Daijiro Yoshihara

10 Things I Learned from Formula Drift Round 3 at Orlando Speed World

PatGoodin

10. The Weekend Just Lacked Any Positive Narratives 

You know in sports when some miracle happens and they use that tacky cliche “you couldn’t even script this or write this…”? Well, I do hate that cliche because people can write about aliens, unicorns, and flying cars so putting together a compelling sports narrative with a shocking finish does’t seem that far fetched. This weekend of Formula Drift was the opposite of all that hype and lacked any real positive narratives.

The rain made drifting so slow and robbed us of smoke that we would of been just as entertained watching drivers draw straws to get a win. The home grown hero who cut his teeth at Orlando Speed World known as Pat Goodin couldn’t even qualify due to some car troubles giving this weekend the final nail in a miserable coffin.

KelseyRowlings.Juha.Pro2

9. Pro 2 Has Promise for 2015

Even with the bad weather conditions and a track that seemed hell bent on preventing good tandem drifting I saw that the Pro 2 ranks were far more entertaining than last season. I won’t make a bold proclamation about the Pro 2 season until I see them run at Seattle, but I do really like the builds and some drivers that have come out of the wood work for Pro 2 in 2015. The whole operation seems far more professional and relevant than its first season which I enjoy and shows potential for Pro 2 in the future.

Yokoi

8. Yokoi and his Car Are Growing into Formula Drift

Yokoi and his S15 Silvia look like night and day compared from his driving in Long Beach to Orlando. If it wasn’t for the wild fire coming out of his fuel system (more on that down at  #4) in a battle versus Ryan Tuerck I think he could of won that battle and possibly became the event winner.  Before going out in the Great 8 he managed to beat #1 in points Odi Bakchis in a Road Atlanta rematch. He also made pretty easy work of potential champion Fredric Aasbo in Top 32.

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2015 Formula Drift Road Atlanta Round 2 [RESULTS]

JustinPawlak

Road Atlanta is always a fun battle ground for the top drifting drivers in the world. Robbie Nishida made a lackluster debut in his Infiniti G37 failing to make a qualifying pass and Dai Yoshihara had issues in his Subaru BRZ and didn’t make a pass either. The bottom of the group was quite close and Matt Field even had to drift his way out of 33rd place on his second pass to stay in the show. Here is how the tandem battles look for today –

Left Bracket
Justin Pawlak vs. Chelsea DeNofa (In Loaner MK3 Supra)
Tyler McQuarrie vs. Pat Goodin
Mad Mike Whiddett vs. Rapper Dan Savage
Forrest Wang vs. Marc Landerville
Vaughn Gittin Jr. vs. Jeff Jones
Kenneth Moen vs. Michael Essa
Odi Bakchis vs. Jhonnattan Castro
Masahi Yokoi vs. Matt Coffman

Right Bracket
Fredric Aasbo vs. Daigo Saito
Tanner Foust vs. Geoff Stoneback
Chris Forsberg vs. Kyle Mohan
Ryan Tuerck vs. Pat Mordaunt
Conrad Grunewald vs. Dean Kearney
Charles Ng vs. Matt Field
Ken Gushi vs. Mats Barbieau
Alec Hohnadell vs. Nate Hamilton

Forrest Wang, Dai Yoshihara, and Kyle Mohan make horsepower improvements prior to Atlanta

DaiYoshihara-Dyno

Over the past few days, Forrest Wang, Dai Yoshihara, and Kyle Mohan have all posted social media updates indicating that they will have new power heading into Atlanta. All three are continuing to develop the same powerplant that they have used at least for the past year, but seeing these updates just emphasizes that the horsepower wars have kicked up to another level this season.

 

DaiYoshihara-Turbo

First up is Dai Yoshihara. His team posted an image of a new turbo and intercooler setup which should help reduce under hood temps and improve throttle response. The team also switched over to E85 fuel. While details weren’t discussed, the team said that power has increased over the previous setup. Yoshihara has been testing and driving the car more this season than almost any other driver, so we feel that Yoshihara may be due for a breakout performance in his BR-Z.

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10 Things I Learned from Formula Drift Long Beach 2015

HyundaiGenesis

10. The Hyundai Genesis Isn’t So Bad After All

Last year I was ready to declare the Hyundai Genesis a “career killer” after Rhys Millen left while driving one and recently Dennis Mertzanis lost his license last season in the car pictured above. Well, Odi Bakchis got ahold of it and with some suspension wizardry at his Feal Suspension bunker built something to make this car work. His performance along with Matt Field put Vortech Superchargers taking home two of the final four places at Long Beach.

DaigoSaito

9. Will We Ever See Daigo Saito 100% Again? 

Daigo Saito had another terrible weekend. His new over the top Nissan GT-R took itself out in the Top 32 due to what I am being told is a power steering failure. I can imagine turing 21 inch wheels from lock to lock is going to create some serious stress on any steering system they can throw at this car. I love that Daigo is pushing the bounds of the sport and trying new things BUT I also really love it when his car works and he destroys people in tandem battles. I am at war with myself, a house divided if you will, on which one I want more than the other.

