at ATL and DeNofa laid the pros out 1 by 1 at LBC. Those guys are legit.

  29. NUTTERBUTTER says:

    why did jarod keep saying that asbo won long beach? guy has no idea of what is actually happening in the sport any longer. someone clue me in on whats going on. i watched what i could of the event but i hate this track with a passion its unsafe and they think its challenging also this even has the worst facilites of any we go to. ive seen grasroots events from ten years ago have better safety and ammenities thank osw.

    someone tell fd to stop fucking up and pull there heads out of there ass’