Darren McNamara

10 Things I Learned at Formula Drift Road Atlanta

DaiYoshihara

10. Is Dai Yoshihara Finally Back?
Watching Dai Yoshihara in qualifying I felt he was looking really good and finally putting some runs together. I looked over at Chelsea DeNofa’s spotter in fact (and told him that Dai Yoshihara would win the event during practice). Sadly, Vaughn Gittin Jr. spoiled my prediction but Dai Yoshihara is starting to look back to his old self. He has been a driver looking really short on confidence so perhaps the return to the podium will help him remember what winning feels like. This was his first podium since Long Beach in 2013. His car has looked far behind the other 86/BRZ chassis in the sport but maybe this was the start of his comeback tour!

AlecHohnadell.FormulaD

9.Alec Hohnadell Will Win An Event This Year
Alec Hohnadell has grown and developed faster than almost any drifter I have seen. The kid is world class and knows how to win things. His progression in Formula Drift is clear and I think he got a bad call in his Final Four battle with Dai Yoshihara (and actually won). Watching the battle more and more, it really seems like Alec Hohnadell should of been in the finals. I don’t think he should lose sleep over this at all however. Sometimes calls will go your way and sometimes they won’t go in your favor. I do think across these next six rounds he will score his first event victory. He currently sits 10th in the championship after his fourth place finish this weekend.

FormulaDriftPro2

8. Road Atlanta Highlights Pro 2 Behind the Curve
Pro 2 was ugly and borderline unwatchable this weekend. Drifters couldn’t enter right, couldn’t stop spinning, and also couldn’t manage to tandem. I almost want to pretend the new Pro 2 season didn’t start this weekend. Jeff Jones, Marc Landerville, and Ryan Litteral all had solid performances but that is about where it stopped for me. The event was slow and especially hard to watch as a fan. Perhaps, the need for a perfect line to run Road Atlanta well was just too much for these younger drifters. My vote is to remove Road Atlanta from the 2017 Pro 2 calendar and pretend this event never happened. I am hoping for vast improvements at Orlando Speed World.

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2016 Irish Drift Championships – Round 1 Mondello [RESULTS]

2016-IDC-Round1-Mondello

The incredible unbeaten streak on Irish soil continued this weekend at Mondello despite some tough competition. Duane McKeever took out fellow Irishman Shane O’Sullivan in the final, while Forrest Wang won his podium battle with Nigel Colfer when Colfer’s clutch gave out in their battle. Wang was driving Darren McNamara’s LHD S13 with a 2JZ engine, a setup that Wang looked quite comfortable in.

Here’s a look at the final results from Round 1:

1st – Duane McKeever
2nd – Shane O’Sullivan
3rd – Forrest Wang
4th – Nigel Colfer

10 Things I Learned from Formula Drift Round 4 New Jersey

DeanKearney

10. Dean Kearney – Irish Future with an American V10
In my opinion, if you could throw Dean Kearney in one of these Top 10 Formula Drift builds he could make a run at the championship. He has a car I would argue probably struggles to fall in the Top 20 Formula Drift builds. Now that Darren McNamara has exited stage right it feels Dean Kearney has taken the torch as the top Irish drifter in America. He fell just short of a victory which I feel the weather played a big impact. Since the runs went out of order, he did his Top 4 run in the dry where Aasbo got to run his Top 4 battle in the rain in addition to the Finals. Looking forward, Dean Kearney is in 11th place but is headed to Seattle where he got his first podium in the past.

VaughnGittinJr.StreetDrivenTour
9. Vaughn Gittin Jr. Needs to Give Up on Season and Debut 2015 Mustang RTR
Vaughn Gittin Jr. hasn’t had a stellar season by his standards at all. While he is only 117 points behind Ryan Tuerck in the lead, I find that with three rounds left he isn’t going to make up the gap at 39 points an event on Tuerck or Bakchis. With that said, I would rather him just retire the old S197 Mustang chassis and debut his S550 (2015 Mustang RTR). I got to see the car drift in person at Street Driven Tour VIR and the car looks and sounds way better than his old chassis. Let’s get the new 2015 on the track competing in Formula Drift!

JoonMaeng
8. Joon Maeng is the Only Driver to Not Qualify Under New Structure
Joon Maeng had an up and down 2014 season but nothing has prepared him for the disaster that is 2015 with his BMW Z4. With a 39 driver grid this season he is the only driver left to not qualify for an event yet. One good event could bring him safely into the Top 32 since he is only 51 points behind 32nd place as we stand so he still has some hope. He needs to invest in some serious testing time before these next rounds and start getting some points on the board. I would suggest diving in Pro 2 for the next three rounds to try and either defend his Pro position or at least snag some extra practice laps.

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Darren McNamara Has His Insane AE86 Rolling Shell [FOR SALE]

DarrenMcNamara

Darren McNamara has his 1983 Toyota AE86 up for sale without an engine and transmission. The car right now is short an engine, gearbox, dry sump system, and intercooler setup but you can buy it now for 15,000 Euros. The car has been featured in Need for Speed Shift 2 video game. It has also been seen on the cover of MAX Power and Japanese Performance car magazine. If you had plans to build an over the top AE86 this season or year it might be a worthwhile purchase for you. The car is currently located in Ireland.

 

For Sale: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/281616792719?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

FBF – James Deane vs. Darren McNamara Was Awesome [VIDEO]

The 2015 year is kicking off a little slow so I dug up this video from the Wrecked Magazine Archives. This video takes us back to 2010 when James Deane arrived in America and given the keys to a “crappy and undriveable” S15 Silvia that had been campaigned with little success in previous Formula Drift years by other drivers. Legend has it, James Deane and his team flew to Amreica, had one test day and threw an alignment at it which resulted in him qualifying for Streets of Long Beach. In an emotionally charged run to the Final Four he wound up running his Irish compatriot Darren McNamara who helped him come to the States in the first place. He sent Darren McNamara packing after this wild wall smacking performance in the Great 8. He went on to battle Tanner Foust in the Final Four and lost but what a run he had that weekend. We have been big cheerleaders on his return to the States but nobody has coughed up a ride for him just yet while he wins everything in Europe over and over again. If you want to learn more about James Deane, I did a really fun interview with him when he was visiting the United States a while back which you can see here.

Darren McNamara’s MCNSport 86 Can Be Yours [FOR SALE]

DarrenMcNamara.BDC.AE86

The AE86 Toyota Corolla built by MCNSPORT and driven by Darren McNamara in Europe. The car orginally came to life as a Need for Speed Shift 2 video game build which you can still pick up and drive this car in the game. If you have a larger budget however, you can purchase this car in real life and drift it wherever you please. The car has a current look close to what is shown below.

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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]

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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.

Chris Forsberg Coming to Irish Drift Championship in 240sx

IDC.ChrisForsberg

IDC is coming into a wild Round 5 this weekend with Japfest. The car is built/maintained by Darren McNamara and was used at Global Warfare by Matt Powers. Now that Vaughn Gittin Jr. walked out of KOE Valencia with a win we wonder if Chris Forsberg can back that up with a win this weekend for a true American takeover of the European drift world.