TannerFoust.VWPassat

8. Tanner Foust’s Passat Was Banged Up This Weekend

Tanner Foust made a really lackluster return to Formula Drift this weekend. He crashed in Saturday practice, limped into qualifying, and ended with an epic wall smack against Justin Pawlak. You could visually see Tanner trying to keep longer full-lock drifts going which is the standard Formula Drift has shifted since he left. Someone asked me on Twitter about his performance and Tanner chimed in to concur. This track, with all the outer clips and layout also make it much harder to run the new way. I think Road Atlanta will be a blessing for him with way less to hit and a more open track environment allowing the Passat to perform in a range he is more comfortable with behind the wheel.

RADBUL.Speedhunters

7. How Much Did We Miss Mad Mike?

The Mad Mike question probably cannot be answered until he arrives at Road Atlanta and puts on a show for everyone. The “RADBUL” as he has dubbed it sure looks like an engineering wonder but how can he perform in the States is a question everyone must be wondering about. His last visit to America didn’t have him performing at a top level but he has been actively driving worldwide in various cars since he left Formula Drift years ago. I would of loved to see him debut this Mazda MX-5 at Long Beach but Road Atlanta isn’t that far away at this point.

ChrisForsberg.370z

6. Chris Forsberg Misses Top 4 first time Since 2013

Chris Forsberg hasn’t missed a Final Four since the 2013 season. That is just how good he performed over the course of the 2014 drift season. He made a costly error allowing the 370z to over rotate in a battle with Pat Mordaunt and it was something he couldn’t overcome. Pat looked solid in his 350z and that misstep was too much with Pat being on point in both runs. This result already has the 2015 championship chase showing Chris 67 points behind Aasbo.

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2015 Formula Drift Livery Overload [GUIDE]

Below is a breakdown of all the 2015 Formula Drift liveries released to date and I will update as we go along. To make life easy, I ranked them by championship finishing order of 2014.

ChrisForsberg.370z

1. Chris Forsberg – Nissan 370z
The championship returns with a Nissan 370z and some added sponsors for the new year. NOS Energy Drink returns as his title and the car gets a refresh to the new Nismo style front end.

FredricAasbo

2. Fredric Aasbo – Scion tC
Another car making its return in 2015. Fredric happens to be my personal prediction for 2015 Formula Drift champion if that means anything to you. He added a title sponsorship with Rockstar Energy Drink and I really hope he runs those yellow wheels he used in his car unveiling. Regardless, the car has never looked better and I think he is poised for a great season.

VaughnGittinJr

3. Vaughn Gittin Jr. – Ford Mustang
Vaughn Gittin Jr. is using his old Ford Mustang with the new livery as they continue to research and develop his 2015 RTR for competition. My guess is, he will stick with the 2014 Mustang until he winds up mathematically out of the championship. That is when he would bring the 2015 RTR out for this year. If he is in the running for the championship, I expect to see this car in 2016. Good news is, you can always see his new 2015 Mustang RTR at non Formula Drift events such as Street Driven May 2nd at VIR.

OdiBakchis
4. Odi Bakchis – Hyundai Genesis / Nissan 240sx
Odi Bakchis is running a complex Formula Drift World Championship setup that involves running two cars in the USA. We have a complete Odi Bakchis schedule for his die-hard fans that want to know what he is driving and where. For this weekend, he will be in this big V8 powered Hyundai Genesis with a Vortech Supercharger kit hoping to start off with a great 2015 season.

ForrestWang.S15Silvia
5. Forrest Wang – LHD S15 Nissan Silvia
This car became the most hyped up and leaked debacle of 2015 all over the Internet last week due to our Instagram page but we will leave that be. Car looks pretty similar to last season and still carries a 2JZ engine setup and WiseFab for big angle.
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Dai Yoshihara Unveils his Formula Drift 2015 Subaru BRZ in Blue/White

DaiYoshihara.2015FormulaDrift

Dai Yoshihara shows off his Turn 14 x Falken Tire Subaru BRZ, this time in a white/blue version of the car from last year. I really like the accent of red they added to the car with the wing and mirrors for 2015. The big question everyone wants to know is…. has Dai worked the bugs out of this car so can be competitive once again. His 2014 season was less than impressive and at some points he risked not finishing in the Top 32 of overall points. Dai remains on Falken Tire and KW Suspension showing that he trusted his old brands to get him through a new season. Dai has been testing a ton at WSIR which can only go to help him perform better this season I imagine. Can he be a Top 5 driver again this year, curious to know readers thoughts?

10 Things I Learned About Formula Drift Irwindale Last Weekend

10. The Best Formula Drift Event in History

FormulaDriftIrwindale This is the first time in Formula Drift history the championship came down to the last battle. A sold out Irwindale Speedway cheered and screamed as tandem battles wound up in crashes, door banging, and dramatic endings. Fredric Aasbo even beat Chris Forsberg in the Final Four but just fell short of his first championship by losing to Daigo Saito.

9. A Championship Based on Qualifying
ChrisForsberg
I will be one of the first people to admit or complain about how boring qualifying is when you look at the big picture of the sport. It drags on, has a slow pace, and generally doesn’t entertain like tandem competition. However, Fredric Aasbo lost the championship based on him qualifying consistently worse than Chris Forsberg this season making it quite impactful overall. Fredric even won more tandem battles through the season and successfully beat Chris Forsberg on several occasions to show he could of earned it but qualifying seems to be his glaring mistake for the season.

8. Dean Kearney Keeps Making this Dodge Viper Work
DeanKearney
Dean is one of the drivers who just kept improving throughout the 2014 season and he continued to impress me at Irwindale. He banged up the car a few times and after talking to him at Irwindale, he shared with me that his tandem battle versus Dai Yoshihara was done without front brake rotors (basically no front brakes) which resulted in his tandem follow error. It is pretty amazing how he makes this big boat work around the Formula Drift courses in the modern era.

7. Pro 2 Had Some Positives and Negatives
MattCoffman
Some of the Pro 2 battles this weekend delivered top billing and a huge crowd reaction for some battles while one tandem battle in particular was the worst professional drift tandem sequence I had seen in my life. In six laps due to two One More Times we had four spins and three inactive chase runs. All and all I would consider Pro 2 a success and will be interested to see how it grows for 2015, especially with the new influx of drivers who couldn’t make the 32 cut.

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2014 Formula Drift Championship [RESULTS]

ForsbergWallNJ-1230

All seven rounds of Formula Drift are in the books for 2014. Chris Forsberg ends up the 2014 champion but a margin of just 11 points which came down to the very last tandem battle of 2014. Daigo Saito finally had a motor hold together and was able to make a huge jump in the championship points as well. All Top 32 drivers are given a Pro license for next year while 33 and beyond are relegated into Pro 2. Here is how they finished:

1. Chris Forsberg
2. Fredric Aasbo
3. Vaughn Gittin Jr.
4. Odi Bakchis
5. Forrest Wang
6. Kenneth Moen
7. Darren McNamara
8. Dean Kearney
9. Justin Pawlak
10. Conrad Grunewald
11. Robbie Nishida
12. Ryan Tuerck
13. Ken Gushi
14. Daigo Saito
15. Matt Field
16. Michael Essa
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Falken Tire Stepping Down from Team Ownership in 2015 [RUMORMILL]

DarrenMcNamara

Falken Tire is rumored to be stepping back its drifting program after the end of this weekend at Irwindale Speedway. Falken Tire is known in sporting as a “factory team” that staffs its own crew, rigs, and cars while hiring drivers to perform in events. The company is planning to step back after 2014 and just sponsor drivers for next season putting them in line with how most other tire companies function in the sport. It will be interesting to see how this transition works out for certain drivers next season. Sources have told us that Justin Pawlak and Dai Yoshihara have both been offered the cars for next season and some sponsor money. This is the talk around the paddock this weekend.

2014 Formula Drift Round 5 Qualifying at Evergreen Speedway [RESULTS]

DarrenMcNamara

Qualifying has wrapped up at Evergreen Drift today with a new top qualifier for the season. Darren McNamara took top spot with a new look in his S14. Falken has figured something out this season apparently. Daigo Saito failed to even get a score finishing with a 0 and going home another weekend. Here is how they qualified and Top 32 match ups.

1. Darren McNamara
2. Robbie Nishida
3. Odi Bakchis
4. Chris Forsberg
5. Ryan Tuerck
6. Fredric Aasbo
7. Justin Pawlak
8. Vaughn Gittin Jr.
9. Chelsea DeNofa
10. Conrad Grunewald
11. Jhonnattan Castro
12. Tyler McQuarrie
13. Pat Goodin
14. Forrest Wang
15. Charles Ng
16. Daijiro Yoshihara
17. Geoff Stoneback
18. Dean Kearney
19. Michael Essa
20. Matt Field
21. Ken Gushi
22. Kyle Mohan
23. Ryan Kado
24. Joon Maeng
25. Kenneth Moen
26. Karl Osaki
27. Nate Hamilton
28. Mike Pollard
29. Matt Coffman
30. Carl Rydquist
31. Taka Aono
32. Tony Angelo

Left Bracket-
Darren McNamara vs. Tony Angelo
Daijiro Yoshihara vs. Geoff Stoneback
Vaughn Gittin Jr. vs. Kenneth Moen
Chelsea DeNofa vs. Joon Maeng
Chris Forsberg vs. Matt Coffman
Pat Goodin vs. Matt Field
Ryan Tuerck vs. Mike Pollard
Tyler McQuarrie vs. Ken Gushi

Right Bracket-
Robbie Nishida vs. Taka Aono
Charles Ng vs. Dean Kearney
Justin Pawlak vs. Karl Osaki
Conrad Grunewald vs. Ryan Kado
Odi Bakchis vs. Carl Ryqduist
Forrest Wang vs. Michael Essa
Fredric Aasbo vs. Nate Hamilton
Jhonnattan Castro vs. Kyle Mohan